I watch a lot of YouTube videos in bed at night in an attempt to lull myself to sleep. I have mixed results with this tactic. It sometimes works if I am in the mood to listen to some soft rock, but most of the time I opt for punk rock bands of the 70’s or Britpop anthems from the 90’s.These tracks only serve to energise me, but last night I found myself having to make the conscious decision to turn off my tv in the wee small hours of the morning. I had been watching the vlogs of Footy Adventures, which I would heartily recommend to those of you who are interested in football stadiums and architecture.
I stopped watching one video where our knowledgeable guide was visiting all 42 football league grounds in Scotland. I did not want to switch this off, but if anyone needs their beauty sleep then it is me.
These vlogs reminded me of a series of articles that I was sharing with my blog readers, back in 2015/16.
Between 2002-2008 I was Scottish Correspondent for the wonderfully professional Groundtastic – The Football Grounds Magazine. I can not speak highly enough of the editors and contributors to this glossy magazine that is jam-packed with interesting information and photographic gold.
I haven’t been a subscriber to the magazine since my marriage imploded in 2008 and I was forced to leave Scotland. Since then my dexterity has deteriorated to such an extent that I now find it impossible to simply thumb through a magazine.
Imagine my excitement then when I visited the Groundtastic website to discover that they now have a digital edition available I’ll definitely be subscribing.
Anyway, over the next few months I will be sharing a number of articles that I penned during my time North of the Border, including my regular Scots Scene news round-up of potential football ground developments and improvements. The following is from Summer 2008 and it will be evident to ground enthusiasts and football fans just how much has changed from the era in which it was written…
To view the previous Scots Scene articles that I wrote in Winter 2002, Spring 2003, Summer 2003, Autumn 2003, Winter 2003, Spring 2004, Summer 2004 , Autumn 2004, Winter 2004, Spring 2005, Summer 2005, Autumn 2005, Winter 2005, Spring 2006, Summer 2006, Autumn 2006, Winter 2006, Spring 2007, Summer 2007, Autumn 2007, Winter 2007 and Spring 2008, click here.
Enjoy a short step back in time.
Groundsharing in the Scottish Premier League is unlikely to be approved in future following this season’s problems between GRETNA and MOTHERWELL at Fir Park. The Fir Park pitch deteriorated with the two clubs using it every Saturday and the poor weather led to a number of postponements. A statement from Motherwell chief executive Ian Stillie, on the club’s official website, said: “Investigations involving third-party experts concluded that the particles meshing with the clay-based soil have hardened around the undersoil heating pipes and created an impermeable layer below the root zone surface. That has made natural drainage of the pitch difficult and the problem was exacerbated by the record rainfall of the past three months. At present the short-term work appears to have overcome the identified issue. The drainage process is a short-term fix to potentially fulfil our remaining SPL fixtures at Fir Park. Simultaneously, with this remedial action, we are assessing the scope of work for a permanent solution to this issue during the summer.” In addition, crisis club Gretna, who are in administration and have been relegated, were forced to play their home fixture against Celtic at Livingston’s Almondvale on March 23 to help the Fir Park pitch recover. Gretna lost the match 0-3 in front of just 3,561 fans.
Meanwhile, GRETNA have set an unwanted record for the lowest-ever SPL attendance. In October they first broke the record when only 1,096 saw Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat them 0-4 at Fir Park but this record was beaten when just 501 watched Gretna host Dundee United and lose 0-3 on March 6. It got even worse on April 5 when only 431 fans bothered to turn up as visitors Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat Gretna 1-2. Four days later the Dumfries strugglers recorded a third attendance below 1000 when they tempted just 751 fans into Fir Park to watch a goalless draw with St Mirren.
HAMILTON ACADEMICALS have won the Scottish First Division title and will play Scottish Premier League football next season. As a result the club have scrapped plans to lay a new artificial surface at New Douglas Park and will revert to grass while installing undersoil heating at a later date. The Accies have played on a synthetic pitch since 2004 and were seeking special dispensation to keep the pitch but club secretary Scott Struthers said they were not 100% convinced the SPL would grant approval so shelved the idea… Club chairman Ronnie MacDonald was not particularly happy, he said: “With the way the weather is changing in Scotland, I think artificial pitches will be in vogue everywhere in 15 years. To me, going back to grass seems like a step back because the advances with artificial pitches are just spectacular and we all know the lack of facilities in Scotland is pathetic.” Dunfermline Athletic were forced to tear up their artificial surface when the SPL ruled against its continued use in 2005. Meanwhile, a new 600-seater stand is being constructed that will bring New Douglas Park up to the SPL’s stadium criteria.
Supermarket giants Tesco are to end their lease agreement with QUEEN OF THE SOUTH and “gift” the site of one of their former stores back to them. The site – positioned next to Palmerston Park – has been sitting empty since Tesco opened new premises at nearby Cuckoo Bridge in 2004 but was still owned on a long lease by the supermarket firm. Club chairman David Rae said the deal was not yet official but hoped the land could be used to generate extra income. Among the uses being considered are for indoor training facilities, ten-pin bowling, office accommodation or storage space, which should generate more than the fixed £50,000-a-year lease payments from Tesco. The Dumfries club have reached the Scottish Cup final and are assured of a UEFA Cup spot as their opponents Rangers will qualify for a Champions League place through the league.
Councillors in Edinburgh have voted to demolish Meadowbank Stadium and replace it with a smaller arena. The ruling Lib Dem/SNP coalition was supported by the Conservatives, as 39 councillors voted in favour of the proposals. Under the plans, the 16,000-seater stadium will be replaced with a 5,000 capacity arena, and some of the land will be sold to housing developers. Money from the housing development will be used to help pay for the new £25m stadium, along with grants. The Save Meadowbank Campaign said the council’s decision went against the wishes of the electorate. Campaign spokesman Kevin Connor said: “The current facilities are hugely popular and need to be increased to cater for demand – but instead the council has decided to reduce capacity. The plans presented today include no provision for outdoor football pitches. There is no throwing area, no warm-up area for athletes and no athletics storage facility. As for the cyclists, they have been told to get on their bikes.” For more information on the Save Meadowbank campaign, visit www.savemeadowbank.org