Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Queens Park - Hampden Park

Match - Queens Park 0-1 Peterhead
Competition - Irn Bru Scottish Division 3
Admission - £12
Scarf - £8
Attendance - 441
Food - Hampden Pie & Chips 8/10
Ground No. - 108
Ground Rating - 4/10

At 8.30am after waking up and having our breakfast in Doncaster following last night match we (myself, Will and Phil) were in the car and on the way to Glasgow for the 2nd instalment of our groundhopping weekend. this was to be my first ever game in Scotland.
The match we were off to was the Division 3 game between Queens Park and Peterhead. Queens Park were still fighting for automatic promotion along with Alloa Athletic and Peterhead were still looking to get a play-off spot. Peterhead are somewhat of a bogey side for Queens who it turns out never managed to beat them in there 4 games last season and haven't managed it in the 3 games yet this season.

The trip north was simple and we also encountered some tremendous views as we went up and over the pennines while travelling West towards the M6 which took us onto the M74 straight to Glasgow. I say the trip was simple until we were on the outskirts of Glasgow itself and on the newly built part of the M74 which my Satnav decided didn't exist and kept trying to make me turn left. It finally found me when I decided to turn off the new road and then took us pretty much straight to the ground.

Queens Park are the oldest football team in Scotland and play there games at the National Stadium, Hampden Park. The stadium holds just over 52,000 and plays host to Scottish Cup Finals and all home Internationals as well as Queens Park home games.

Directly next to the main Hampden Park is the smaller ground of Lesser Hampden Park. This is a small ground with one stand and an artificial pitch, I believe this is used when Hampden Park proper is being used for bigger games i.e Cup Finals etc. It was being used while we were there for a youth team game between Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic.

Hampden Park is a large circular stadium with all sides being single tiered and the same height apart from the South Stand which slopes up and has a small second tier. The sitting at either ends is a long way from the pitch, similar to if there was a running track between seating and the pitch. The ground though looks very modern and smart. There are two large scoreboards at either end of the ground which are suspended under the roof. Which were surprisingly used for this game.

As they only average an attendance of around 500 only the South Stand is used for Queens Park games with entrance via turnstiles O & P with entrance being payed on the gate. You enter the ground into a large open concourse like most large stadiums. directly to the right of the turnstiles is a small kiosk that acts as the Queens Park club shop, all three of us purchased scarfs and then made our way to the food kiosk. Prices for food were the same as they would have been for any game played at Hampden Park so as you can imagine were quite high especially considering the level of football a hot dog was £4 and a small soft drink was £2.50 !!!!

We then went to sit in the stand you could sit where you want apart from in the centre of the South stand which was for season ticket holders only as all the seats there were padded, they also seemed to segregate home and away fans which I found surprising as I wouldn't have expected the 40 or so Peterhead fans to have caused any problem if they were mixed with the home fans.

Queens Park Mascot - Harry the Hippo

It was very odd when the players emerged from the tunnel, as there was no fairplay handshake. Even Sunday league football in England have a fairplay handshake before games now. It was even more odd when the whistle blew for the start of the match the whole ground when dead not a sound apart from the sound of boot on ball. It did pick up slightly but I'm not sure that the 50 odd thousand free seats helped the atmosphere much.

The game itself was a poor one with a lack of quality from both teams who both seemed to give the ball away very easily very regularly. The assistant referee also seemed to be rather poor having to be overruled by the referee 3 times within the first 10 minutes or so. The first half then rolled by without any real talking points.

The second half started in pretty much exactly the same way but Peterhead started looking at least slightly threatening and then finally broke the deadlock with the only piece of quality the game had seen up and till that point. The left winger cut in from the left and hit a right footed shot into the far top corner of Queens Parks goal from around 25 yards out. the goal wouldn't have looked out of place in the English Premier League. The game then returned the same level of quality and not much happened until Queens Park made a couple of changes bringing off the number 9 who had been on the end of most of the home fans frustrations. Queens park also brought on a left winger who finally brought some quality and attacking intent to there play and created a number of chances that unfortunately they were unable to take and the game ended with Peterhead taking all three points and leaving Queens still unable to beat them.

I didn't particularly like Hampdenatmosphere, it maybe different for larger games. Although if I was to go for a larger game I would not fancy sitting at one end with that large space between stand and pitch. I believe Queens Park would probably be better off playing there games in a smaller venue possibly lesser Hampden next door, but can understand why they play where they do.

After the game we made our way to our Premier Inn hotel situated at the end of the M74 and a straight walk down to Celtic Park for our game the next day.

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