The Glasgow Celtic Way
There’s not a lot happening in The Timdom Kingdom at the moment. It’s like football has been prorogued for a fortnight! It certainly has been if you’re Scottish,of course-and we covered that yesterday with some excellent comments on cause and effect.
Looking at a recent photo of The Glasgow Celtic Way,sent to me by a friend simply to make me jealous,had me reflecting on the broader picture of The State of the Club. Namely the infrastructure. I don’t by that mean the coaching or medical facilities and academy at Lennoxtown,but the actual facilities available inside the footprint of Celtic Park.
There’s little doubt that the facilities around the perimeter of the stadium have improved. Only a few short years ago,I went up to get a couple of tickets for my sister and me to attend the game with my Dad and our sister. The Ticket Office was in a glorified portakabin. It looked cheap and nasty. It must have been a bloody depressing place to work in,and it was certainly a depressing place to visit.
Especially when their internet collapsed and they couldn’t process even a simple cash transaction-which meant I had to return empty-handed,my day ruined and with the wrath of my sister in full flow to follow. I don’t enjoy that when I’ve earned it,but when it is hardly my fault,well,I get one of those Calamero moments! That eyesore,which wouldn’t have been out of place in Not The View’s They Embarrassed The Hoops feature has gone now,and been replaced by our shiny new Celtic Superstore,and the ticket office is now in a more permanent location where the Internet is vastly more stable.
Also gone,of course,is the old school building. Now this was a shocker,yet so typical of things back then. That proud old building had been allowed to fall into wrack and ruin by the intransigence of the council which refused to spend a penny on maintenance,nor demolish it,nor even to sell it to us. By the time they were persuaded to do the latter,our dreams of it housing a permanent Celtic Museum were over. It was only fit for demolition,and the site has been cleared and landscaped. The Celtic Museum,of course,is still on the horizon as part of the much-discussed hotel and superstore complex. Add in a food hall,preferably with a few licensed areas,and I think we could be onto a winner,one which will provide footfall and income all year round to the club and to the surrounding community.
But it’s already been a long time coming,and if the club have done their homework on it and judged the project to be viable,I don’t understand what is holding them back.
Another much-talked about project is the revamp of our old Barrowfield training facility. Apparently the plan is to have a seating area for spectators and base the Celtic Ladies team there,as well as various of our development squads. Again,I think this could be a successful idea if implemented-except for the fact that the seating area will be too small to encourage the siting of any refreshment facilities. I’m afraid that this is the 21st Century,folks. Few people will go to any entertainment facility which fails to offer any refreshments. This may need a rethink,I feel.
Which brings me to my final point,and the most important one in this article. It’s long been a bone of contention with many of our fans,and it is The Main Stand. This structure is nearly half a century old,and it has long been in need of regeneration or replacement. The facilities contained within are positively antiquated,with complaints about everything from a lack of soap,hot water,paper towels in the toilets-I mean,if you’re going to provide toilet facilities without the basic essentials,you might as well just open a latrine!-to the lack of refreshment facilities,the queues,the sheer bloody awfulness of them! On top of that,access is a nightmare and it is far from weatherproof.
Additionally,it fails UEFA FIVE STAR Stadium Ratings because of the poor press facilities and cramped dressing rooms.
All in all,it is not fit for purpose. And it doesn’t fit in with the architecture of the rest of the stadium-itself nearly a quarter of a century old-and detracts from the overall effect.
So the obvious answer is a rebuild,right? Hmmm,naw. There are a number of problems there,even aside from the possibility that the frontage may be listed.
Firstly,where would we put the dressing rooms during a rebuild? Sure,the office facilities can be moved,but the footballing facilities can’t be. Not even the press box could be relocated.
Next are the problems that a raised main stand would cause with the pitch. It is a south facing building,which means that most of the sunlight comes from that side. Block out the sunlight and see what happens to the pitch. We already know the problems we have with pitch maintenance;a raised South Stand would simply exacerbate these.
My final point is the most important one. I’m pretty certain that the ground on which The Main Stand sits is riddled with excavations and that the old board successfully sued the designers and builders for the cost of underpinning. Now,I’ve no idea why the other stands haven’t had the same problem,but then excavation work can cause very localised damage.
For example,the old council estates in Kilwinning have a number of detached houses on them. That despite being built originally as semi-detached houses!
So it looks like we will be stuck with The Main Stand the way it is. But that is no reason why we can’t deal with some of the existing problems contained within it. Any Stadium Manager worth his salt would be ensuring hot water,soap and paper towels in toilets,as well as increasing the Saturday pie order. That’s just embarrassing,as I said earlier.
We have made a good start with The Glasgow Celtic Way. Let’s build on it!!!
Above article by BMCUWP. Send us your thoughts and we will happily print them as Article of the Day. We always publish them,so mail them to Mahe