Friday, May 04, 2007

Viva Espana

The Spanish are coming. But hopefully nobody will be playing bowls this time. Hampden hosts the UEFA Cup Final in a couple of weeks with either Sevilla and Espanyol set to take the trophy home to Spain.

Financially it's great for Scotland. And it puts us at the centre of European football for the night – although admittedly it would be preferable if we could achieve this by having two Scottish teams playing in a final in Spain.

I can’t help but think that people will be underwhelmed by Hampden though. Of Scotland’s four big stadiums it surely trails in a fairly miserable fourth place. Going to the toilet is a demonic exercise in patience and bladder control that really shouldn’t happen in a modern football ground.

At the moment this isn’t a problem for the SFA. They can brag about a UEFA Cup Final to go with their Champion’s League Final of a few years ago.

Hearts, however, are set to host to Barcelona at Murrayfield in July. A sell out crowd there, with a good atmosphere and facilities to match, will increase the clamour for certain games to be played in Edinburgh. And the SFA will not like that one little bit.

Good. Hell mend them. They mucked up the new Hampden by doing it on the cheap. For all the emotional resonance of the National Stadium – and yes, the Hampden Roar etc, Real Madrid etc, I know the list – it was redundant in a country of our size when three stadiums already existed that held more fans.

The money they did spend could have been put to better to use. Instead we’re lumbered with a monumental folly that we neither need nor like.