Hampden Park

Address: Letherby Drive,

Mount Florida,

Glasgow,

Scotland,

G42 9BA

Capacity: 51,866 (All-Seater)

Hampden Park.jpg

Six figure attendance numbers are near enough unheard of in modern sport. This is a place where they used to be present on a regular basis.

The Hampden Park name can be dated back to October 1873, when it became home to Queen’s Park Football Club, the oldest team in Scottish football having been founded on 9th July 1867. This version of Hampden Park, the first of three in total, was built between the Queen’s Park Recreation Ground and Hampden Terrace, taking its name from the nearby road.

Queen’s Park left the first Hampden Park in 1883 when Caledonian Railway planned to build across it. The club moved a few hundred metres to the east and built a new ground, the second version of Hampden Park. It was opened in 1884, becoming the regular home of Scottish Cup Finals.

Towards the end of the 19th Century, Queen’s Park requested more land so that they could develop the second Hampden Park, but this was refused by the landlords. The club would seek a new site as a result, and in November 1899 bought 12 acres of land from Henry Erskine Gordon. Over the next three years, the modern-day Hampden Park site was developed, with the construction process altered after a disaster at Ibrox Stadium elsewhere in Glasgow that saw its wooden terraces collapse.

Hampden Park was officially opened on 31st October 1903 with a game between Queen’s Park and Celtic that finished 1-0 to the hosts. Its first Scottish Cup Final took place on 16t April 1904, a 3-2 win for Celtic over arch-rivals Rangers in front of 64,472 people. Two years later, Hampden Park held its first Scotland v England International match, a 2-1 win for Scotland in front of a world record 102,741 people.

Record-breaking six figure crowds were once a regular occurrence at Hampden Park. 121,452 saw a game between Scotland and England in 1908, 127,307 were present at the same fixture four years later. When Queen’s Park purchased more land around the stadium in the 1920s, it allowed space for 25,000 additional people, and by the late 1930s the ground could hold over 183,000 people but never saw a figure that high.

The official attendance record to this day remains from a Scotland v England match in April 1937, 149,547 are known to have been at the game, but at least 20,000 more entered Hampden Park without tickets.

Hampden Park played host to the 1960 UEFA European Cup Final, a 7-3 win for Spanish club Real Madrid (and a fifth consecutive title) against German club Eintracht Frankfurt. With nearly 130,000 people in attendance, it is still regarded as one of the greatest football matches ever played. The ground has also played host to the 1962 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final (a 1-1 draw between Spanish side Atlético Madrid and Italian side Fiorentina that later had a replay in Stuttgart) and the 1966 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final (a 2-1 win for German side Borussia Dortmund over Liverpool). The stadium’s second UEFA European Cup Final came in 1976, a 1-0 win for German side Bayern Munich over French side AS Saint-Étienne with nearly 55,000 in attendance.

That 1976 Final saw controversy through one of Hampden Park’s most notable features. Since first opening in 1903, Hampden had made use of wooden, square shaped goalposts rather than the traditional metal, rounded ones that are in place today. It led to a notable moment in the 1976 Final when Saint-Étienne’s Jacques Santini headed the ball onto the edge of the goalpost and saw it come back into play. Had rounded goalposts been in use instead, the ball would have gone into the net. FIFA eventually banned Hampden’s square goalposts in 1987, and having been sold first through auction and then given to the new Scottish National Football Museum, they now reside within the AS Saint-Étienne Museum at the club’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

By the late 1970s, it became apparent that Hampden Park needed redevelopment.

The first phase eventually began in the early 1980s and was completed by 1986, reducing the ground’s overall capacity to 74,370. The publishing of the Taylor Report in 1990, requiring all major stadiums in Scotland to be converted to all-seater venues within four years, forced plans for the second phase of redevelopment to be redrawn.

A grant was eventually provided by the UK Government in 1992, allowing Hampden Park to be converted to all-seater. The process in all took several years, including times when the partially-built stadium was reopened for major fixtures, but all the work was finally complete in time for the 1999 Scottish Cup Final. Rangers beat Celtic 1-0 in front of 52,670 people.

The new-look Hampden Park played host to the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, a game that saw Real Madrid beat German club Bayer Leverkusen 2-1, with Zinedine Zidane’s winning volley still considered one of the finest goals ever scored at the stadium. The 2007 UEFA Cup Final was also held here, an all-Spanish affair between Espanyol and Sevilla that finished 2-2 and was eventually won by Sevilla on penalties. Hampden in turn was one of the venues used for football at the 2012 Summer Olympics and hosted four games in total at UEFA EURO 2020.

Queen’s Park Football Club had been based at Hampden Park since it opened in 1903, and their long association with the stadium came to an end in March 2020 when their lease expired. They plan to redevelop a new ground, a small football ground directly to the west of Hampden Park, which is known as Lesser Hampden, and move into there once work is completed.

Scotland continue to play international fixtures at Hampden Park since first playing here against England back in April 1906.

It may not be the largest stadium in Glasgow anymore, but it is still considered the National Stadium and plays host to Scotland’s major Cup Finals ever year.

Location and Getting There

Hampden Park is located in Mount Florida, around 2.5 miles south of Glasgow City Centre. The River Clyde is around 1.3 miles away to the northeast, King’s Park is around 0.6 miles away to the southeast, and Queen’s Park is around 0.6 miles away to the northwest.

I would generally discourage from coming to a game Hampden Park by car.

The stadium has a good-sized car park to the south and this is available to use for free on non-matchdays. On matchdays however, it requires a pass that is usually allocated to club officials, governing body officials and sponsors rather than regular supporters.

The area immediately around Hampden Park also has parking permit-only parking restrictions in place and so you will likely have to park a fair distance away in order to find free parking.

A much simpler way of reaching Hampden Park is through public transport.

The two nearest railway stations to the stadium are Mount Florida and King’s Park. Both stations are part of a ScotRail line that runs between Glasgow Central Station and Newton Station, whilst Mount Florida is also on a ScotRail line that runs between Glasgow Central Station and Neilston Station.

Mount Florida is the closest of the two, being located less than 0.5 miles away to the west and the walk from here as a result takes under 10 minutes along first Bolton Drive and then onto Somerville Drive.

King’s Park Station is the southeast of Hampden Park and the walk from here can take around 10-15 minutes along first Kingswood Drive, and then onto Aikenhead Road (A728).

First Glasgow operate regular bus services from Glasgow City Centre to Hampden Park should people wish to use them. The services available include the 5, 6, 7, 7A, 31, 34 and 90.

Outside the Stadium

Heading to Hampden Park from Mount Florida Station will bring you along Somerville Drive and alongside the stadium’s North Stand.

Its exterior at either end consists mostly of brickwork with white corrugated iron and panels at the top and blue pillars coming down at regular intervals that provide additional support. The main, central part of the North Stand’s exterior protrudes further outwards, however. It contains a mostly concrete base with a large façade above which is made mostly from panels that are different shades of blue. The façade additionally contains the Hampden Logo and the words SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL STADIUM in the top left and top right corners respectively.

You can find the turnstiles for the North Stand underneath this panelled façade, in the gaps within the concrete base.

Somerville Drive comes to an end part way along the North Stand’s exterior, with bollards preventing vehicles from going any further. Pedestrians are able to progress onwards however and doing so will bring them onto a different road called Prospecthill Drive.

 

This road runs alongside the stadium’s northeast corner, which alongside the southeast corner forms part of the East Stand.

The exterior here shares the same design as either end of the North Stand, consisting mostly of brickwork white corrugated iron and panels at the top and blue pillars coming down at regular intervals that provide additional support.

Unlike the rest of Hampden Park however, you are not able to walk right up to the East Stand’s exterior unless you have a ticket for there. Perimeter fences along Prospecthill Drive prevent you from getting any closer, and only those with tickets will be allowed to head through one of the two turnstile blocks alongside the road and up the staircases or ramps which lead to the East Stand itself. One of these turnstile blocks can be found next to where the North Stand’s exterior starts to protrude outwards, and the other can be found near to the point where Prospecthill Drive connects to another road called Hangingshaw Place.

Accessibility to the East Stand is also restricted on the southern side of Hampden Park. Fencing prevents you from getting close to the stand’s exterior and only those with tickets for here can pass through the nearby turnstile block and head up to the East Stand itself via staircases or ramps.

Because there is a housing estate and a car park immediately out beyond the East Stand, there are two different methods you can use to get between the northeast turnstile blocks and the southeast turnstile block.

The simpler one involves heading around the northern, western and southern sides of Hampden Park to get between the two corners, though this may not be ideal if police are looking to keep rival fanbases segregated from one another.

Alternatively, you can head along Hangingshaw Place and past the northeast turnstile blocks, continue to Aikenhead Road (A728) and then head south, going past the Aikenhead Road Car Park and the adjacent housing estate, re-entering the stadium’s vicinity via an access road a little away from Hampden’s southeast corner. You can ignore the road called Curling Crescent, as this just loops you around the housing estate and then back onto Aikenhead Road a little further down from where you started.

Hampden Park’s South Stand is the clear largest of the four and considered the stadium’s Main Stand.

The whole exterior consists of a brickwork base, with the outer parts containing large silver panels higher up. Four blue, panelled towers protrude out of the South Stand’s exterior, with Hampden Park’s Main Entrance located at the top of a staircase that is in between the two central towers. On the ground either side of this staircase are turnstiles and entrances to Hampden’s Executive Suites.

At either end of the South Stand, next to the southeast and southwest corners, are ramps that lead down below the stadium and to the underground car park. There are sets of South Stand turnstiles on the platforms above each ramp, and the others set of turnstiles for this part of the stadium are located in the space between each tower.

Hampden Park’s Main Car Park is in place immediately outside the South Stand, available to use for free on non-matchdays. Passes for the car park are allocated to football clubs, governing bodies and promoters on a matchday at Hampden Park.

Heading around past the southwest road ramp brings you to the West Stand which includes both the stadium’s southwest and northwest corners.

Its exterior shares a similar design to the East Stand opposite, consisting mostly of brickwork, white corrugated iron and panels at the top and blue pillars coming down at regular intervals that provide additional support.

The West Stand turnstiles are situated on higher ground than many of the South Stand ones and can be reached by staircases immediately in front of them or via a gradual ramp that brings you up to the same level as them.

Immediately out beyond the West Stand’s exterior is Lesser Hampden, a small football ground that has become the new home of Queen’s Park Football Club. There is more stadium car parking to the south of Lesser Hampden, with the Pentecost Memorial Hall, Church of Pentecost Scotland and Mount Florida Parish Church immediately to the west.

Heading round past the West Stand will bring you back onto Somerville Drive that passes by the North Stand.

Inside the Stadium

Hampden Park has maintained its bowl shape even after major redevelopment. What this means therefore is that those sat behind either goal can be as much as 140 metres away from the pitch, whereas as those sat in the North or South Stands are much closer and given a view like what you would expect to find at other modern football stadiums.

Another notable feature of Hampden Park is its ‘sunken’ shape, with the front rows of each block on lower ground than the turnstiles outside. Fans as a result enter the stadium’s interior at the back of each seating block and then walk down to your seat.

The North Stand consists of two tiers with the far larger lower tier divided into two tall sections, C and D, separated from one another by a fence that runs down the middle of a staircase.

The outer block at each end of the lower tier and the two central blocks are coloured red, with the other six seating blocks coloured blue. The letters HAMPDEN are spelt out using white seating across the more central blocks.

The upper tier is essentially a couple of rows of executive seating, positioned high above the back row of the lower tier. This tier collectively forms Section E within Hampden Park.

Your view from anywhere inside the North Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.

The enclosed design of Hampden Park means that every row inside is well protected from the elements as well.

The East Stand is mostly the same height as the adjacent North Stand, but is more semi-circular in shape because of Hampden Park’s bowl design. The stand’s seating is divided into two sections, F and G, which include the northeast and southeast corners of the stadium respectively.

Sets of seating blocks alternate between red and blue in colour, with the central blocks coloured blue and having the Scottish Saltire made out of white seating across them. Slightly off-centre, you can also find a large electronic screen hanging down from the roof that can best be seen by those at the opposite end of the stadium.

Your view from anywhere inside the East Stand is perfectly clear, albeit you will find yourself a good distance back from the pitch itself if you are positioned right behind the east goal.

The enclosed design of Hampden Park means that every row inside is well protected from the elements as well.

The South Stand consists of two tiers of entirely dark blue seating, with the lower tier noticeably larger than the tier above.

The six blocks nearest to the stadium’s southeast corner make up Section I, the two blocks next to here make up Section J, the next two blocks along here make up Section O, and the remaining six blue blocks in the lower tier make up Section P. Sections I and P have vehicle access tunnels down at the front of them.

Section’s J and O are considered to be executive seating, with Hampden Park’s dugouts, tunnel and changing rooms based in front, in between, and below them. There are executive suites behind the back row of the lower tier and the South Stand’s upper tier hangs partly overhead.

The six blocks nearest to the southeast corner make up Section H, the next four blocks along here make up Section K, the next four blocks make up Section L, the four blocks next to these make up Section M, the next four blocks along make up Section N, and the remaining six blocks in the upper tier make up Section Q. Down at the front of this upper tier is the area which holds the matchday camera.

Your view from anywhere inside the South Stand is perfectly clear, albeit the presence of large technical areas down at the front means that you cannot be sat right next to the edge of the pitch on this side of the stadium.

The enclosed design of Hampden Park means that every row inside is well protected from the elements.

The West Stand is near enough a carbon copy of the East Stand opposite.

It is mostly the same height as the adjacent North Stand, but is more semi-circular in shape because of Hampden Park’s bowl design. The stand’s seating is divided into two sections, A and B, which include the southwest and northwest corners of the stadium respectively.

Sets of seating blocks alternate between red and blue in colour, with the central blocks coloured blue and having the Scottish Saltire made out of white seating across them. Slightly off-centre, you can also find a large electronic screen hanging down from the roof that can best be seen by those at the opposite end of the stadium.

Your view from anywhere inside the West Stand is perfectly clear, albeit you will find yourself a good distance back from the pitch itself if you are positioned right behind the west goal.

The enclosed design of Hampden Park means that every row inside is well protected from the elements as well.

Away Fans

As a national stadium that no longer has any regular club tenants, a dedicated away section at Hampden Park isn’t really present anymore.

Cup Finals normally see the stadium split in two, with one team housed behind and around the east goal and the other housed behind and around the west goal.

Given how often Scotland’s two most successful sides Celtic and Rangers have been present at these finals, the two teams have been traditionally housed at the same end of Hampden Park each time they are. Celtic are given the East Stand (their Celtic Park home is located northeast of Hampden Park), and Rangers are given the West Stand (their Ibrox Stadium home is located northwest of Hampden Park).

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:

-The Ark Glasgow (North Frederick Street, G1 2BS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near to Glasgow Queen Street Station)

-The Beer House (69 Gordon Street, G1 3SL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located very close to Glasgow Central Station)

-The Clockwork Bar and Restaurant (1153-1155 Cathcart Road, G42 9HB) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located west of Hampden Park)

-The Counting House (2 St Vincent Place, G1 2DH) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Glasgow Queen Street Station)

-The Edward G. Wylie (107-109 Bothwell Street, G2 6TS) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Glasgow Central Station)

-The Florida Park (318 Battlefield Road, G42 9JD) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located west of Hampden Park)

-The Horseshoe Bar (17-19 Drury Street, G2 5AE) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near to Glasgow Central Station)

-Montford House (23-27 Curtis Avenue, G44 4QD) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located east of Hampden Park)

-The Pot Still (154 Hope Street, G2 2TH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Glasgow Central Station)

*There are few pubs located within close range of Hampden Park. The recommendation is to find a drink in more central Glasgow before making your way to the stadium.

Overview

A stadium with more than a century of history, and a place that was once the biggest in the world with multiple record attendances. Hampden Park has come a long way since being opened in 1903.

Formerly home to Scotland’s oldest club and now back to being a regular host of Cup Finals and Scotland Internationals, Hampden’s bowl-shaped, ‘sunken’ design helps make it recognisable and stand out when compared to other stadiums in the UK.

It may not host football as regularly as the other two giants in Glasgow anymore, but that in many ways helps makes a game at Scotland’s National Stadium a truly special occasion.

A must visit for football fans.