In the second part of my special into improving the atmosphere at Ibrox, I address the issue of serving alcohol again in Scottish football grounds.
The background of why alcohol has been banned at sporting grounds in this country will be all too familiar to some, since the ill-fated battle of Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup final of 1980 where Rangers and Celtic fans clashed on the pitch.
In the aftermath of that event, the powers that be made a ruling that no longer would people north of the border enjoy the same privileges as football fans in the south or even our egg chasing friends from Scotland, we have been led to believe that giving Scottish football fans a choice to purchase a pint or spirit inside a ground will lead to all-out anarchy and war, retiring us to the dark old ages of terrace battles and casuals.
It is in my view this is completely false, and one of the main reasons the atmosphere is fading at so many grounds including our own is that people are making the choice to stay in pubs like the Louden, Grapes, District and Rolls Royce social club among many other fine establishments is quite simply to have one last drink and chew the fat with friends a small while longer, thus arriving at the game in a later than traditional fashion, in turn making the atmosphere difficult to generate.
I feel we also suffer badly from substandard catering facilities in grounds across Scotland. You only have to look how our eating habits have changed over the last 10 years. Glasgow is one of the best cities in the UK for dining out, yet we still have the staple food of pies, and soggy burgers being served up to supporters, is it any wonder we are choosing to dine elsewhere outside the ground, at a more reasonable cost especially to individuals bringing family members to the game?
By allowing the sale of alcohol in grounds, at the same time as improving the club’s catering facilities on offer, you are merely giving fans a choice and at the same time opening up a revenue stream to the club in the current financial climate, you as the club selling the alcohol has the right to refuse service to any individual that is intoxicated and have the police on hand should anything escalate.
I firmly believe if you give grown men and women the choice to make they will make responsible decisions, yes there will always be one or two that take it too far but that shouldn’t spoil it for the rest and stop us enjoying what the rest of our nation already does, a simple pie, pint and chat at the game.