In recent months there has been a lot of debate surrounding the Scottish Football Association’s, (SFA), consideration to relocate Football games to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
I have attended many matches at Hampden and have felt myself fraught with frustration at the lack of parking available and the near non-existent public transportation links. Attending both Rangers and Scotland games at I have had been met with seats providing only restricted views. Therefore I myself, am not an advocate Hampden but I feel there are issues with the newly proposed location that are not being given enough considered.
Having recently attended a Hearts v’s Rangers game at Murrayfield on the 28th of October this year and post that experience I cannot join the clamour of many in thinking this is the answer to all the existing problems.
Murrayfield stadium has a capacity of 67,144 and with a crowd of 32,852 present at this Hearts v’s Rangers game this was less than half the maximum capacity of this ground but access and egress was still a major issue. There was bottleneck build up getting to and from the stadium and a lack exits from within the boundary.
If you take this example and apply the situation of an Old Firm Final to this, given that the average attendance at an old firm final is approximately 50000, this gives an indication of the further difficulties in getting to and from the stadium along with exorbitant traffic disruptions along the M8 that could be expected.
Murrayfield, is not however, without its advantages. I have found the sightlines for watching the match to be much better than those at Hampden and there is a better variety of food choices available but unfortunately it still suffers the same fate as many British sporting venues in that it has been built around houses with little to no parking available and almost no public transport links direct to the ground.
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I can’t help feeling that if the result had gone the other way people’s views may have differed on the whole experience and what they thought of Murrayfield.
There is a growing fear among Rangers fans that Celtic park will be chosen by the SFA to host international and semi-final matches and therefore despite it’s obvious pit falls Murrayfield may actually present a neutral location for these events, but for me Murrayfield, like Hampden before it, is not the answer and further work is needed to find a venue that will accommodate the requirements of country whom are passionate about live sporting events and regularly attend in large numbers.