The second largest football stadium in Scotland is also in Glasgow but it may surprise you to hear that it is the home of lowly Queens Park. This is because Queens Park play at Hampden Park, the national stadium and their history is crucial to the development Scottish football.
Formed in 1867, Queens Park were trailblazers and were the first major team in the country. Their dominance was such that they participated in the FA Cup, reaching the final in 1884 and 1885, where sadly they were defeated by Blackburn Rovers on both occasions. However, despite their dominance, Queens Park remained true to their amateur status and as the professional status of the game developed, the team could no longer consistently compete at the highest level in Scotland.
The current Hampden Park is actually the third Hampden Park and the first match was played there in 1903. The second Hampden Park was sold to a club called Third Lanark A.C. (link to a page on Third Lanark) and was renamed Cathkin Park. Third Lanark went bust in 1967 but Cathkin Park remains, a wayward shot away from Hampden Park.
The impact of Queens Park on the emergence of Scottish football should never be forgotten but with over a hundred years having passed since the team could claim to be at the top end of the game in Scotland, attention about Hampden Park will inevitably fall on to the national team.
Instinctively, the term ‘Hampden Roar’ springs to mind, evoking the way the home crowd would get behind their team and the noise that would be created when celebrating a goal. It has also worked its way into the Glasgow vocabulary with the question “What’s the Hampden?” being taken to mean, whats going on or what is happening? Up until 1950, and the completion of the Maracana in Brazil, Hampden Park was the largest football stadium in the world.
To this day, Hampden still holds three major attendance records:
Given that it hosts the Scottish national team and is the venue for Scottish Cup and League Cup finals, it is unsurprising that Hampden Park has hosted many memorable games but it is for a number of high profile matches that Hampden Park is known the world over.
In 1960, Real Madrid defeated Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Cup final by a score-line of 7-3, in a match which is widely heralded as one of the greatest games of all time. Both sets of teams were warmly applauded by a crowd of over 130,000 people and this game still lives long in the memory of not only Scottish football fans but those fans who back Real Madrid and football lovers everywhere.
When Real Madrid returned to Hampden in 2002 to play in the Champions League Final against German opponents again, Bayer Leverkusen, many believed it was their destiny to triumph again. At 1-1 before half-time, Hampden Park was treated to a goal of supreme quality when Zenedine Zidane volleyed home from outside the box to give Madrid a 2-1 win. Words do not really do the goal justice and it has to be seen to be believed and enjoyed.
For those of you want to experience more about the Hampden experience, the aptly named Hampden Experience allows you to view the stadium tour, the hall of fame and the Scottish football museum. It also allows you to spend money in the gift shop or cafe but more importantly, it allows you to view pivotal moments from a footballing nation that may not have invented football…but have certainly contributed to some of its greatest moments.