SFA takes control of Hampden Park

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has formally taken ownership of Hampden Park as its previous owner, Queen’s Park, looks to a new era at a redeveloped Lesser Hampden.

The SFA concluded a £5m (€5.5m/$6.6m) deal back in June 2019 to buy the Glasgow stadium from League Two club Queen’s Park, and the ownership transfer has now been made. The agreement to purchase Scotland’s national football stadium was signed after months of negotiations.

The SFA reached an agreement back in September 2018 to buy the 51,866-seat stadium from Queen’s Park. The deal represented a success for Hampden Park, which had faced competition from Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium to become the home of Scottish football after 2020.

Hampden Park is a historic venue for both Scottish and European football. Opened in 1903, Hampden Park has hosted six European club finals, including arguably the greatest final in the history of the European Cup when Real Madrid defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in front of 127,621 fans in 1960, still a record attendance for the finale of the now Champions League.

Hampden also holds other attendance records. In 1937, the first all ticket Scotland match attracted an attendance of 149,415, the British record for any match as Scotland defeated England 3-1. Meanwhile, the 1937 Scottish Cup final drew a crowd of 146,433 – a European record for a club match – as Celtic beat Aberdeen 2-1.

Founded in 1867 as the oldest association football club in Scotland, Queen’s Park is currently working on efforts to convert the so-called Lesser Hampden into a licensed ground for the club. Queen’s Park played league matches at the ground when Hampden Park was being redeveloped in the 1990s. The venue was opened in 1924 with a capacity of 12,000.

Queen’s Park president, Gerry Crawley, said: “It was a difficult period for the club to conclude what was a complex transaction. The sale of the stadium brings mixed feelings.

“We are pleased the historical home of Scottish football is staying at Hampden. Although we won’t be playing our games at the National Stadium much longer, there is excitement the outcome gives the club a solid footing to move forward from our new base at a redeveloped Lesser Hampden.

“Work has already started, and we aim to have it complete by spring next year. The facility will have around 1,700 covered seats with a new East Stand, and a redeveloped West Stand. There is scope to increase capacity if required.

“The stadium we are building now might not be as big as the one we created back in 1903, but everybody connected with Queen’s Park Football Club is determined it will become a launching pad for an exciting new period in our long and distinguished history.”

Image: Queen’s Park