Hampden Park football ground in Glasgow has been the home of the Queen’s Park club for over 100 years now – since the 1870s, in fact, if you want to go with the very earliest iteration of the park. The stadium now also houses the offices for the Scottish Football Administration as well as the Scottish Professional Football League, and will occasionally host national team play. However, it’s on the verge of experiencing a major change, with a big deal in the making between the SFA and the current owners. In fact, as of last autumn, the plan was for the SFA to buy Hampden Park for £5m in 2020 when the current stadium lease expires.
At its core this is a fairly major Glasgow real estate transaction, though it’s also one that is meant to see off Queen’s Park, which would represent the end of an era. Despite being among the UK’s oldest teams and having had some successful periods in its past, Queen’s Park is currently mired in struggles. It’s playing in the third division, and one need only look at recent scores to see that things aren’t getting better. The team has no chance of promotion this season and it seems unlikely in the immediate future, meaning that a long-term overhaul is likely in order if it’s to fight its way back to the Premiership.
It’s not a very kind or hospitable way to think, but frankly these struggles by Queen’s Park open the door for their departure from a stadium that at this point is a little bit too grand for the level of football the club is playing at. Whether or not this was an explicit factor in negotiations is unknown, but from what we’ve heard the SFA was still making decisions about the park’s future, and was looking at a short-term focus more on the national team.
Now, however, it looks as if the £5 million agreement to purchase Hampden Park may actually have fallen through. Recent reports have described the deal as being in danger of collapsing over a dispute with the Glasgow City Council. Because the Council retains a charge of £2.6m from remodeling in the ‘90s, it is battling for a seat on the board under the new ownership. This was something that was allowed to the local government by Hampden Park Ltd. (the current ownership group), but which appears to be the sticking point that could make the deal fall through with the SFA.
We’ll see likely in the next few months how this all plays out. For now though, a major real estate deal that would affect many in Scotland appears to be in flux.
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