Hampden Park's Loudest Roar
Hampden Park, the home of Scottish football’s national side. Witness to some of the greatest matches in the history of the sport. Formerly the biggest stadium in the world, the old lady of Scottish football still holds the record for the largest attendance of any European international match in history.
At one point Glasgow boasted the three largest stadiums in world football, Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park and regularly saw crowd attendances upwards of 100,000. Originally Hampden was constructed to withstand an unbelievable 183, 388 people but the controlling powers would only allow 150,000 tickets to be sold at any given event.
In 1937 a match against England drew an official attendance of 149, 415 inside the stadium, unofficially there were 20,000 more fans in the stands and a further 20,000 refused entry to the stadium on grounds of safety.
Hampden also holds the record for the largest attendance of any UEFA European club match. Celtic versus Leeds United in the semi final of the 1970 European Cup. An official attendance of 136, 505 attended the match, unofficially the numbers were substantially more.
After undergoing a multi million pound revamp in the late nineties, Hampden’s peak attendance would never be more than 52,063, dwarfed in stature to both Celtic Park and Murrayfield who boast capacities of 60,832 and 67, 800 respectively.
The drop in max attendance has resulted in many critics, journalists and fans suggesting that the tigerish fearsome match-day atmosphere assigned to the Mount Florida stadium has been neutered. They say the world famous Hampden Roar, allegedly heard half way around the city, is now nothing more than a timid miaow.
However, Glasgow Living begs to differ. Ask any fan who witnessed Zidane score a wonder goal, Scotland defeat France, or countless Old Firm matches that took place in the freshly renovated Hampden, and they would firmly negate your claims, offering memories and goosebumps, as evidence supporting the latter.
Glasgow Living has analysed, studied and re-analysed mountains of data (looked at videos and squabbled) to come up with the ultimate guide to Hampden’s greatest footballing moments.
P.s The biggest bombshell regarding Hampden Park?
The national stadium? The spiritual home of Scottish football? That iconic venue that has bear witness to some of Scottish football’s greatest moments? The undeniable sanctuary of the famous Tartan Army. The epitome of football in Scotland.
Named after an Englishman. John Hampden, who fought in the English Civil War.
On that bombshell, Glasgow Living presents to you 5 of Hampden’s greatest footballing moments.
Scotland vs France 2006
Smarting from losing the 2006 World Cup Final to a less than reputable Italian side, many people feared for the safety of the Scotland team (and also Walter Smith’s health), with many commentators suggesting a whitewash home and away, it was set to be another equally miserable campaign and miserable chapter in Scotland’s footballing history.
But it never happened, In the first half France pressed and pressed, probably for about 44 minutes. (the ball was collectively out of play for the other minute). But in the second half something happened, Scotland began to grow in confidence, a packed Hampden began to believe, throwing their weight behind the Scotland team, they urged the eleven men forward. Don’t get me wrong, Scotland didn’t suddenly develop the skill of the Brazil squad. But they began to push forward, float balls into the box and create chances.
The mercurial talisman James McFadden always lingering, waiting for his moment to shine. (Although his mesmerising moment wouldn’t arrive until the rematch the following year).
Instead, inspiration came from another Scotland player, Gary Caldwell. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, but by God did this one count.
The moment will live forever. Paul Hartley winning a corner and crossing the ball into the packed penalty box, deceiving the French defence, the ball unbelievably landed at Gary Caldwell’s feet, 45,000 Scotland fans held their breath simultaneously willing Caldwell to “shoooooooooot”.
He dutifully obliged, sending the ball past a distraught Coupet, and the 45,000 fans wild.
Hampden Park erupted, a country went into shock, and a Scotland team expected to turn up and take a honourable drubbing, had stolen a lead against a team voted no1 in the world five years in a row.
The world watched in awe as the Lion Rampant roared once again.
Despite heavy pressure almost immediately from kick off, France failed to find their equalising goal, meaning Scotland had achieved three wins out of three, putting themselves in contention to qualify from the so called “Group of Death”.