With Scottish soccer enthusiasts debating what must grow to be in their unloved nationwide stadium, declassified govt papers have published the interior tale of the way UK ministers just about consigned Hampden Park to historical past – earlier than U-turning a decade later.
The Scottish Soccer Affiliation (SFA) hire on Hampden results in 2020, resulting in calls from some unsatisfied enthusiasts for the stadium to be deserted in favour of Murrayfield, or rotating internationals throughout Scotland.
However that almost got here to move in 1980, when Margaret Thatcher inherited a dedication from the former Labour govt to take a position £five.five million to renovate Hampden.
Design paintings was once already underneath method on a big overhaul of the venue, which was once regarded as a “run-down carrying slum” and “somewhat insufficient”.
In June, officers within the Scotland Place of business wrote to Downing Boulevard explaining that Scottish Secretary George More youthful was once ready to authorise a spending bundle to rescue what was once “in impact the nationwide flooring”.
“Its amenities and common requirements are somewhat insufficient and whether it is to stay in use, entire reconstruction is essential,” officers famous. The money can be matched by means of the SFA along side Strathclyde and Glasgow District Councils.
However then as now, Hampden had its critics, together with Rangers chairman Rae Simpson, who argued that global fixtures and cup finals might be performed on rotation at different stadia, saving the taxpayer thousands and thousands at a time when the United Kingdom was once within the grips of a recession and inflation crowned 22 according to cent.
And Glasgow District withdrew its dedication to the challenge “as a result of the impact of presidency spending cuts on crucial products and services”.
Regardless of Mr More youthful securing an larger be offering of £eight.five million from the Treasury to hide the price of inflation, unexpectedly the plans had been scrapped – at the day the bulldozers had been because of transfer in.
The federal government was once lambasted within the press, who demanded to grasp “who holds the purse-strings in Scotland”.
The Scotsman dubbed Mr More youthful and his junior minister Alex Fletcher a “pusillanimous pair” who had irreparably broken agree with within the govt, whilst the Glasgow Usher in wrote that “the federal government’s dealing with of the Hampden affair presentations an ineptitude exceeding even Scotland’s dismal efficiency in Argentina two years in the past”.
Aberdeen South MP Iain Sproat was once branded the “executioner” and a “tightwad” after boasting that he took his requires the challenge to be scrapped immediately to the Iron Girl.
At the back of the scenes, Mr More youthful’s officers implored Downing Boulevard to “rebut the allegations that, in resiling at the Hampden dedication, the Secretary of State was once performing underneath [Mrs Thatcher’s] directions”.
A Scotland Place of business reputable wrote: “I mentioned I’d help you see some newspaper cuttings to turn the level to which this rationalization had won forex in Scotland; at the price of nice injury to the Secretary of State’s symbol.”
In reaction, Mrs Thatcher wrote: “Can Bernard [Ingham, her press secretary] temporary the Scottish press?” Twelve years later, the brand new Scottish Secretary Ian Lang revived the federal government’s be offering to assist renovate Hampden.