Lesser Hampden

Lesser Hampden is a football stadium in Mount Florida, Glasgow, Scotland, which is located immediately beside the western end of Hampden Park stadium.

Lesser Hampden
Lesser
A junior tournament (geograph 6252448).jpg
Youth tournament at Lesser Hampden looking east towards Hampden Park's west stand, 2019
Lesser Hampden is located in Glasgow council area
Lesser Hampden
Lesser Hampden
Location in Glasgow
Coordinates55°49′32.15″N 4°15′19.70″W / 55.8255972°N 4.2554722°W / 55.8255972; -4.2554722Coordinates: 55°49′32.15″N 4°15′19.70″W / 55.8255972°N 4.2554722°W / 55.8255972; -4.2554722
OwnerQueen's Park F.C.
Capacity12,000 (on opening)[1]
470 (seats, current)[2]
1774 (seats, projected)[2]
SurfaceArtificial turf
Construction
Built1923
Opened1924
Renovated2012–2015[3][4]
Tenants
Queen's Park F.C. youth

HistoryEdit

In 1923, Queen's Park were looking for an alternative venue for their reserves and youth teams,[1] with a basic pitch to the south of the main stand at Hampden Park increasingly being used as a car park.[5] The club purchased a farm on the west side of Hampden and built a pitch and stands.[1] When it opened in 1924, Lesser Hampden had a capacity of 12,000.[1] To reduce costs, the original farmhouse building was retained and was converted into a pavilion and dressing room.[1] This farmhouse, which dates back to the 19th century, is believed by football historians to be the oldest existing football stadium building in the world.[1][3][6][5] The changing rooms were closed in 2013 for safety reasons.[6]

During World War II, Lesser Hampden was commandeered by the British Government to serve as a base for the Home Guard.[1][5] There were proposals to convert the site back to agriculture if there were food shortages, but the ground was returned to the football club at the end of the war in 1945.[1]

 
View of Lesser Hampden looking north, showing grass pitch and Portakabin offices, 2005
 
View of Lesser Hampden looking west, 2010 (prior to its redevelopment)

During the 1970s, several Queen's Park first team games were played at the stadium.[5] During the redevelopment of the main Hampden Park stadium in the 1990s, the club played Scottish Football League matches at this ground.[1][5] The ground served as a staging area for pre-game tailgate parties hosted by the Scottish Claymores American football team when they played at Hampden Park.[1]

During preparations to make use of the site for the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, it was discovered that Lesser Hampden was tainted with toxic chromium, a byproduct from an old chemicals plant located in nearby Rutherglen.[7][8] This was cleaned up at a cost of around £40,000.[1]

Lesser Hampden is tightly hemmed in to the west by surrounding housing and commercial developments. It has some areas of terracing, floodlights and a small covered grandstand adjacent to the original farmhouse building. The natural grass pitch was replaced with a 3rd generation astro-grass pitch (funded partly by donations from local businessman Willie Haughey and partly from proceeds from well-attended cup ties)[9] and was used as a warm-up area for athletes competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as the track and field events were held at Hampden Park.[10] Like the main stadium it was temporarily converted into an athletics venue and thereafter returned to football use.[5]

Since Hampden's 1999 redevelopment, a row of Portakabins on the north side of the Lesser Hampden pitch had housed the Queen's Park club offices, with a proposed rebuild of the site as an elite youth development facility never materialising.[1][7] In 2013 a new clubhouse at the south-west corner was completed,[2] named the J. B. McAlpine Pavilion to honour the club's record goalscorer.[4][11][5]

Adoption as a league stadiumEdit

In September 2018, it was announced that Queen's Park would return to Lesser Hampden to play first team matches on a permanent basis after agreeing to sell Hampden Park itself to the Scottish FA, which had been leasing the larger ground as the base for the national team.[12] In November 2019, the club released plans to upgrade Lesser Hampden to an SPFL-standard venue which included an extension of the existing west stand, a new east stand and associated facilities, with a seating capacity of 1774.[2][13][5][14] Work on Lesser Hampden was delayed, which meant that Queen's Park had to groundshare at the Falkirk Stadium and at Firhill after their lease on Hampden expired.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Halliday, Stephen (23 December 2005). "Lesser Hampden – Living in the Shadow". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Glasgow's Queen's Park reveal stadium plans for Lesser Hampden, Evening Times, 21 November 2019
  3. ^ a b "Queen's Park to build solid new foundations". Scottish Football League. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b Lesser Hampden J.B. McAlpine Pavillion Construction, QPFC.com
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Lesser Hampden, QPFC.com
  6. ^ a b "Queen's Park lose unique record". spfl.co.uk. Scottish Professional Football League. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b Queen’s Park face a race against time, The Scotsman, 24 March 2002
  8. ^ "Toxic waste found near Hampden". BBC News. BBC. 15 March 2002. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  9. ^ To play for the sake of playing, The Herald, 22 January 2009
  10. ^ Barnes, John (4 October 2012). "Hampden will be closed to football for Glasgow 2014 preparations". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  11. ^ Queen's Park honour JB McAlpine, Scottish Professional Football League, 18 September 2013
  12. ^ "Hampden v Murrayfield: Scottish FA opt to keep games in Glasgow". Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  13. ^ Glasgow Football Club Kick Off 1,700-Seater Stadium Plan, reGlasgow, 20 November 2019
  14. ^ Hampden Sale Completed, Queen's Park FC, 4 August 2020
  15. ^ "Queens Park: League 1 club to play home games at Firhill next season". BBC Sport. 3 June 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.