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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter XXXVI.—Opening New Hampden

The opening of Hampden Park, 31st October, 1903, was an important event in the history of football. The ground was spacious, and well equipped in every way for the purpose for which it was intended. While many who attended the function were prepared for something great, they were compelled to admire the enterprise of the Queen's Park, and gaze in amazement at the results which had been obtained. The ground reflected glory on the club, the architects, and the contractors. The last named were pressed for time, and would have been excused had they failed to carry out to the full the task they undertook. The result of the combined effort produced the finest athletic enclosure in the country. While the Olympic Games, the product of latter-day international athletic rivalry, may have caused the erection of stadiums in London and on the Continent, yet modern Hampden Park stands still unrivalled. Its holding capacity has, since 1903, been more than doubled by extending the banking; at the present time it is capable of holding 120,000 spectators easily, and every one has a full and comfortable view. A natural amphitheatre, there is no danger to life and limb, as all stand with feet on solid ground. The grand stands, on either side of the pavilion—opened 1914—are spacious and commodious. The reserved enclosures in front of the stands hold 10,000.

The opening of the new ground was performed by that generous patron of football, Sir John Ure Primrose, Bart., the Lord Provost of Glasgow, in 1903. Though more closely allied with the Rangers Football Club, Sir John is cosmopolitan in his football and athletic tastes, and makes it a point to be present at all important events. Sir John was surrounded by hosts of gentlemen associated with athletic enterprises from all parts of the kingdom, and was supported by many civic and other dignitaries. Among those present were Bailies Calderwood, Sorley, Richard Browne (an ex-president of the Queen's Park), Finlay, Dunlop, Alex. Brown, Dallas, Miller, P. G. Stewart, Alexander,, Mitchell, Watson, Burrell, Shaw, and Willox; Dr. Neilson, Procurator-Fiscal (now Stipendiary Magistrate) ; Mr. John Lindsay, Police Clerk (now Sir John Lindsay, and Town Clerk of Glasgow); Mr. Thomas Nisbet, Master of Works; Mr. J. D. Ramsay, Clerk to Dean of Guild Court; Mr. J. V. Stevenson, Chief Constable; Rev. Robert Primrose; Rev. Alexander Brown; Mr. William Primrose; Mr. William M'Killop, M.P.; Mr. R. P. Gregson, Lancashire Association, representing the Football Association; Mr. J. K. M'Dowall, secretary, Scottish Association; Major R. M. Christie, president, Scottish Football Association; Mr. A. Ross Scott, president, Scottish Amateur Athletic Association; Captain Harding, Chief Constable of Renfrewshire; Dr. John Kerr, Allan Glen's School; Colonel R. B. Shaw ; Colonel J. B. Wilson; Mr. James Miller, architect; Mr. Alexander Blair; Mr. William Clark, of M'Creaths & Stevenson, engineers; Mr. W. H. Dinsmore, measurer ; Councillor George Taggart; ex-Bailie Robert Graham; Bailies Pollock and Smellie, of Hamilton; Mr. Bonn, engineer for the stands; directors of Celtic Football Club, of Rangers Football Club, 3rd Lanark Football Club, Partick Thistle Football Club; past presidents, Scottish Football Association ; Mr. J. K. Horsburgh, president, Scottish League; and Glasgow Association-committee. Also former Queen's Park players—Walter Arnott, Robert Smellie, Thomas Robertson, John Gillespie, W. Gulliland, W. H. Berry, T. S. Waddell, D. S. Allan, William Sellar, J. L. Kay, Alex. Hamilton, D. C. Sillars, Dr. John Smith, Davidson Berry, Archibald Rowan, R. A. Lambie, T. C. Highet (the list includes fourteen " English " International players).

Mr. Alfred Dalziel, president, Queen's Park Football Club, introduced Lord Provost Sir John Ure Primrose, Bart., who was accompanied by Lady Primrose. His lordship, assisted by her ladyship, unfurled the flag, and declared the ground open. His lordship said he esteemed it a very high honour to be invited to inaugurate the new home of the Queen's Park Football Club. In the historic past the Queen's had occupied a prominent position, and a position of honour, because they were the first exponents of the beautiful Association game in Scotland, and from them sprang all the clubs they found in every part of the British Kingdom and Britain beyond the seas. After a passing reference to professionalism, his lordship said amateurism, as personified in the Queen's Park, was still a vital force in the community, and he asked how the spirit of the pure amateur was to be preserved in the future, and compete successfully with the organised teams, the members of which devoted their lives to the practice of the game? He thought the solution was to be found in selecting from their public schools the most highly trained young men in physical discipline, to recruit the ranks of the premier club. (Applause.) If that were done, he predicted that the Queen's Park would lead the van. Football had become the national game of the kingdom, and he was thankful it had done so, because there was an outcry for recreation, and to his lordship there was no more delightful sight than to witness an exhibition of manly skill, strength, and endurance. In conclusion, he trusted the Queen's Park Club would go on and prosper. (Applause.)

Mr. Arthur Geake proposed a vote of thanks to Sir John and Lady Primrose ; and, on behalf of Scottish football, he said they were under a deep and lasting obligation to his lordship and her ladyship for their presence and countenance. Amidst loud cheers, Mr. Geake then handed Sir John a massive silver cigar box, in commemoration of the occasion.

Sir John returned thanks, after which ceremony the opening match, Queen's Park versus Celtic, was proceeded with.


The first match played on newest Hampden Park was a Scottish League game, in which Celtic formed the opposition, and it proved worthy of the occasion. As was to be expected, the ground was heavy, and consequently the working of the ball not easy. Long shots with a sodden ball are never satisfactory, and the young Queen's Park team over-indulged in that kind of play. The Celts, on the other hand, played football which was the envy of the amateurs; but the back Play of Campbell and Richmond, and the goalkeeping of Adams, were important factors in keeping the home fortress intact. The delightful work and heady tactics of the Celtic forwards told its tale, but fortune was with the Queen's Park on this occasion. Things took a turn latterly, but admiration was not wanting for the splendid attack of the wearers of the green. After Jones had missed a favourable opportunity, the Queen's Park awoke from their lethargy. Eadie initiated a run, Currie and Logan joined in, the last named bored his way through his formidable opponents, and, centring, D. Wilson got his foot to the ball, and scored the first goal for the Queen's Park on their new field. It was an appropriate success, as Wilson was the oldest member of a rather juvenile combination. Until the welcome interval— and never before did minutes pass so slowly—the Celts were most aggressive, but luck was not to them, and their pressure, fortunately for the Queen's Park, was not represented in goals. Like giants refreshed, the game was resumed, and the home forwards, heartened by a goal in hand, were almost in the happy position of making the one goal into a pair, but M'Allister, who had been doing good work, hesitated too long, and Battles cleared. Jones again took the wrong foot with an open goal before him, and missed by inches. The home half-backs shone here, as their placing was well timed, Eadie and Templeton being specially commended. The Celtic had now to face similar pressure to that which they had compelled the Queens' Park to undergo in the opening period, but stood up to their work well. The cup overflowed when Fullarton missed scoring from Jones' centre. Battles and Watson were ramparts difficult to break through. The Celts had now their innings, but it was only a brief look in. M'Allister struck the post. Quinn and Somers were very troublesome on the Celtic left wing, and a wild shot went very wide. The Queen's were now holding their opponents, and were decidedly the better team. Time was slipping on, and every kick was watched with feverish anxiety, every yard gained applauded, and still the whistle was silent. It was rather nerve straining for the Queen's Park supporters. All things have an end, and this historic match came to a finish, and the Queen's Park won by 1-0. The home eleven was a compact and well-trained one, and, if individuals have to be selected, Skene in goal, Campbell and Richmond at back, Eadie and Templeton at half, with Logan and Wilson forward, must bear off the palm. No one can deny the better team won, and if ever a team was overplayed the Celts were that afternoon. Teams :—

Queen's Park—L. H. Skene; T. F. Campbell and A. Richmond; James Eadie, W. M. Fullarton, and A. Templeton; A. Currie, J. L. Logan, A. M'Allister, D. Wilson, and P. F. Jones.

Celtic—Adams; Watson and Battles; Orr, Loney, and Hay; Bennett, M'Menemy, Gilligan, Somers, and Quinn.

After the match the officials invited many friends to a tea and social in the Alexandra Hotel, where an enjoyable evening was spent. The arrangements were so very satisfactory that a special vote of thanks was minuted by the club to the sub-committee who carried them out—Messrs. Dalziel, Liddell, and Tom Robertson.

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