Saturday, 22 August 2009

A sporting chance

It's been a thoroughly depressing start (I'm tempted to say end) to the football season for Scottish football fans. In Europe Motherwell and Aberdeen were both thumped, Hearts are half way to being gubbed, Celtic look likely to be missing out on the Champions' League, albeit against a very good Arsenal side and due to a couple of lucky goals, Falkirk falling to the mighty Vaduz from, erm, Liechtenstein and of course the national team's debacle in Norway (and we'll neatly gloss over the Loons' midweek humping by Partick Thistle).

But, ever the optimist, it looks to me like a good step in the right direction is being made up in the Granite City. These facilities are precisely the sort of thing we need more of throughout Scotland and are a welcome follow up to the recently opened Toryglen Football Centre near Hampden and the soon to be built National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome near Celtic Park.

Sport should be a central feature of Scottish life, not for the feelgood factor of seeing our sportsmen and women or national teams performing well, although that is always welcome, but rather for the overall health of the nation. Hopefully facilities such as those mentioned above, together with already existing facilities and others in the pipeline, will encourage greater participation in sport, improvements to overall health, and, ultimately, an improvement in results at the elite level.

Again, I'll be an optimist - I am a Scotland fan after all! The relative sporting famine of the last few years and the historic underinvestment in facilities gives Scottish sport an opportunity to effect a Lazarus-style comeback. The rebuilding of our sporting infrastructure must continue, in every corner of Scotland. Radical changes (e.g. summer football) should be seriously considered and, let's face it, those vested interests that would oppose radical change have very little credibility left and must be swept away. And finally, just imagine how much sweeter Scottish success will taste after all these years of suffering! Onwards and upwards Scotland!


Conan the Librarian™ said...

There goes an ever optimistic footsoldier of the Tartan Army;¬)

forfar-loon said...

I spoke too soon Conan, the Loons are top after annihilating Montrose 2-1 today :o)

Dramfineday said...

How about this for a starter for 10 - a fifty metre Olympic class pool in all oot toons that have a population of 20K. Modified to include population areas of 20k in the more remote counties. We could pay for with the oil money ........drat I forgot 1) it isn't ours to spend and 2) it's mortgaged for the next 100 years to pay the bank debts off.

forfar-loon said...

Sounds good in principle DFD, but as you say our ability to pay for such things is compromised by not having full control of our resources and economic policy. One day...!

Dubbieside said...


The main thing against Scotlands football is the lack of talent.

How often do you see youngsters kicking a ball about in the street or in a park? I am not talking about organized leagues etc but just a kick about.

I cannot remember the last time I saw this. This may explain all the African footballers in the UK. They may still pick up the skills in the street and dream of playing for Chelsea etc.

Do you think Jimmy Johnstone etc needed a national football center?

forfar-loon said...

dubbieside, you're right of course. Too many kids playing computer games instead, or too many cars stopping kids playing in the street like Jinky and co used to.

But that's the reality these days - kids have more choices of how to spend their time. Football and other sports have to compete for their attention, and if good facilities out of the cold and wet help get more of them involved then that's surely a good thing.

From my experience the new generation 3G synthetic football pitches provide a better surface than all but the best grass pitches. And how often do you get to play on a decent grass pitch anyway? Even in the SPL half the pitches are mud baths by January.

Also, a proper surface only encourages good skillful football, rather than a blood-and-thunder approach that (sadly!) no longer works in these days of card-happy refs.

Participation is the key, and if good facilities encourage more kids to take the game up, to keep playing and to play the game in the right way, then that's surely going to pay dividends for our teams in the future.