THE GLASGOW FOOTBALL TOUR
FIVE GROUNDS. ONE CITY. INFINITE STORIES
BY LINDSAY HAMILTON
The Tour was a dream of mine for about 2 years. And it basically all came about while I was working part-time at the Scottish Football Museum as a tour guide, were I still work, and full-time at Sports Heritage Scotland which was an office based job in which I archived old Scottish sports images to support a nationwide dementia project. I loved that job! And I still love my job at the Scottish Football Museum. But I was becoming ill, sitting in front of a computer screen and feeling fairly isolated within my own office block for eight hours Monday to Friday. It was hindering my mental health and so I knew there and then that working in an office just wasn’t going to cut the mustard for me.
I love working at the Scottish Football Museum and fell in love with the place many years ago. Until I started working there I didn’t realise how much I loved storytelling and, more importantly, I didn’t realise how good I was at storytelling. People really took to me; they have always been, and continue to be, very complimentary. It makes you feel 10ft tall knowing someone enjoyed hearing about the stories just as much, if not more so, than you enjoy telling them. So that was that. I was going to be a storyteller in some capacity or another.
I was sitting at my desk one day, archiving the old sports images for the dementia project, wondering how on earth I could become a full time tour guide and all of a sudden this idea just popped into my head. I was going to start a driven football tour of Glasgow, taking folk to as many football spots as I could possibly think of, or fit in to a time frame, and I was going to create my own dream job. And that was that.
I remember leaving the office that day with a note of paper with a ton of ideas and price ranges; it even had a list of things I would need like insurance, website, social media platforms etc. I don’t think i’ve ever been more inspired to do something than I was that day. I went home that night and told my Mum what I was going to do and she simply said, “Go for it!” And here I am, almost a year as a sole trader and business owner, living my dream!
What Does The Glasgow Football Tour Involve?
The Glasgow Football Tour is a 2-hour bus tour allowing visitors to take in the sights and enjoy the stories of Glasgow’s unique and pioneering football history. I entertain the public with footballing tales while exploring the city’s four football stadiums, plus Cathkin Park, while recounting the origin stories, plus the triumphs and tragedies experienced by the five clubs, formerly seven, who call our ‘dear green place’ home.
The bus stops at Firhill Stadium (home of Partick Thistle), Ibrox Stadium (Rangers, of course), Cathkin Park (the second Hampden Park, and once the ground of Queens Park and Third Lanark), Hampden Park (Scotland’s National Stadium and, for now, Queens Parks home ground) and Celtic Park (no prizes for guessing who plays here).
Visitors get the chance to hop off the bus to capture precious memories and take perfect, instagrammable pictures with your friends and family. You can hoist the European Cup aloft beside the Billy McNeil statue, pay your respects to those who ventured off to a football game never to return home and stand beneath the towering figure of Rangers legend John Greig sadly made to commemorate three Ibrox stadium disasters, marvel at the Partick Thistle mural beautifully painted by Darnley born Bobby McNamara (commonly known as street artist Rogue One) and gaze upon Glasgow’s football graveyard as you walk around the hallowed turf of Cathkin Park with the old terrace and crash barriers intact.
Hopes For The Future?
I hope to one day make this my full time job. Perhaps, buy my own bus with my logo along the side of it and maybe I could employ a couple of football daft employees who share my passion for Glasgow, football and football history.
I hope these stories reach far and wide, and that people talk passionately about ‘the wee lassie from the Glasgow Football Tour who really knows her stuff’. I like that! It makes me feel happy, like scoring a last minute winner against England in any auld game (even five-a-side down The Green).
I hope I fail over and over and over again, that way I will know that I am doing something right because I know that I’ll still be doing it and I haven’t yet thrown in the towel. It’s alright to hit the crossbar every once in a while you know.
Honestly, I want THE WORLD to know why Glasgow is so special in reference to football history. I want as many folk as I can possibly dare to meet to know that this beautiful city is the site of the first purposely built national football stadium in the world! I want people to know about the three Hampden Parks, and why Queen’s Park are called the Spiders and who James Kelly is and why he’s so important to the foundation of Celtic Football Club and what really happened on that day on the 2nd January 1971 when 66 Rangers supporters lost their lives never to return home on derby day. I need folk to know the story of Glasgow City Football Club; their incredible domestic dominance, their European triumphs and the two women who pioneered the whole thing. I need folk to be familiar with the bad man Bill Hiddleston and the awful things he did to our dearest Third Lanark, who sadly are no longer with us.
These are some of the greatest footballing stories ever told. My hope for the future is to tell as many folk as I can just how ‘pure, dead, brilliant’ my beloved Glasgow is.