Bring Back the Booze

12980_BeerWe all love our football.

I wouldn’t say I love alcohol but I like a few beers at the weekend and like nothing better than a couple pre-match and post-match. It’s a social occasion where I get together with friends and family doing something we all have in common.

It’s probably one of the best forms of escapism from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and those bastard out-of-town shopping malls; every closed season football fans nightmare.

You see, in the boozer, we can sit and discuss the finer points of the Beautiful Game and the players who’ve performed well, as well as the one’s we refer to in Scotland as the “diddies”.

Even the blazers at Hampden want ministers to look at ending a controversial ban on alcohol sales in stadiums on match days.

Alcohol has been banned from grounds north of the border for more than three decades, with the catalyst being the 1980 Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers. Even as a 9 year old I remember that day vividly. We can’t erase that from history, but we can learn from it.

Drink is available at grounds in England and at Scottish rugby games, including internationals at Murrayfield. Celtic are, of course, going to be playing at Murrayfield. Will the ban be enforced purely because it’s a different sport? Or a different event?

When Robbie Williams played Hampden Park, there were allegedly grown woman mortal drunk; fighting and unrinating in the street right under the noses of the cops. Had it been you or I we would have been lifted on the spot.

Why are the football fans of today still being punished over something that happened 34 years ago?

There’s talk of pilot schemes being introduced. Personally I that’s the best way to do it. If we, as football fans, mess it up then it’s our own fault. But in all my years of attending football matches I have only witnessed violence once or twice. It’s not me being naive, it’s no doubt happened more that but I’ve witnessed more fights at 3am during weekend than I ever have at a football game.

The SFA would like supporters to be allowed to buy alcohol in grounds before kick-off and at half-time just as fans in Spain, Germany and other countries can do.

Why is it that alcohol can be served in corporate hospitality areas of football stadiums, but not in every other part of grounds? Are those in suits more likely to be behave than a guy in jeans? Can they handle their drink better? Are they more responsible?

In the past, I’ve openly criticised football stadiums for being sanitised, for lack of atmosphere, but the advantage of them nowadays is that it’s far more civilised than it was in the 1980s. Better seating, outlay, food and importantly policing. I firmly believe that fans of Scottish teams should have the same rights as those in England and Wales, where drink can be consumed in concourse areas but not in the stands.

There is absolutely no reason why this should be successfully in place in England but not north of the border. Is the drink culture any worse or better down south than up here? Put it this way; fans traveling from Glasgow to Inverness can be drinking for at least 5 hours prior to kick off and still get into a game. Five hours on the sauce would certainly have me well on. There are also decent football fans who can drink in moderation too.

I tend to keep it to a peep before the game but we all know there are some who just like to get blitzed. What’s to say a concert-goer or a rugby fan doesn’t end up blitzed at their respective events?

What needs to be considered when overturning the ban is the financial aspect for our struggling clubs. It would generate cash for all concerned. Instead of drip feeding them, open the taps. Why do you think Peter Lawwell is pushing this? It’s not about the matchday experience for him – it’s what goes through the till.

Rugby had a similar ban you know. It lasted 25 years, and it was lifted in 2007. Seven years later, football is still stuck in the same Draconian mire.

The main opposition appear to be Police Scotland who are opposed to ANY relaxation but at the same time are happy to use precious resources stopping countless supporter’s buses on the way to the games? I’d really like to hear from them as to why they oppose it?

Until this ban is lifted, football fans will continue to be treated as second class citizens. Attendances look to be going down year on year. Make the matchday experience that bit more enjoyable, and treat us with respect, and we’ll respect the fact we can have a pint at half-time. It’s easy enough to lower the percentage of any give ale. It’s what’s done down south.

Nobody is going to neck 6 pints at half time. Bar staff will be able to pass judgement on who they can serve the same way they can at any establishment throughout the land. How many people do you know bugger off at half-time to go to the pub? That’s lost revenue for clubs.

It’s certainly time to get round the table. The Scottish Government appear to be willing to do so. The Ccubs want it, the fans want it and the football bodies too.

Over to you Mr. House.

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Gavin McCann

A dipsomaniac funambulist steadying himself on life's tightrope through the medium of writing. I "suffer" from diphallic terata with mild polyorchidity. Like a dug wi' two dicks.

7 thoughts on “Bring Back the Booze

  • 23 June, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    What’s to lose here by trialling it out?

    Fed up of being treated like a 2nd Class Citizen. I stopped going to away games as the bus was getting stopped at Perth constantly.

    Having a few bevvies and a laugh is part of the day out for most fans, not all.

    What effect would this have on boozers outside the grounds if this gets the go ahead?

    Good points though. And if it’s messed up by this generation then there’s no turning back.

  • 23 June, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I suspect most of those reading your piece will be too young to remember the “good old days” when the “respectable” bloke who was standing next to you at the game became a foul mouthed drunken pest by halftime, when people were carried off buses and helped in to the ground and of course when some clown through his can of urine up in the air and you went home smelling like a public toilet.

    I do and I recall more recent experiences at European matches people literally crawling to their seats. Like the ladies you mention they think that having a good time is synonymous with getting blind drunk before a concert or a match. Any suggestion that these types would not get even more drunk if alcohol was sold in the ground is absurd—-the laws concening serving drink to already inebriated persons are widely flaunted—see the streets of our towns and cities on any weekend night.

    Why can’t people simply have a drink after the game and let me, my children and grandchildren and thousands of others enjoy watching the famous Glasgow Celtic?

  • 24 June, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Your right, your generation does not know what its like. People out and in to the toilet during the game, ‘People’ not going to the toilet but end up peeing down the back of you leg, staggering about. Are you incapable of existing for 2 hours without drinking. What do you do if you go to the cinema and the film lasts for 2 hours? Look about town centres on a weekend night. What happens to the kids brought to the game, do they watch the football or daddy getting blitzed.
    No thanks.
    Pubs are for drinking, Celtic Park is for watching football.

  • 24 June, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I don’t agree. At all. Keep the booze outside the grounds. Jesus Christ, it’s only 2 hours, drink before and after.
    England has drinking, yes. Look how their fans are viewed worldwide.
    There’s too much passion and aggression at grounds. Sober people don’t destroy seating etc. Football should be inclusive of families.

  • 24 June, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    People drink four and five hours before games. Personally I don’t. The option of having a pint at half time would be good i wouldn’t always do it. There would be a controlled area. What I’m saying is that why should we, as football fans, be treated differently?

  • 24 June, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Peter, how many pints can you drink in 15 minutes? Celtic already has a pre-match “pub” in the Kerrydale Suite. Most punters who drink will do so sensibly before the game – some don’t. I am not advocating have drink in the stands for a minute. What about when people take their kids to “child friendly” pubs? Let the kids run amok in the play area whilst they get blitzed? Different circumstances, same theory.

  • 24 June, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    “People drink between 4 and 5 hours before the game”.
    Exactly why they shouldn’t be drinking inside the ground. It’s those types that ruin it for fans like yourself. They wouldn’t be javing “one pint at half time”, they’d continue drinking (and taking class A drugs) throughout the game.
    Rugby isn’t a religion in Scotland, like football. Rivalries run much deeper, hate is a word not associated with their rivalries.

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