Scottish Football Museum

– in the Scottish Parliament at 5:00 pm on 21st April 2010.

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Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour 5:00 pm, 21st April 2010

The final item of business is a members' business debate on motion S3M-6032, in the name of Charlie Gordon, on celebrating the Scottish Football Museum. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Football Museum, Hampden Park, Glasgow, on achieving recognised status for its collection, awarded by Museum Galleries Scotland; further notes that Scotland was the first country in the world to establish a national football museum; considers that the Scottish Football Museum reflects many of the pioneering influences that Scotland has brought to the modern game of association football; wishes the Scottish museum a successful future, and would welcome admission to the Scottish Football Museum being free to maximise the number of visitors to the best football museum in the world.

Photo of Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon Labour 5:06 pm, 21st April 2010

I draw attention to my entry in the register of members' interests that relates to my non-executive directorship of Hampden Park Ltd. HPL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Scottish Football Association, and although I am not a trustee of the Scottish Football Museum, the SFA is represented on its board. I thank the 33 other MSPs who signed in support of my motion, many of whom are present.

Back in the autumn of 2007, 25 of my MSP colleagues across the chamber supported my motion bolstering the Scottish Football Museum's application for its collection to be recognised under the museum recognition scheme. When the Scottish cup came to Holyrood that October, it gave MSPs who support clubs that do not win many trophies—did someone mention Celtic or Hibernian?—the chance to lift the trophy. After tonight's debate, members will have the opportunity to lift the champions league trophy; wine and canapés will also be available. I am delighted to say that thanks to colleagues' previous support, allied to the hard work of other people too numerous to mention, the Scottish Football Museum gained national recognition status for its collection on 13 October 2009.

In common with all the carers of recognised museum collections, the Scottish Football Museum is eligible to bid for up to £40,000 of recognition funding to undertake a project that will increase accessibility to its collections and improve how they are cared for. I have just heard the good news that a separate budget called the capital fund has produced £70,000 for other physical improvements to the museum environment at Hampden.

If the Presiding Officer will permit me, I would like to say more about what Scottish football means to me and to put that in its wider context. I was born and bred in Partick, an industrial burgh of Glasgow that is older than the city itself. Only when I became an adult did I discover that a flour mill has stood on the banks of the River Kelvin at Partick for at least 1,000 years and that, long before that, it was the site of the summer palaces of the kings of Strathclyde and the bishops of Glasgow.

However, when I was a boy, it was Partick's football heritage that impinged on my consciousness. The cricket ground at Hamilton Crescent—the venue of the first international football match in 1872, when England held out for a nil-nil draw against Scotland—was and remains a free kick from my home. Just a throw-in further west was the Thomlinson's leather works, where the leather case for the inflatable football—or bladder, as we boys called it—was perfected. In the early days of the professional game, it was the standard ball that was used in matches. Happy the boy who got a size 5 bladder for Christmas!

Alongside those two tangible presences in Partick was an equally tangible absence: that of Partick Thistle Football Club, which is most Glaswegians' other team. Indeed, Bill Aitken played for the club. Partick Thistle once played in Partick, but although the club still bears the name of that erstwhile burgh, it was lured away by the blandishments of Maryhill more than 100 years ago. I am not sure whether Maryhill is forgiven yet in Partick. However, this evening's debate is not just about nostalgia, let alone just about me. To put the history and the heritage of Scottish football in its wider context, permit me to quote from the testimonial letters that various eminent people wrote in support of recognition for the Scottish Football Museum's collection.

John Burnett, who is principal curator of modern Scotland at the National Museums of Scotland, wrote:

"The material on Scots abroad, including club tours, Scots playing football in England (very important in the late nineteenth century), and taking football to parts of the British Empire, and elsewhere, is of great significance in showing the role of the Scots in the worldwide development of the game. ... In my opinion this is the most coherent and balanced sports football collection in the UK, and its richness is reflected in the number of loans it has made in recent years to other museums. This collection stands comparison with that in any other sports museum in the world."

Professor Doctor Wulf Köpke, who is the director of—with apologies for my pronunciation—the Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg in Germany, wrote:

"you have a world class football collection. ... From a cultural perspective the museum's collections and the information that they convey to the visitor help to demonstrate the central interest that the sport seems to have enjoyed historically amongst a significant proportion of Scottish society. ... Indeed I would say that the collections of the Scottish Football Museum are outstanding in providing a significant level of social history content which better places the sport within the wider context of society."

Professor Wray Vamplew, of the University of Stirling, wrote:

"As an academic sports historian I could not ask for better research facilities in terms of access to materials, the knowledge of the staff about their collections, and the physical research environment. ... The Scottish Football Museum has an international reputation in the sports history world ... and indeed should be ranked highly amongst sports museums generally."

Lastly, the author and historian Simon Inglis wrote:

"the game of football is inextricably linked to Scotland's sense of nationhood. It is therefore only appropriate that Scotland's football heritage is accorded the same level of guardianship that attends other aspects of Scotland's cultural heritage — its music, its literature, its arts and architecture. This guardianship extends not only to the care and presentation of the museum's collections and holdings, but also to the knowledge base ... The museum is therefore a symbol, and a badge of nationhood."

Deputy Presiding Officer, I hope that you are not upset at my allusion to your team's trophyless season. I gather that the Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson, supports Stranraer FC, so we all have our crosses to bear. Your other colleague, Alasdair Morgan, must be disappointed that his team will miss out on promotion to the Scottish Premier League this season. Were he present, I would console him thus: Liney; Hamilton; Cox; Seith; Ure; Wishart; Smith; Penman; Cousin; Gilzean; and Robertson. Those are the names of the great Dundee Football Club championship-winning team of 1962, which went on to put eight goals past the German champions Cologne in the European cup second-leg tie at Dens Park. Centre forward Alan Gilzean—an inductee of the Scottish football hall of fame, which is a permanent feature at the Scottish Football Museum—went on to more glory with Tottenham Hotspur and with Scotland. To this day, the Dundee fanzine—with apologies for my attempt at the Dundee vernacular—is called "Eh Mind O Gillie".

Such memories never leave us, nor should they. They say a lot about who we are. We do not live by bread alone, recession or no recession. The net running cost of the Scottish Football Museum is £80,000 per annum. Let us all look for a way to make admission to it free to everyone: to Scots who must not forget what we gave to the world; and to foreign guests, who know what we Scots did for world football, even if some of us have forgotten.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party 5:15 pm, 21st April 2010

I thank Charlie Gordon, a fellow Partickonian, for securing this members' business debate on the Scottish Football Museum.

Scotland has a long and colourful footballing history, and if there is one place that should mark the social and cultural impact of football with such a museum, it surely has to be Glasgow. That history ranges from the historic Queen's Park and the other iconic teams of the 19th century, whose names still resonate in their local communities, through the world's first international football match, which was played in Partick in 1872 between Scotland and England, and ended in a thrilling 0-0 draw, to Andrew Watson, the black Scotsman who captained Scotland to a historic 6-1 victory over England in 1881, and Willie Angus, the first world war Victoria Cross winner and player with Celtic, to more than a century of the Hampden roar and the generations of Scots who have made their support heard at internationals and cup games, which include two great European cup finals, one of which I can remember and the other of which Charlie Gordon tells me was a great game in 1961.

Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

I thank Bill Kidd for taking an intervention and assure him that this is not my bid to relocate the museum from Glasgow. Charlie Gordon read out testimony from all over the world, but he did not draw on the work that the museum has done in Scotland by bringing a portion of the exhibition to a wide cross-section of the community. My constituency was very grateful for that effort.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

Liam McArthur makes a good point about the museum being a Scottish football museum that does fantastic work across the country. I am glad that Orkney benefited from that.

The Scottish Football Museum has a right and proper place in our culture and highlights the importance of the national game in the everyday lives of many Scots down through the years. It is fitting that Glasgow is home to the first national football museum, as it is the city that held the first international football match, as I said, and had in Hampden what was the world's largest capacity football stadium, which held 183,724 for the cup final of 1937—which, I believe, was between Celtic and Aberdeen, not an old firm game, so there is no reason for most people to think that such numbers are present only when Rangers and Celtic play.

Also, for the Scottish Football Museum to be in the top 3 per cent of tourist attractions in Scotland, holding a five-star award from VisitScotland, puts it up there alongside Edinburgh castle and the Kelvingrove art gallery as a place that benefits Scotland and helps to ensure visitor numbers. It says a great deal about the presence of mind of those who established the museum in 1994, and I congratulate them, the Scottish Football Association Museum Trust and people such as Robert Craig and Ged O'Brien. It is important to remember that Scotland has been at the forefront of developments in football throughout the history of the modern game, from the first football club—Edinburgh—in 1824, to the invention of the passing game and the innovation of the pitch and goalpost removal service in 1967. Therefore, it is entirely fitting for Scotland to lead the way in marking the history of the game in such innovative and educational ways as those established at the Scottish Football Museum.

The 14 galleries and 2,500 exhibits provide for a fascinating visit or 10, and I think that the teachers' notes and worksheets, which bring school visits to life, will stick in the memories of young people until they are too old to play themselves and can take their grandchildren along to visit what by then will no doubt be hologram suites, in which people will be able to play keepie-uppie in the company of Jim Baxter and Jimmy Johnstone.

I am all in favour of Charlie Gordon's proposal to have free entry to the museum. I am a regular at Firhill to follow the vagaries of Partick Thistle—although I was not there when Bill Aitken played—and I am heartened by the number of young boys and girls who take advantage of free entry to go along regularly in groups or with their parents to enjoy seeing their favourites. If the Scottish Football Association Museum Trust thinks that it can encourage future generations to keep visiting into adulthood by removing entry charges, it will have my full support. I thank the trust for all its hard work and wish it all the best for continuing success in marking and promoting football.

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative 5:20 pm, 21st April 2010

I congratulate Charlie Gordon on securing this important and interesting debate. Hampden is Scotland's field of dreams, as the Scottish Football Museum illustrates with real clarity.

I did not realise until today that Charlie Gordon comes from Partick. I was born and bred in Maryhill, which accounts for my affection—certainly unrequited this season—for Partick Thistle. Charlie taught me something else. I did not realise that the Thomlinson leather works was where the old T bladders were manufactured. As Charlie said, happy was the boy who had been given a bladder for Christmas. I advise Charlie and other members that unhappy was the boy or young man who stopped a T bladder right between the eyes, particularly on a wet November day. That was one of life's more challenging experiences.

There are serious aspects to the debate. Charlie Gordon was correct to highlight the way in which football is linked with the social history of Scotland and particularly Glasgow. The museum does well to illustrate the changing times. Football attracted massive crowds, although crowds were not quite of the size that Bill Kidd suggested that they were; Hampden's maximum capacity was 138,000. We should remember that Hampden was the biggest football ground in the world at one stage, when the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro had not yet been built.

Bill Kidd was correct to refer to what is arguably the greatest football match ever played: the 1960 European cup final between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt. The result was 7-3, with the goals from Real Madrid being split slightly unevenly between Puskás and Di Stefano. I was a young boy at the time, and I was present. I assure members that it was an absolutely fabulous football match, the like of which we will never see again.

Of course, times have changed and we have seen football become wealthier. Perhaps some members—they might not all be on the Labour benches—regret that to some extent football is no longer the sport of the working man. Football was a socially cohesive sport and although it has had problems over the years—particularly in the west of Scotland—which we strongly deprecate, it bound communities together to an extent. Perhaps we have lost that.

As I recall, the goalpost removal service started in 1976, which is not quite when Bill Kidd said it started. The introduction of the service is another example of how things have changed.

The Scottish Football Museum epitomises much of what Glasgow is about. Glasgow is a fitba-daft city, as we know. The connotations of that have not always been positive, but football has given so much to so many people, as the museum exhibits demonstrate. I have been to the museum several times, because, as I said, Hampden is Scotland's field of dreams.

It is understandable that the exhibits will change and perhaps become more contemporary with the passage of time. We might revel in the history of our youth, but times move on and the heroes of the 1950s and 1960s are not quite the heroes of today. The museum has been correct in changing exhibits to bring it up to date.

The motion that we are debating is entirely worth while, and I am sure that everyone in the chamber hopes that the museum will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

Photo of Hugh O'Donnell Hugh O'Donnell Liberal Democrat 5:25 pm, 21st April 2010

I congratulate Charlie Gordon on bringing the motion to the chamber. Like other members, I have visited the Scottish Football Museum on several occasions. As Bill Aitken rightly said, it is a microcosm of Scotland's social culture, so it is good to see that its influence extends beyond its location in Glasgow. My colleague, Liam McArthur, referred to that.

The museum goes beyond simply the collections. Through its education service, it provides an opportunity to get involved for young people who may otherwise not engage in education. When I was there last year, the Scottish Government had seconded a member of staff to support the education programme that the museum was running, and the staff were at great pains to point out to me its value to young people—especially disengaged young men—who were engaging with education as they had never done before. A look at the museum's website will give an indication of the teachers' notes and the advice that are available. Given the number of young people who are disaffected by traditional models of education, it is a tool that must be incorporated into some of what we do within curriculum for excellence and our other ways of engaging young people.

I make special mention of donors who have generously provided some of the exhibits that the museum displays. I will not name them because there are too many, but there are many pieces in the museum to which the general public would not have access, were it not for the generosity of those people from throughout Scotland.

There is a strange connection between some of the famous footballers that we see in the museum and politics: Charlie Gordon referred to Bill Aitken's playing days. In a much smaller way—perhaps with a little more skill and a little more height—Bill and I might have been there other than as visitors, although that is probably just an old man's dream. One person who features regularly in the museum is Ronnie Simpson, a Queen's Park player and a member of the British Olympic football team of 1948. He went on to win FA cup medals with Newcastle United and in the twilight—some would say—of his career he was at Glasgow Celtic. Sadly, Ronnie passed away a number of years ago. His lesser claim to fame was that he was a Conservative councillor on the City of Edinburgh Council. Perhaps worryingly for us all, with the exception of Bill Kidd, Ronnie Simpson was—this is like six degrees of separation—removed from the City of Edinburgh Council by a former member of the Scottish Parliament, a certain Mr Donald Gorrie, in a by-election back in 1971, which gave Donald Gorrie his entry into politics. Without that connection, I would not be standing here today, because Donald employed me. Football has a funny way of impacting on wider social life.

I commend Charlie Gordon's call for increased access to the museum. During the debate in 2007 or during an opportunity to question the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, I suggested that he engage with the museum with a view to using some of the money that we take from criminals either to subsidise admission or support free admission, to support the education programme that the museum provides, or both.

I congratulate Charlie Gordon on securing the debate.

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party 5:30 pm, 21st April 2010

I congratulate Charlie Gordon on securing this debate and on his passionate and informed speech.

The Scottish Government's recognition scheme was created to celebrate, promote and invest in nationally significant museum and gallery collections around Scotland that are held outwith the nationally run institutions. I am pleased to acknowledge that the Scottish Football Museum achieved this richly deserved recognition status in October 2009. On behalf of the Scottish Government, Museums Galleries Scotland manages the recognition scheme, which has been designed to be flexible and can channel capital and revenue funding to important collections, such as the Scottish Football Museum. On top of the revenue funding that the museum has received, £70,000 in capital funding has been allocated to it for 2010-11, and it has received £20,000 for a project that I will talk about later.

As everyone who has spoken has acknowledged, football holds a unique place in the lives and hearts of the Scottish people, and the national recognition award acknowledges the importance of the collection at national and international levels. I have fond memories of my first Scotland game, watching Scotland against Argentina in Hampden in 1979. Sadly, we lost 3-1. However, one of the goals was scored by an 18-year-old Diego Maradona—his first international goal—so, even in defeat Scotland still managed to get international recognition.

As a child, I watched Ayr United, and I will join the team in celebrating its centenary this year. With the indulgence of the Presiding Officer, I would like to congratulate Linlithgow Rose, a team from my home town, which on Saturday gained a place in the junior cup final for the fourth time in nine years, which is a major achievement.

Scotland has been an important pioneer of the game of football at home and on the international stage. Glasgow-born architect Archibald Leitch was the premier football stadium designer of his day. By the 1920s, 16 out of 22 of England's first-division stadiums were Leitch designs. His most famous work that is still in existence is probably Ibrox. Archibald Leitch is not alone in promoting football. Another Scot, Alexander Hutton, set up the Argentine Football Association—the oldest in South America—and John Prentice introduced the game to China. It is no wonder that we have such a strong collective pride in our small nation's impact on the world stage.

All of those facts about our beautiful game are just a small part of the story of Scottish football that can be found at the Scottish Football Museum, which is the very first of its kind in the world. That is another significant achievement to add to our list of firsts.

Recently, the museum has been not just about football, but has been at the forefront of an important dementia project. A report on the reminiscence project that was published on 17 March shows that extraordinary results had been obtained from pilot schemes in care homes and at Alzheimer Scotland groups. Glasgow Caledonian University evaluated the benefits of the nine-month scheme and, although it acknowledged that the scheme was obviously not a cure for dementia, it found that it brought considerable and significant changes to sufferers. The project was initiated at the Scottish Football Museum after a casual conversation about the benefits of the game. The chairman, Robert Craig, went on to obtain funding of £20,000 from Museums Galleries Scotland to set up several projects, all of which were scrutinised rigorously in respect of their benefits.

The pilot reported that many Alzheimer's sufferers became more self-confident and obtained a sense of enjoyment and engagement as a result of the scheme. Alzheimer Scotland now aims to build on those positive results by taking over the short-term funding, and will work in partnership with others to ensure that enough support is secured to roll out the initiative across Scotland. As part of that, it has been advertising for volunteers to talk to the men about football. Judging by the speeches that we have heard, we might have some volunteers in the chamber.

Spending time showing a person photographs and programmes and encouraging them to talk about football is surely a task that many people would not find onerous, especially as it gives them the opportunity to look at items of football memorabilia. It is marvellous to think that something so simple and enjoyable is having such great benefits and is making a difference to the lives of dementia sufferers. Many sufferers are said literally to come alive again when being shown photographs and discussing events like Archie Gemmill's unforgettable goal against the Netherlands in the 1978 world cup in Argentina. It is worth noting that the great Ally MacLeod, who led us in Argentina, also succumbed to dementia.

The Government's policy on mental health is to maintain the mental wellbeing of people in Scotland. There are 70,000 dementia sufferers in Scotland, and the figure is set to increase, so anything that alleviates the stresses that are caused by the disease is to be applauded. That helps to tell a tale of the role and place of museums. That role is about heritage and preserving our memorabilia, but it is also about how we ensure that the Government and other resources that are invested in our museums are spread more widely and have benefits that go beyond the obvious.

Our museums play a vital role not just in telling the stories of the collections that they house, but in using those collections to enrich our society on many levels. Research has shown that recreational activity such as culture can significantly improve health care by aiding recovery, reducing anxiety and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. We should reflect on the role that it can play for young people, in particular.

In addition to providing health benefits, our museums make an enormous contribution to our economy and to education. They often generate community-focused projects that contribute to local pride, to a sense of empowerment and to a greater commitment to the local area. It is important to note that, during this time of recession, visitor figures for museums and other places throughout the country that people want to visit have increased. We should reflect on that point when we consider what resources should be made available in the future. People of all ages can benefit from the richness of what our museums offer. I am pleased that the current museums think-tank is articulating the enormous contribution that our museums have to make.

As the Scottish Football Museum is independent, it is rightly the preserve of the museum's trust to determine its operational policies, including admission charges. As a registered charity, the trust ensures that all profits that it makes are used to fund research and new exhibitions and to improve the museum's many services. All the speeches that have been made today have made a strong case for ensuring that the museum thrives and grows in the future.

With its evocative collections, the Scottish Football Museum offers enjoyment to visitors. I congratulate the museum on its success in the projects in which it has been involved and on obtaining recognition status. I trust that it will welcome many more visitors for years to come. It is right that the Parliament takes the time to reflect on the beautiful game of football, the wider contribution that it can make and, importantly, the strong work that the Scottish Football Museum does in the wider community and in ensuring that we as a country can celebrate an important part of what makes us Scotland: our football heritage.

Meeting closed at 17:37.