Since 1873, Queen’s Park have played at a ground named Hampden Park, however they didn’t settle on the site of the current Hampden until 1903.
Perhaps the greatest irony in the history of Scottish football is that the National Stadium was named after an Englishman.
John Hampden was born in 1594. He served as a Westminster politician and in 1643 was killed whilst fighting for the parliamentary side during the English Civil War. The street overlooking the first piece of ground on which Queen’s Park played football was named Hampden Terrace in honour of the famous Englishman. This area of land encompasses all three Hampden Parks including the present site.
The first Hampden Park sat in the shadow of Hampden Terrace and was the site of two of Scotland’s greatest ever Auld Enemy triumphs, 7-2 and 5-1 wins in 1878 and 1882 respectively.In 1883, Queen’s were forced to vacate their home when the Glasgow City Corporation wanted to drive the new Cathcart railway line through the site of first Hampden.With the success of the first international in 1872 Queen’s Park began to look for a site to build their own football ground. They managed to secure an area of land across from the Recreation Ground under the shadow of Hampden Terrace.
On 25th October 1873 ‘Hampden Park’ hosted Queen’s Park’s first competitive home game when the club entertained Dumbreck in the first round of the new Scottish Cup competition. The first Hampden hosted many important games; most notably the first Scottish Cup Final of 1874 and Scotland’s international match with England in 1878 which they won 7-2.
Queen’s were forced to vacate their home when the Glasgow City Corporation wanted to drive the new Cathcart railway line through the site of first Hampden.
After a year in exile ground sharing with another club on the South side, Queen’s moved to the second Hampden Park (now Cathkin Park), only a short distance from the first Hampden Park, and played there between 1884 and 1903.
Second Hampden was active as an international venue from 1885, beginning with an 8-2 victory over Ireland, until 1890 when the final game, a 1-1 draw with England, was played. It also hosted many important club games including Renton FC’s ‘Championship of the World’ victory over West Bromwich Albion in 1888, and the first Scottish Cup Final involving Celtic and Rangers in 1894.
Towards the end of the century it was decided that the second Hampden was too small for hosting major games, consequently it was agreed that a new home would be sought.
After many years of planning, the third Hampden was completed in October of 1903 on land purchased in Mount Florida. Built after the Ibrox disaster of 1902 special measures were taken to ensure the safety of large crowds within the stadium.At the time of opening, Hampden was the biggest and most technically advanced stadium in the world and it would be 47 years before the famous Maracana in Brazil surpassed it for size.The first match at the new stadium took place between Queen’s Park and Celtic on 31st October 1903, ending in a 1-0 victory for the home side.
The stadium has been responsible for hosting many memorable matches, including what many agree to be the greatest ever European Cup Final, contested by Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960.Real won the game 7-3 with contributions from such football legends as Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas, scoring three and four goals respectively.Hampden currently holds all major European records for attendance, including a 149,415 turnout for Scotland v England in 1937’s British Home Championship.
It was a world record at the time, though the crowds at the Maracana during the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil eventually overtook it.
In all, Hampden has staged three European Cup Finals (twice as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup and once as the Champions League), two Cup Winners’ Cup Finals and most recently the 2007 UEFA Cup Final between Sevilla and Espanyol.
Over the years Hampden received many upgrades. To this day Hampden Park remains a first class sporting venue and is currently one of the few stadiums in Europe to be classed as ‘Elite’, having previously been given the prestigious five star rating by UEFA.
149,415. Scotland v England, 1937 - All-time record gate for a European international match.
147,365. Scottish Cup Final, 1937 - Celtic v Aberdeen - All-time world record gate for national cup final.
136,505. Celtic v Leeds Utd, 1970 - All-time record for a UEFA competition game.
136,259. Scotland v England, 1933 - World record gate for any game at the time.
129,810. Scotland v England, 1931 - World record gate for any game at the time.
127,621. European Cup final, 1960 - Real Madrid v Eintracht Frankfurt - All-time record gate for a European Cup final.
127,307. Scotland v England, 1912 - World record gate for any game at the time.
121,452. Scotland v England, 1908 - World record gate for any game at the time.