Several years ago I won a prize in raffle at the Playgroup Nativity Concert and that really started something! The prize was a visit for 6 people to one of Glasgow's 3 main football parks, i.e. stadiums or should that be "stadia"?
Anyhow, where was I? I got together our former neighbours and we had such a good outing to Rangers Park at Ibrox (I spoke about it here in February 2010) we decided to repeat the exercise and visit the opposition i.e. Celtic Parkon the south side of Glasgow.
Like the previous visit to Ibrox, I found it an absolute eye-opener. I am not passionate about football (my loss....) but just about everyone else is! The following is huge! Books, films, TV, newspapers, magazines are full of it: the game, the money, the colours, the history, the players and their wives/managers/coaches, the wins, the misses, the send-offs, the trophies, the tribalism, rituals and superstitions, the fans, the traffic jams, the safety and security, the atmosphere, the role models for kids etc etc etc. But what really struck me was ... the branding. This stuff is Big Business!
See the picture above. It is Celtic Park football ground. The seats are green (Celtic colours) with white lettering and the Nike brand in to top section. There you have it. You see it on the players' shirts, in the club shop and on the backing board where interviews are done.
This week we made a third visit: Hampden Park which is the National Football Park for Scotland. It has been rebuilt and upgraded over the last 20 years. It has the BT (British Telecom) brand about the place and the Milllenium logo (Lottery funding was provided).
I was impressed with the place. What was so good about it?
 The colours: a lot of thought has gone into this by the good folk whose job it was to do the decor, i.e. carefully selected colours of outside, inside, corridors, linoleum, tiles, stairwells, stadium seats. The photo above shows the blue (I wonder what the manufacturer's coding was) and red. Everything was well-finished; nothing tacky.
 Multi-purpose function: the 52,000 capacity is used for pop concerts and the like as well as football.
Again, this is Big Business in this big city. (They are getting ready for Olympic football matches starting in July.)
Finally, these figures peeping through the holes in the fence are part of the Hampden football museum. There is something for everybody. Every wee boy from 5 to 95 would revel in the nostalgia: heroes, kid's games and cards going back over 100 years, hands-on things to do, a video showing a football game in 1937 with probably 120,000 all standing on terraces .... again, all part of the Hampden Experience! Yes, they even played us a recording of the Hampden Roar (of the crowd) on our tour of the pitch.
All in all it was great fun and, while not my thing, I can see why generations of followers are "crazy about football"!