Spent a few days in Glasgow recently, arranged at just over two weeks notice, but had a brilliant time.
The main purpose of my visit, was to see Linfield take on Rangers in a friendly, but after checking the listings, as James were playing in Glasgow on the Saturday night, a plan came into my head to stay Wednesday to Sunday, making the most of some leave I was owed.
I’d only previously been to Glasgow twice, both making brief visits and not really getting to see much of the city.
I was there in 2002, stopping off between Kinross (I was going to T In The Park) and Belfast, and having some time to kill, I spent an afternoon there, then returning in 2008 for the Scotland v Northern Ireland match, only spending a brief time on the afternoon of the match in the city.
I’d always been meaning to spend an afternoon in Glasgow whenever I visit Edinburgh every August, but had never got round to it.
After an early morning flight, I was soon getting used to the city and wandering around. I found the City Centre to be quite easy to navigate, if you used Buchannan Street, Sauchiehall Street and Central Station as a reference point.
After an afternoon in the City Centre, it was a short underground ride to Ibrox for the match between Rangers and Linfield.
The match, wasn’t great, you could tell it was a friendly as neither side was getting too stuck in.
The quality of football, wasn’t important, as it was about seeing Linfield and visiting a new stadium.
Thursday, was a lazy day, taking the opportunity to catch up on sleep after an early morning flight on Wednesday.
After a wee browse around the City Centre, managing to stumble around new places and get totally lost, not that I was complaining, I headed to Hampden Park to visit the Football Museum there.
It was a well set up museum, with some interesting articles, focusing on many aspects of football, including off field stuff such as old Hampden press boxes, dressing rooms, as well as old shirts, memorabilia of Scottish clubs, and Scottish players/managers who have made an impact of the game further afield.
On the Friday, James were doing an intimate show in Stirling, I would have loved to have got a ticket for this and spent a day in Stirling. I was considering going on a day trip somewhere, but decided to stay in Glasgow for the day.
I spent late morning/lunchtime at Kelvingrove Museum. It’s a bit out from the City Centre (I had to get a taxi there) but it’s well worth a visit.
There was an exhibition on Scottish football history, very similar to the museum at Hampden, with a lot of exhibits on loan from Hampden.
Despite the similarity, it’s well worth a visit, as are some of the other exhibits. It’s a very family friendly place, and even had an organ recital over lunch.
I headed back into the City Centre and had some lunch in The Arches, a live music/drama/comedy workshop under the Central Station Bridge, before heading for a wee walk around the City Centre.
That evening, I headed to Mitchell Library, for a talk called ‘Where Is Scottish Football Going?’ as part of the Aye Write Festival.
The talk was interesting, and it was clear the passion was there from the contributors, there was little in the way of disagreement.
The following day, there was a talk looking at the Media industry post Leveson which I would have loved to have attended, but unfortunately, the time was inconvenient.
The reason for that, was that I was back at Hampden Park for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Falkirk and Hibs. I managed to get a ticket for 15 quid on the day, and it was an enjoyable game as a neutral, maybe not so much if you supported one of the two teams, especially Falkirk.
After a wee break in my room, it was straight to the SECC to see Echo and the Bunnymen, followed by James.
A fantastic concert featuring two bands I love.
From there, I headed back to the hotel. The three main events I attended were easily to get to, with a very good (in my experience) Public Transport network, with train stops convenient to the venues, and police managing post event crowds very well.
There was a comic moment on Saturday afternoon as a Policewoman on a horse was trying to give instructions to a crowd waiting to get into Mount Florida train station.
They weren’t listening to her as they were too busy laughing at her horse, which had just casually pissed itself.
Four days was possibly too much, but it was worth staying that long just to see James. I had a great time on my first proper visit to Glasgow, a nice city with a good event infrastructure, good selection of places to visit, shops, places to eat, etc.