You’ll remember the days of the season ticket waiting list. Then came the imaginary waiting list, which existed a while after seats were openly available. Now anyone can browse onto the Celtic web site and view exactly how many seats are available, and where, inside Celtic Park. It tells a fascinating story.
There’s the odd solitary seat and a few hundred with restricted views but that aside only the previously-closed part of the Lisbon Lions upper is not subscribed – and a significant number of tickets there will not include games against Newco, who are likely to ask for their entire entitlement according to league rules.
We’ve not seen anything like this since 1995 when Celtic Park reopened. Season 1994-95, at 34,000 capacity Hampden, was far from inspiring. We didn’t even sell-out a late-season game against Oldco, but Fergus had mortgaged our future on a partly-built 40,000 seater stadium, with projects underway to finish the job.
I looked at the empty seats at Hampden that day in 1995 and wondered if Fergus had blown his money. It didn’t look possible that we’d come anywhere close to filling a much larger stadium. As last season came to an end today’s ticket bonanza looked equally unlikely (although I did expect a pick-up).
Sometimes it doesn’t pay to examine sentiment too closely, just be grateful when you have it and know that it can change quickly when it’s against you.
Noting the increase in match day traffic around Celtic Park, you have to wonder how many millions of man hours will be wasted sitting in immobile cars and buses because Police Scotland no longer man traffic lights to allow spectators to leave the area quickly after events.
That’s another cost of our Offensive Behaviour’ Bill. Ponder that when you’ve moved 1 mile in an hour next season. Event-related gridlocks are another manifestation of ineffective governance. For decades police had budget to control traffic junctions at major events, not any more, in Scotland, anyway.