Monday, 9 May 2016

Glasgow Spectator Sports - Summary

Glasgow Sports - What are the options?

I spend many Saturday afternoons watching Partick Thistle play football at Firhill Stadium in Glasgow. There are other options in Glasgow though if you fancy taking in a bit of sporting action and when my team had a few weekends out of action I went around several of the other Glasgow sporting entertainments, to see what they offered. I have written blogs about these over the past month and below is a summary of what I found. As I usually dragged my children along with me I was also aware of how different sports try to appeal to future fans. 

All opinions and prejudices expressed here regarding different sports are entirely my own. I am of course fully aware that other sports struggle for attention with the Scottish media's Rangers and Celtic obsession in the sporting pages, and I am happy to flag up anything else you feel merits a light being shone upon it dear reader. 

For more detail please see my original posts 

Ice Hockey

  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £60
  • Season runs - September to April
  • Catering - Licensed bar and popular offerings of American themed stovies. 
  • Performance this season - finishing 3rd in the 2015-16 league they qualified for the play-offs, where Fife Flyers eliminated them at the quarter-finals stage
  • Atmosphere - from the fans downloading pre-match entertainment apps, to Angus the Highland cow mascot there is plenty of effort made to warm up the crowd. The commentary and musical stings keep the atmosphere going and interval entertainments come fast and thick. The crowd also get right behind their team and a full house is a frequent occurrence
  • Marks out of ten - 8/10. Definitely will continue to dip my toes into the frozen waters of Braehead Clan ice hockey

Greyhound Racing

  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £12 (plus betting)
  • Season runs - all year, Friday and Saturday nights
  • Catering - several bars around the stadium. Decent restaurant for a small group wanting a night out (I came here for my 40th birthday), plus my children agree the snack bar here makes some of Glasgow's best chips
  • Performance this season - it's just a venue, not a league
  • Atmosphere - the rickety old feel of the place is the atmosphere.
  • Marks out of ten - 7.5/10, purely for the nostalgic vibe you get at the greyhound track I will continue to keep coming, but I am not sure how long they can keep it going, as the crowds seem to shrink year on year.


  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £42
  • Season runs - April to October
  • Catering - Licensed bar before and during the speedway, diner at the stadium now open 7 days per week and snacks and sweets available during the racing
  • Performance this season - second in the 2015 season to local rivals Edinburgh Monarchs, they have started this season well having already defeated their neighbours once already this year. Various cup and knock-out tournaments also across the year.
  • Atmosphere - with kids running races and Roary the Tiger mascot families are well catered for. Like greyhound racing the quick turnaround from one race to the next mean that there is always something to watch. And I haven't mention the whiff of burning fuel yet...
  • Marks out of ten - 8.5/10, this trip was my first visit to Saracen Park to watch the speedway and I will definitely return again with my petrolhead son


  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £30
  • Season runs - September to April
  • Catering - City council run snack bar, if you want a drink they can pour a bottle of Bud into a plastic tumbler for you
  • Performance this season - finishing 5th at the end of the league season for 2015-16 they made it into the end of season play-offs where they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Worcester Wolves.
  • Atmosphere - With smaller crowds than some of these other sports the atmosphere can be a bit flat, despite the score ticking over constantly. In some ways the constant scoring drains a lot of the drama from basketball. There were plenty of kids activities on the court, from youth teams playing in the breaks to birthday outings trying to score hoops, but the cajoling over the tannoy felt a bit forced. Cheerleaders? It feels a bit dated, no?
  • Marks out of ten - 5/10. I'd be more likely to give it a go if Dalmarnock train station stayed open later on Sunday evenings to get me home more easily


  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £80
  • Season runs - September to May
  • Catering - good choice of burger / chicken/ grill vans around the ground, plenty of licensed bars and little queuing
  • Performance this season - Champions of the Pro12 league in 2014-15, at the time of writing this, they are in the end of season play-offs after finishing the league in 3rd position in 2015-16
  • Atmosphere - Again they've gone for the old Highland cow mascot, but no great efforts made to cajole the crowd, who seemed happy to chat among themselves for most of the match. Kids teams were playing all over the place on the day I was there. The "respect the kicker" and the lack of cursing at the referee seem to take some of the fun out of being a spectator.
  • Marks out of ten - 4/10. All feels a bit safe and nice. Not my cup of tea really.

Football - Partick Thistle 

  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £44
  • Season runs - July to May
  • Catering - football catering would be familiar to someone arriving at the stadium from the 1920s I imagine. Pies and Bovril the go to snack, and uniquely amongst all the sporting options here "no bevvying" allowed
  • Performance this season - a battling performance after a slow start in 2015-16 season to ensure another year of top flight action next season. They continue to perform above expectations (and their budget), not that you would know by reading any sports pages.
  • Atmosphere - Kids get in for free and can meet players after the matches, various imaginative give-aways and offers this year, but the atmosphere at football, more than any of the other sports here is really dependent on the team's performance and opponent. A poor show can mean that the referee, the manager or last week's hero can be in for dog's abuse next week.
  • Marks out of ten - 10/10. It is history, tradition and the eternl possibility of a surprise upset or successful cup run that keeps me coming back. Definitely hope over experience, but there's always hope.

Football  - Glasgow City

  • Cost (2 adults, 2 children) - £10
  • Season runs - March to October
  • Catering - the bar in the stadium is the usual gathering place before home matches, with light snacks available
  • Performance this season - runaway champions in Scottish league and cup competitions for many years, really needing to be challenged more if Scottish women's football is to progress
  • Atmosphere - most league games can be sparsely attended, but usually a very relaxed and jolly affairs, with lots of families and children about
  • Marks out of ten - 9/10. The longer that Glasgow City can stop the old firm grasping control of the women's game the better and I'll keep cheering them on.

1901 Queens Park vs Third Lanark exhibition match


  1. Replies
    1. Another time maybe, but wasn't really an option for entertaining my children in the past few weeks.


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