7 August 2012 My Olympic experience in Glasgow
As a big football fan and a fan of the Olympics I decided I would have a go at trying to get some Olympic Football tickets. The most local for me up in Carlisle was St James Park in Newcastle or Hampden Park in Glasgow. I decided to go for the Glasgow option as I have never been to this stadium before and it would give the chance to have a snoop around for its accessibility. I managed to book some tickets for Spain Vs Japan and Honduras Vs Morocco all for a bargain £20 however I was concerned when I was on the phone buying them because there was no option for ambulant spectators to buy accessible tickets. I was told on the phone that as long as I ask a steward to speak to a supervisor I should be able to move to more appropriate seats, there was options on the phone line and website for wheelchair users so it appeared that was catered for.
I decided to get the train because Hampden Park was in an area of Glasgow called Mount Florida which had its own railway station, which was deemed fully accessible on the stations made easy section on national rails website. To get there I had to change at Glasgow Central which is on the West coast main line. There was never any opportunity top get confused by platforms etc, this was because everything was signed and there was stewards leading up to the platform where the trains set off. Once we got to Mount Florida I used the lift to get out of the station. My one issue however is what if the lift wasn’t working??. Wheel chair users wouldn’t have the station as an option without the lift. This is the closest railway station to Scotland’s national football stadium which can get very busy for Scotland games or Scottish cup finals, so I am not entirely sure its fit for purpose but Scot rail had improved the station the last couple of years to include the lift so at least its an improvement.
Anyways it was about a ten minute walk for me round to the stadium which had really good access in and around it and there was ramp and lift access to the entrances. I got round to the entrance I needed to enter which was fine once I had been frisked by security and there was a further level to get up but thankfully there was ramp access. Once in the stadium I looked at my ticket which much to my horror would have involved going half way down the stairs to my seat which would have caused great difficulty on exiting the stadium for me. So as suggested I asked the steward to get the supervisor who was only to happy to help and got me seats that involved no steps at the back row. I was pleased because as promised on the phone line the stadium staff did as promised and moved my seat without any fuss.
The stadium wasn’t even half full when Morocco and Honduras started there game which turned out to be a very exciting 2 -2 draw with great goals, red cards and penalties. This match was worth the £20 alone as it was a very exciting game with two teams putting on a good show. Once this match had finished the stadium had nearly 38,000 spectators ready to watch Spain take apart Japan. But thankfully the Japanese didn’t read the script and deservedly beat the World and European champions 1 nil, missing several good chances and making Spain look second best. This was much to my delight as a lot of people came with Spain shirts and were there to see Spain win, where as I was hoping Japan ruined the party.
So after I saw these two great matches I thought id have a straight forward walk back to Mount Florida station, but I couldn’t be more wrong. The police rounded us all up into a queue for the train which was nearly two big streets long. This proved to be very painful as I was standing up waiting for nearly an hour and a half before I could get a chance to get the train. Also the way I was lead into was the step access to the station which proved to be difficult after over an hour standing still and I found using the stairs very stressful as I thought an accident might happen due to tiredness. In hindsight however I should have said something to the police and I may have got on the train earlier. By the train pulled into Glasgow Central I could see my connecting train back to Carlisle leaving just as we pulled in. So I had to wait nearly an hour and a half for the next train but thankfully there is a good pub at the station so I easily killed time and got the next train home.
To sum up it was a great day out and I got to see two good football matches for the sum of £20. But it was a let down with Mount Florida station not fit for purpose when it comes to busy crowds, I cant imagine how bad it would be if it was for example the Scottish Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic who as a set of fans hate each other. But what I came back most impressed with is how helpful the staff were and how they had kept up the promise made to me on the phone line.
Are there any other Trailblazers who have got Olympic tickets and attended any events??? Be good to know others experiences.