In much of Glasgow, indeed across much of Scotland yesterday their was an air of hope and expectation. Rangers fans, and people who just like Scottish football (I count myself among the this latter rather then the former) were filled with the joy that Rangers had reached the UEFA Cup Final and while they were perhaps under-dogs they had a reasonable chance of winning.
My two older boys like Rangers so straight after school we headed over to Ibrox Stadium where the game would be shown for free on a giant screen. We arrived about 4pm and the gates did not open till 6pm. The crowd waiting to get in was massive. We met a friend and her son who were leaving saying that they had been told there were 60,000 in the que already and only 25 - 28,000 would get in.
While there were many in the crowd that where just happy to be there, there were too many in the crowd for my liking that had drank too much. Indeed when we walked through the car park at the east end of the stadium you were walking through a carpet of broken Buckfast and bear bottles. There seemed to be an unpreparedness on the part of the football club and the police on the size of the crowd that would gather for this event. We left deciding to watch the game on the TV at home.
As for the actual game - well at points watching paint dry would have been more exciting.
To wake up to the news that there had been trouble by the Rangers supporters in Manchester was very disappointing. There are just no excuses, and while you can appreciate the frustration that the big screen in the city center failed, to trow bottles etc. at the poor guy who tried to fix it and then to turn on the police, to turn this frustration into violence is just unacceptable. I suspect like many Scots this morning I feel ashamed and embarrassed by the behavior of these fans (not all of whom would have been Scottish, but the majority of whom would have been). At is so often the case the actions a minority overshadow the good behavior of the majority.
The joy and hope of yesterday has also evaporated with sad news of the death of Celtic's first team coach,Tommy Burns at the age of 51. Burns came up in conversation once with a Baptist Pastor from the Glasgow area. He had met Burns once for a meeting. It was Burns who suggested that they pray together and latter commented that what the people of Glasgow needed was to know Jesus.
I took this pic of the new and nearly complete (?) BBCbuilding on the banks of the river Clyde in Glasgow.
I have one question regarding this building, "is it now the ugliest building in Glasgow?"
Ok at night it will be lit up which will be a slight improvement as to how it looks during the day, i.e. a big gray box!
What also gets me about this kind of architecture is that its a globalized aesthetic. What I mean by this is that if you were to look at the architecture of this building there is nothing in either its design nor in the materials used to indicate which city you are in or indeed which country you are in.
I don't mean to be parochial, but given the lack of use of local architects for prestigious city center projects (this building was designed by David Chipperfield in London), and also the use of local materials. Gone are the days when you could be taken blindfold to a British City center and when your eyes were opened you could tell where you were because of the architecture!
Some of you have been asking how things are here in Glasgow after the recent "failed" bomb attack. I've posted the thought of Rhoda Yarmahmoudi on this HERE. Rhoda works for The Well Asian Information & Advice Center. Given that she has her finger on the pulse, so to speak, with how the Asian community in Glasgow feel, I value and respect what she has to say on these issues.
Pray for Rhoda and the work of the Well, but also pray for those who live in fear, be they people now afraid to fly, people afraid to visit Scotland, but perhaps especially those afraid that because of the colour of their skin, their faith or their national heritage they will be vilified or attacked either verbally or physically. Pray that they may know the Shalom of God.
If I've counted correctly then I've spent 17 of my 35 years living in Glasgow. It's my favorite city in Scotland;
Here's some things I love about this place;
(1) I love it's people - there's such a mix of course but Glaswegians tend to be hospitably, friendly, have good patter, have a sense of justice
(2) I love it's green place - hey it's not known as the "dear green place for nothing". I huge part of the south side of the city is take up by Pollock Park, a favorite place for us as a family to go.
(3) I love it's museums, and hey they are free. Our favorite is the Kelvingrove.
(4) I love it's proximity to the sea and to the mountains. The sea and mountains are important to me and I can't imagine living somewhere that is flat or far from the sea. On my journey to work I get to glimpse the Campsie hills and even get a brief view of Ben Lomond and the surrounding hills.
(5) I like it's size, it's a city in which you bump into people you know but have not seen for a while. It's a city in which lots of people stay all their lives and as a result there's a sense of community that is pan-city.