In 1949 Hampden Park was the largest football stadium in the world. At its peak Scotland's national stadium had an official capacity of 184,500. The record attendance of 149,547 was set at the Scotland v England international in 1937 with thousands more entering illegally or being locked out! This massive attendance was a world record until 1950 when Brazil's Maracana stadium was built. The enthusiastic shouts from the spectators, the vast open terraces shaped like a bowl and the swirling winds combined to create a unique atmosphere known simply as the “Hampden Roar”.
In 1961 the construction of floodlights greatly altered the landscape of Glasgow's Mount Florida area. Four towering pylons were visible by day indicating the location of the stadium and by night the powerful illumination of the lights could be seen for miles around. By the 1970s Hampden Park was visibly in decline as the cost of maintaining the colossal arena became too great. Plans to rebuild the stadium were put forward and a general refurbishment was finally accepted in 1981 which reduced the capacity of the ground.
The task of rebuilding the stadium began in 1990. By 1994 the open terracing had been replaced by covered seats. The final phase of the project was the replacement of the old south stand. The project ran over budget, but in May 1999 the new 52,000 all-seated stadium finally opened for the Scottish Cup Final. As a five-star UEFA-rated stadium Hampden Park once more offers some of the best facilities within European football.
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