The Winner

Last updated : 11 December 2002 By Ed_ScottishFitba

This site has been supportive of the Scotland bid and latterly the joint bid with Ireland for over two years. It now comes down to a single day when UEFA will decide if we have been wasting our time. The two countries involved may be divided by the Irish Sea, but the footballing and cultural connections between Scotland and the Republic of Ireland remain strong. Irish fans have always taken a close interest in the SPL and there has been a corresponding level of interest in the Irish national side in Scotland.

The plan is to use six Scottish stadiums and two in Ireland as venues when the bid get the nod. The Scottish national stadium, Hampden, may not have been chosen s the venue for the final but it is still pretty impressive. The other grounds in Glasgow, Celtic Park and Ibrox, have seen their fair share of action in Europe over the years Over the other side of the country, Edinburgh has two grounds which could be used. The national rugby stadium Murrayfield meets the capacity criteria with ease but Easter Road, home of Hibs, would need some work to host the major games. Up in the northwest Aberdeen plan to move to a new stadium which would be a magnificent setting for EURO2008 games. The Dundee rivals see the way forward as a joint venture and plan to build a new ground which can be reduced in capacity once EURO2008 is over. We know all about the problem over in Ireland about getting any ground signed up. Bertie Ahern still has high hopes of getting the GAA to allow Croke Park to be used. The other ground could either be Lansdowne Road or a new Stadium Ireland, possibly funded by private investment. This would appear to be the bid's Achilles' Heel.

Both Scottish and Irish governments continue to give unflinching commitment to the hosting EURO2008. They have adopted the Tartan Army's rallying call "We Can" but we prefer, WHY THE HELL NOT! on this site. All the host cities are well served by airports, with Ryanair willing to amend flight schedules to fit in with match kickoff time. This would mean that transport between the two countries would be little problem. The roads between the host cities inside Scotland are in good nick and the Executive is willing to speed up investment in infrastructure. In addition to this, thriving domestic leagues in both countries ensure training facilities are already in place.

Attendees at the recent Old Firm derby or a Republic of Ireland international game would confirm that fans on both side of the water like their football. As major tourist attractions in their own right, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh are well used to hosting big events, and would allow players and supporters alike to mix the serious business of football with pleasure.

Deal breaker?
With high-profile names from the world of entertainment nearly as common as great footballers in Ireland and Scotland, plenty of famous names have been quick to rally to the joint bid. Actors Sean Connery and Robert Carlyle, singer Rod Stewart and a host of famous footballers have given their support. One man who has a reputation across the football world, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, has been particularly vocal. He said: "
We are not talking about holding a good championship, but the best. I've been fortunate enough to win many trophies as a manager, but seeing Scotland and Ireland host the European Championship finals would make me just as proud as anything I've achieved in my career."

Andy Mitchell, SFA head of communications, said: "
Winning the bid would galvanise the support of football in Scotland. It would be a massive event for us to take on. We had such a great time at the (UEFA) Champions League final last May that I think for this to come to Scotland and Ireland would be a fantastic event which the whole country would get behind. We would have fantastic support from the fans, we will have the biggest capacity of stadia and we have the history and heritage to make a great tournament."

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