Football's Square Mile Alliance: Bid for UNESCO World Heritage Status to recognise Glasgow as home of football

A new group has been launched in a bid to promote Scotland as the home of football, with a number of organisations coming together to gain global recognition for an area of Glasgow.

Football's Square Mile Alliance has been formed to push for a number of historic points in Glasgow to be recognised as being crucial to the formation of the modern game.

Football's Square Mile is touted by campaigners as the cradle of modern football, where some early players, known as the ‘Scotch Professors’, founded the modern passing and running game of football.

These Scots traversed the planet and showed the locals how to play the game, which is now played or watched by 3.5 billion people around the world.

The area in question has been dubbed 'the world’s most important football heritage site'.

Football's Square Mile Alliance consists of a growing group of organisations supporting the UNESCO World Heritage Status campaign, including The Hampden Collection, the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, West of Scotland Cricket Club, Queen’s Park Football Club, Archaeology Scotland, Society for American Soccer History, Hampden Bowling Club, Glasgow Football Tour, and Friends of Cathcart Cemetery.

Football’s Square Mile contains the birthplaces of Queen's Park, Celtic and Third Lanark, the site of Rangers' first game, and the final resting place of several Scotch Professors.

These footballing pioneers shaped the game we know today, which campaigners believe makes Glasgow the world capital of football, which at one point had the three biggest football stadiums on the planet.

This Alliance launches on the 140th anniversary of one of the Scotch Professors' most significant victories.

On 11th March 1882, Scotland recorded a 5-1 victory over England in front of 15,000 spectators at the 1st Hampden Park.

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This game is immortalised in a 100ft mural on the back of the 1st Hampden Pavilion at Hampden Bowling Club.

The mural features Charles Campbell, Queen’s Park captain and future SFA president, and Andrew Watson, the first black international player and captain.

The Hampden Collection, itself a group dedicated to the preservation of Scottish footballing heritage, has set a 10-year goal to reach UNESCO World Heritage Status and aims to complete the mission by the 150th anniversary of this historic match.

Graeme Brown, Founder of the Hampden Collection said: "Next year we celebrate the 150th birthday of the Scottish Football Association, the first unified national football association on the planet, and the 150th anniversary of the opening of the 1st Hampden Park. The 1st Hampden Park set the template for every football ground ever built.

“There are more anniversaries in the following years, including the 150th year of the Scottish Cup and the 150th anniversaries of incredible victories over our closest neighbours.

"Our mission is to celebrate these in style and ensure everyone learns about our mission to make Football's Square Mile a UNESCO World Heritage Site."

The Scotch Professor is a worldwide phenomenon; as Tom McCabe, President of Society of American Soccer History, said: "Scotch Professors brought the modern game to North America in the 1870s.

"Scottish influencers made their mark in American soccer as players, referees, and organisers of clubs and leagues.

“We heartily support the mission to make Football's Square Mile a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the true home of world football.

“American soccer, nae global soccer, would have been a poor show had it not been for the Scotch Professor."