Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Square Go

The City Chambers and hideous red asphalt
To the cricketer the square is sacred.  It is to be venerated, curated, treated with love respect and reverence.      It is not to be walked upon except in the correct footwear. Its behaviour can only be interpreted by the oracle of the doughty groundsman who will define the sacrifices necessary to appease it.

Changing the square in any way is something not be done lightly - if it is to be done at all.  There are occasionally brave clubs who change the orientation of the wicket - as as happened in recent years at Old Trafford so that the previous east-west alignment is now north-south.  A consequence of this is to banish the historical names of the ends at the ground - no longer is there the Stretford End or the sight of trains leaving the Oxford Road station a sight which so delighted commentators down through the ages.  For lesser clubs there is the trauma of putting in an artificial and the challenge of where on the square it should sit.

Fantasy Bob imagined that the City Fathers in Glasgow would have been aware that the management of the square must be done with extreme skill and caution.  Not that Glasgow's George Square seems much of a cricket square to FB when he strides across it on his visits to the City.  He has failed ever to see any creases marked on the area - and in any case square is a misnomer since the site is twice as long in one direction as it is in the other.  The George Rectangle would be a more accurate name, at least geometrically.  If the place were not dominated by the grandeur of the City Chambers at one end it would be a rather sad location altogether.  Not that Glasgow's cricketers see it that way.

But ignoring what they should have known, the City Fathers dived in and invited ideas for modernising the Rectangle.  Architects made their proposals.

Cricketers and doughty groundsmen in the City were outraged - as is usually the case with proposals made by architects.  They did not want fountains here, there and everywhere and clumsily designed bits of concrete scattered willy nilly - which seemed to be the sum total of the collective imagination of the architects.  Glasgow's cricketers were quite happy with the 13 historic statues which adorn the square - even though many of them have no idea who they are.  FB regrets to inform his readers that none of them is of a cricketer.  However among them is the first ever monument to Sir Walter Scott.

Anyway the cricketers of Glasgow threatened rebellion.  Indeed they threatened a large demonstration in the square itself.  And of this there is precedent since large demonstrations in 1919 which included the raising of the red flag gave the authorities cause to think that a Bolshevik revolution was underway and they sent in troops and tanks.

The City Fathers have heard the words of the doughty groundsmen and have backed down in ignominious defeat.  They have abandoned their proposals although they do undertake to replace the hideous red asphalt that surfaces the place.  The prospect of a cricket wicket being installed is now remote although it is alleged that the Square will be the site of beach volleyball during the Youth Olympics of 2018 which Glasgow is seeking to bring to the City.

A cautionary tale for all cricket clubs contemplating changes to their square.

No comments:

Post a Comment