Soccer options live and kicking for Murrayfield
Murrayfield could stage a major soccer clash next season - if Hearts draw a plum European tie.
The home of Scottish rugby union has housed the round-ball game only once previously, a charity friendly between the Scottish parliamentarians and Sportscotland earlier this year.
There have been suggestions in the past that Hearts and the Scotland national side might be considering moving to the 67,500 capacity stadium, although both have been strongly rejected. However, the introduction of Tynecastle director Andrew Flanagan as one of three new non-executive SRU directors is bound to lead to closer integration
between the two parties. Flanagan admitted that the day when Hearts run out at Murrayfield, sited less
than a mile from their own home, may not be far away. "Football is changing, and you have to look at ways of maximising your revenue from every game," said Flanagan, who is also chief executive of Scottish Media Group. "Tynecastle has a capacity of 18,000, and even for matches against the Old Firm that is an adequate number. But if they happened to get into Europe and draw someone like Barcelona or Bayern Munich in a match that a greater number of people wanted to attend it would be worth exploring Murrayfield as a potential venue.
"As a Hearts fan, it would be great to think that 50,000 supporters might want to go to one of our games.''
Fraser Livingston, chairman of chartered surveyors NAI Gooch Webster and Royal Bank of Scotland director Bill Wilson will join Flanagan and businessman Ken Scobie on the new board. Scobie welcomed all three into their new roles, created following Lord Mackay's all-encompassing report into the Scottish game last year.
SRU chief executive Bill Watson also confirmed that a marketing director, the only post yet to be filled, has been targeted and will be unveiled within the next "six to eight weeks".
Meanwhile, Scobie refused to rule out suggestions that the back pitches at Murrayfield could be sold off for property development. When rumours of the move surfaced last year the SRU were quick to suggest that any development of the land behind the main stadium would be for the use of rugby-related activities only.
Scobie, however, backtracked from that position today, insisting he has an open mind on an eagerly anticipated report from Drivers Jonas. "There is no point in limiting them too much," he said. "We will wait for them to come back with a report and take a view on it. There are certain things one might not want to see, but I am sure they are
looking at all kinds of development - pleasure, retail, commercial and residential. But, rather than a one-off payment, I would prefer us to derive an income stream from any project which would make the apple which everyone wants to bite into that much bigger."