As you may know, We Are Free Agents were quite fortunate on Friday to gain two press passes for Glasgow Warrior’s match against Aironi at Firhill. Craig Lindsay provided a cracking match report of the events for us, and I accompanied him to enjoy a night at the rugby whilst doing Twitter updates for the We Are Free Agents account.
Getting entry to the media section was fairly straight forward, a polite email to the press agent for Glasgow Warriors sufficed. Convincing the steward that Craig and I were journalists was not; she was like a nightclub bouncer, and we were like drunken youths (it was a Friday night, I suppose). The steward was sceptical, but after a few mumbled words of “Mark said it was fine”, she let us in. It shouldn’t have been that difficult, but it was. Our age worked against us – I had deliberately not shaved in the three days leading up to the match to avoid such a scenario – but we were in.
Convincing the steward we were journalists was one thing, but convincing ourselves we were journalists once we entered the press box was another. Not only were we essentially fans who like writing and managed to get free tickets, and the obvious age gap between us and most of the journalists, but they all had MacBooks. We had notepads. The best comparison I can think of is that of McLovin in Superbad when he tries to purchase alcohol.
Not only were we essentially fans who like writing and managed to get free tickets, and the obvious age gap between us and most of the journalists, but they all had MacBooks
The rugby itself was very interesting. Being introduced to football at a young age via trips to various football grounds with my father, I subsequently compare all my sporting experiences to that I would experience at Celtic Park or watching Partick Thistle.
For a Friday night match against an Italian team who are the worst team in the league, and with the internationalists absent because of their Six Nations efforts, one would expect a poor crowd. To my surprise, this was not the case; over 4000 attended the match, with the Italians taking more fans to Firhill than some of Partick’s opponents. It is also roughly double what Partick take in on a Saturday afternoon. With tickets only £5 for students, and arguably a better product to sell than the team they ground share with, Glasgow Warriors have done well to establish a strong fan base. Only time will tell whether this survives the move to Scotstoun next season.
What was also interesting about the crowd on Friday night was the etiquette amongst the Glasgow supporters. This may not be an original observation, but it is still a fascinating one to see first-hand. Aironi were greeted on to the pitch with warm applause from the Glasgow crowd, and when their fly-half was kicking for points there was deadly silence. Can you imagine that happening if the opposition gain a penalty at Ibrox or Celtic Park? I can’t.
As I have said, I have the tendency to compare all sports with football, and Glasgow is a city which is divided by two football clubs. So to hear the chants of “Glasgow!” in a stadium was as unique as it was enjoyable. Some chants, such as “just use chalk” when the PA announced that the scoreboard was broken, and the boy who wouldn’t stop shouting “Timmy!” from South Park were not rugby specific, but funny nonetheless.
Overall it was a very enjoyable evening at Firhill, especially being in the press box. Craig and I got the opportunity to interview some of the players and it was an excellent experience for us.
There were free pies at half time as well. That was good.