What is the ‘Hampden Roar’? Celtic striker Jimmy McGrory is the man whose goal is credited with deafening stadium noise

7 Sep

Scotland will remain at Hampden Park, the Scottish Football Association have confirmed.

It had been thought the national team would be moving to Murrayfield, but the SFA are buying the stadium from Queen’s Park.

It got talkSPORT.com thinking about Glasgow’s famous old ground – a stadium which was once the biggest in the world – and in particular the origin of the ‘Hampden Roar’.

The ‘Hampden Roar’ was born from Scotland’s noisy supporters in the late 1920s and early 1930s

Two players – both of whom scored against England – have been credited with getting thousands of enthusiastic Scots screaming ‘get it up ye’.

Aberdeen’s Alec Cheyne, whose last minute winner helped 10-man Scotland secure a 1-0 win in 1929, is often associated with bringing the noise. The story goes that Alex Jackson, who was forced off and ended the match at Victoria Infirmary, knew his side had won because he could hear the crowd all the way from his hospital bed.

The other is Celtic’s Jimmy McGrory, who scored against the Auld Enemy in 1933.

A phenomenal noise is said to have greeted the prolific striker’s superb winner.

McGrory scored an incredible 472 goals for the Hoops and his exploits were the stuff of legend, with renowned Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman twice trying to lure him to London.

A statue of legendary manager Herbert Chapman sits outside the Emirates

The striker stood to make a fortune if he moved south and the Gunners were prepared to pay through the nose to land him.

With Arsenal on their way to becoming the best team in England, the two appeared to be the perfect match.

Except McGrory had no intention of leaving, even if Celtic were prepared to cash in on their goal machine and take Arsenal’s whopping £10,000 offer.

So keen were Celtic to conclude the transfer, though, that the board and manager, Willie Maley, led McGrory to London under false pretences so the Gunners could put their proposal to him personally.

McGrory was accompanying Maley on his holiday to Lourdes, but the train was passing through the capital where, on arrival, they were met by Chapman.

“He offered me everything but the moon,” McGrory said. Although immensely flattered by the compliments Chapman threw his way, the answer was thanks but no thanks.

And so off he went to Lourdes, the place of miracles – the fact it would take one for Chapman to get his way was not lost on the striker. On the pair’s return, the determined Chapman made one final attempt as he intercepted them at the station again.

But the player still couldn’t be persuaded. “Jimmy McGrory of Arsenal would never have sounded as good as Jimmy McGrory of Celtic,” he said.

McGrory, second left, remembered by Celtic fans among other club legends

Not that McGrory was ever rewarded for his loyalty by Celtic’s top brass. He later found out he wasn’t even the top earner at the club and while many of his team-mates were on £9-a-week, the most he ever took home was £8.

No doubt the board were angry at missing out on a massive windfall and the chance to buy some new plus fours.