SCOTS from around the world are being urged to come together on St Andrew’s Day to support a bid to ensure the true home of football is recognised.

This year Football’s Square Mile, the World’s Biggest Open-Air Football Museum, was launched following the discovery of the foundations of the world’s first enclosed purposefully built international football ground - The 1st Hampden Park.

Now those behind the move, The Hampden Collection, are taking things one step further and have today launched a bid for Unesco World Heritage Site status for Scotland’s unique football history.

Read more: First Hampden Park campaigners in bid for World Heritage Site status

As reported in The Herald, the 1st Hampden was ‘lost’ for more than 100 years until extensive research revealed the only known map of its location in the National Records of Scotland in 2017.

The Hampden Collection was founded to promote this discovery and campaign for recognition of the three Hampden Parks, and all who played on them.

Earlier this year Archaeology Scotland found the foundation stones of the original Hampden pavilion, beer bottles, clay pipes and teacups from the period, and wire fencing, which encompassed the original pitch.

HeraldScotland: Hampden walking tours have proved popularHampden walking tours have proved popular

Graeme Brown, of The Hampden Collection, said: “1st Hampden is the ‘centre spot’ of what we have termed ‘Football’s Square Mile’, which is the world’s most important football heritage site.

This Square Mile encompasses the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Hampden, birthplaces of the Glasgow Football Club Titans: Queen’s Park, 3rd Lanark, Rangers and Celtic. Furthermore, this includes Cathcart Cemetery, which is the ‘Scotch Professor’ Burial Ground, and the final resting place of Hugh McColl, RS McColl, George Pattullo, Willie Maley and William Wilton, naming but a few. These were the grand architects of the ‘Scotch Game’, which transcended international boundaries, and taught the World how to play football.”

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Football’s Square Mile is the home of the Scotch Professors, as they colloquially became known, who created the passing, running and inclusive game of football. Queen’s Park, widely considered to be the grand architects of modern football, built the world’s first purposefully built, enclosed international football ground at 1st Hampden, created many of the rules and inventions used today, and created the template for how fans watch the game, including the fabled season ticket.

Mr Brown added: “Our mission is to take back Scotland’s footballing heritage from those who have either rewritten it, or done little with it. Football is the ‘Peoples’ Beautiful Game’, crafted and created in Scotland for the world to enjoy and now watched by 3.5bn people."

The launch of the campaign coincides with the 149th anniversary of the world’s first international football match, held at West of Scotland Cricket Ground in Partick, Glasgow, on St Andrew’s Day, 1872. Queen’s Park Football Club fielded the entire Scottish team against England, gifted the National Team their strip, organised the whole event and gave the world international football.

HeraldScotland: Could first Hampden become part of Scottish football heritage siteCould first Hampden become part of Scottish football heritage site

Although playing at Queen’s Park Recreation Ground at the time, Queen’s Park chose West of Scotland Cricket Ground as their venue, with 4,000 people paying a shilling to enter the ground. Following the success of this event, Queen’s Park realised they had to build their own ground, and in 1873, they opened 1st Hampden Park. In the following years, after this seismic event, football exploded across Scotland and began to take the world by storm, with the Scotch Professors leading the way.

Leeann Dempster, Chief Executive of Queen’s Park Football Club, said: “The history of Queen’s Park is synonymous with Scottish Football, and we are delighted the heritage of the three Hampden Parks is being recognised, which forms a large part of the square mile footprint.

This campaign will give the birthplace of modern football the biggest accolade of all, and I encourage everyone to learn the story of the Scotch Professors, and how they invented and exported the modern game.”

With 12 months to go before the 150th anniversary of the first international which will coincide with the first winter World Cup, Mr Brown believes they have they right credentials for Unesco status.

He added: “There are ten selection criteria for UNESCO World Heritage Status, including ‘to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius’ and ‘to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or which has disappeared’. We can argue Football’s Square Mile has five of the 10 criteria set out by Unesco, and we only need one. There are twelve months to garner grass root support for this project and turn it into a viable reality.”

Jacqui Fernie, Co-Chair of the Friends of Cathcart Cemetery is supporting the Unesco campaign saying: “Gaining UNESCO World Heritage status would be immense for the area. This application recognises the lives and history of the people who played such a pivotal role in the development and growth of the game, and the unique place the Cathcart Cemetery has in celebrating their lives.”