Queen's Park to discuss ending amateur status after Hampden sale

Queen's Park will play their games at Lesser Hampden after the sale of the national stadium
Queen's Park will play their games at Lesser Hampden after the sale of the national stadium

Queen's Park are to discuss ending their historic status as an amateur club on Thursday following the sale of Hampden Park to the Scottish FA.

The governing body will take ownership of the national stadium in August 2020.

Now members and fans of the League Two club - which launched the career of Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson - have been invited to a meeting to discuss the future of "player status".

President Gerry Crawley said "nothing is off the table".

The meeting at Lesser Hampden - where the Glasgow club's fixtures will move as part of the deal with the Scottish FA - is only consultative.

But Crawley will spell out the dangers that lurk ahead if the idea of going professional is not embraced.

"It is a difficult time for the club and, if there is a real feeling that they don't want to do this, there has to be a collective responsibility for what might follow and some idea of how we remain competitive as amateurs," he said.

"We are looking to understand the mentality of the members and supporters better and take them along with us whatever we decide to do, but amateur status is creating more and more disadvantages."

Former Queen's Park striker Crawley says the club face a "triple whammy" of losing rental income from Hampden, no longer having the national stadium as a selling point to attract players, and the SPFL's pyramid system introducing better-financed rivals along with the possibility of relegation.

The club, who finished seventh in League Two last season, have "been watching with great interest" the experience of Berwick Rangers, who dropped down to the Lowland League after losing their play-off against Highland League champions Cove Rangers last term and suffered some heavy defeats in this season's League Cup group stage.

Meantime, Lowland League champions East Kilbride and former junior sides Kelty Hearts and Bonnyrigg Rose, along with Highland League clubs like Formartine United, have ambitions to replace the likes of Queen's Park in the SPFL.

In recent years, Queen's Park have developed players such as Scotland captain Robertson, Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland, and Ross County midfielder Blair Spittal.

"We are spending vast amounts in youth development and not seeing any fruits," Crawley added.

"If we are unable to offer them a professional contract when they turn 18, they are free to go to a professional club. Four of our squad that reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Youth Cup last season went to Aberdeen, Hibs, Ross County and St Mirren and we got no compensation for them."

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