As The Willow Vanishes – Cricket Tour


The Glasgow Football Tour and The Hampden Collection have teamed up once again to bring a once-in-a-lifetime footballing history experience, as part of our #FITBA150 programme events, celebrating 150 years of Scottish football.

In 2014, Richard S. Young wrote the cart-upending, spellbinding and myth-busting, ‘As The Willow Vanishes’, explaining how Football and Cricket intertwined at the dawn of the association game and led to the creation of the world’s biggest sport. We are bringing Richard’s book to the streets of Glasgow for you to personally hear his groundbreaking work, whilst strolling around the world’s biggest open-air football museum, or as we call it, ‘Football’s Square Mile’.

Now we ask you to pick your jaw off the floor, please. Yes, not only did Scotland create the modern passing and running game of football, the stadium template for every football ground ever built, and taught the world how to play it via the trailblazing Scotch Professors, but did you know how cricket is fundamental to this explosion of a sport now played or watched by 3.5 billion people around the world today?

Here are some questions to get you started –


  • Why was the first international football match held at a cricket ground in Glasgow on St Andrew’s Day?
  • Why were 7 of the 8 clubs who founded the Scottish Football Association principally cricket clubs?
  • How many cricket clubs were in the Greater Glasgow area between 1850 and 1914?


The answers to these three questions will have you clamouring for more and will change your perceptions about the ignition switch which lit up the footballing world and changed it forever.

Our walking tour begins on Carlton Place at the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge, and we take you on a three-hour journey of discovery through 600 years of football and cricket history. We explore the rich sporting history of Glasgow’s Southside through the eyes of the greats like Alexander Watson Hutton, Wattie Arnott, Hugh McColl, and Archibald Campbell before finishing our walking tour at Clydesdale Cricket Club in Pollokshields. Here in 1884, Aston Villa came to Titwood to play a FA Cup match against Queen’s Park at what we term ’The Forgotten Hampden’. Confused? Well there is only one way to find out the answer to what happened next.

Whether a football fan, a cricket fan, or both, or just a lover of social history, you will not want to miss out on this story of the origins of both sports, and how they collided in the 19th century to create the modern game.

Click HERE to book a slot