100 Owners: Number 93 – Bill Hiddelston (Third Lanark)

There is a curious paradox at the heart of the dynamic of a football club which always seems likely to attract a certain type of undesirable to the game. In terms of their financial position, most clubs live a hand to mouth existence, but many sit on one asset which has considerable value – their home ground. Because football in Britain developed in tandem with the industrial revolution, most football grounds used to be well-positioned. In an age before the widespread ownership of cars, they were often situated near to town centres and, in particular, railway stations, and this means that as real estate prices have increased over the years clubs that were fortunate (or, some may posit, unfortunate) enough to have their name on the deeds to their properties have frequently found themselves becoming an object desire for people that might have an interest in buying the clubs on a cheap, running them into the ground to the point of bankruptcy and then sell the ground – or, perhaps more relevantly, the land upon which it stands – and make a tidy profit. High profile examples of this in recent years have come at the likes of Brighton and Wrexham, but a little further back in the history books lays the story of an institution of Scottish football, one of the founder members of the Scottish Football League,...

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