They lived near Edinburgh in the sordid Leith ghetto called Soweto and for over 30 years had bred to such an extent that their ringworm-infested 'bairns' had over-run all the schools in Leith. Norton Park School had a roll-call of over 20,000 bare-bum street urchins and basic lessons were provided in makeshift corrugated steel huts on Leith Links by the Little Sisters of the Poor. This was later to become Leith Academy - unfortunately there are no famous former pupils of theers apart from John Leslie the serial school who have achieved anything in life of interest to read and former Blue Peter presenter.
However they were not welcome up town with their bairns, jam-pieces and nae shoes ... nor in the lush East Meadow lands to watch the local football giants Hearts FC and after receiving regular 'doings' by the predominantly protestant Hearts supporters the local Leith Parish self-appointed high heid yin - Father Ignacious O'Flaherty - decided it was time to start a Gaelic Football team called Hibernians to keep the menfolk off the pocheen and to give them some pride in their community. He also started aerobics classes for the fallen catholic women of the night and regularly took the classes himself in his Y-backs at Leith Town Hall on Tuesday mornings.
Hundreds of football hopefuls turned up for Father O'Flaherty's trials in Pilrig Park and it seemed like the entire priesthood had come along to cheer on the boys too. After a few weeks local Tesco nightshift chargehand Eddie Burntool was appointed manager and finally 30 young players were selected by the onlooking priesthood judges for grooming into becoming their players. The first board of directors could be heard chanting "cum on you hibs" at home matches and the players were given green knitted sleeveless pullovers which would see them through the next 15 years until the team was disbanded.
First Derby Match
The first Edinburgh Derby was arranged soon after and the Hearts team jogged on to the pitch in the Meadows that sunny Saturday afternoon to the delight of their 10,000 supporters clad in their traditional maroon, white & blue - waving Union Flags - who sang along to "God Save The King" and another favourite at the time "Hello, Hello" written specially for the Hearts by Sir Walter Scott, the bus convener for the Borders Jambos Supporters Club who also penned their name - The Heart of Midlothian. Their captain King Willie Bauld and his team including Drew Busby, Willie Gibson and John Colquhoun entertained the crowd with their breathtaking keepie-uppie skills as wee Johnnie Hamilton warmed up by breaking the Scottish all-comers 100 yards sprint record down the touchline. Johnnie was later to win the famous Powderhall Sprint for the next 21 years wearing a balaclava and under assumed names such as Pilmar Smith, Bert Logan and George McNeill.
The Hibernians changing tent remained closed with sounds of argy-bargy general man loving inside. Mr Burntool had failed to explain to his team of (not too bright) 'Trainspotting, Aids-ridden b***ards' Irish tykes that they had to leave their hurling sticks behind and that they could only KICK the ball in the Scottish game. Finally they agreed to the take-on and emerged from their tent in their sleeveless green pullovers to cheers from almost 250 of their friends(junkies) & family(junkies) who had made the horse & cart trip up from Leith.
The game kicked off five minutes late and the famous Jam Tarts were 8-0 up at half-time, finally roasting the Leith team 23-0. The Hearts were to go on to an undefeated 222 in a row against their local rivals.
Hibernians Struggle On
Over the next few years Hibernian got shitter and shitter struggled to win anything on until signing an English centre forward called Joe Wanker. Their fortunes changed for the better when the prolific goalscorer was joined by Tommy Younger in goals, Micky Weir - a deaf & dumb local boy who worked in the Leith rental business and Willie Ormond, a wily wee winger from the Pans. Their support had increased ten-fold to nearly 2,500 when it all came crashing down.
Hibernians Go Out Of Business
After the final match of the season the Hibernians treasurer, Father O'Petrie was locked in his candlelit howf counting the days takings. It had been the Hibernians biggest game of the season and once he had counted all the lemonade bottles and jam jars - which they accepted for entrance money - he sent a wee lad called Tommy down to the Dukes Heid with four barrows loaded with glass bottles.
Wee Tommy ran back to the howf with the money (less some he snaffled for a fish supper) just as Father O'Petrie was locking up. Tommy emptied the money he got for the bottles into Father O'Petrie's big brown bag and he disappeared into the dim gas-lit Great Junction Street and was never seen again. Apparently, it later emerged that Father O'Petrie had absconded to Canada with all the money, wages and postage stamps.
The Hibernians were re-formed a few years later as Hib of Midlothian and under the guidance of dream-team management duo Chic Murray & Frankie Vaughan, they somehow won the Scottish Cup in 1902 amid turmoil when it emerged that 'favours' and 'backhanders' had ensured a Hibs win. Frankie Vaughan later wrote a No 1 hit about that clandestine episode - "There's An Old Piano And It's Playing Hot Behind The Green Door" where he kicked his own height during live performances on TOTP.
The dodgy 'success' was to be short-lived and for the next century Hib of Midlothian FC could only dream of that heady day in 1902 and the last time they lifted the Scottish Cup. On their return from Hampden they boarded a horse & cart at the Maybury to parade the Cup along Princes Street, but the driver was a Jambo and he sped along at 60mph, finally swinging doon Leith Street at the Wellington statue and the whole team (with Cup) fell aff the cairt and had to walk back to Fester Road in the rain.
They discovered later that one of the onlookers was a sneaky wee pickpocket - and the wee ginger cleptomaniac hibs fan called Gordon from Ainslie Park had dipped the players pockets and made off with their medals and wallets. He was later discovered in Aberdeen.
Nothing was heard of Hib of Midlothian for the next 70-odd years until they won a league cup. They had employed a well-known hypnotist and raving Edinburgh poofter Robert Halpern to assist their manager to sign players like Jimmy O'Pork, Alec Crapley, Alan Sneddon, Jack Mehoff, Arthur Duncan, Tony Biggins and Dodgy Tash McArthur - the goalie with the big gloves. It worked but when Halpern suddenly snuffed it the players were left in a footballing timewarp whenever somebody snapped their finger. Realising this, Dixie Deans snapped away during a Cup Final and the Hibs were humiliated at Hampden by Celtic - going down by a record score - the first of many Hampden Humiliations they were to experience over the next 30 years.
In an everlasting episode of football mediocrity for Hibs since those long forgotten days in the early 1970s when the famous Bay City Rollers were regulars at Hibs games, the only other highlight for hibees was a couple of non-entities (believed to be Tommy Burns's love-child twins) who reached no 95 in the hit parade with a couple of songs "Some Shite On Leith" and "I'm On My Way From Happiness To Misery" written and recorded by the two hibees fannies, one half-deaf and one half-blind.
Other famous hibees (the name for their supporters) are former TV presenter John Lesbian and his wee brother and ex-Kays catalogue model Grant Stoat, best remembered as that hairy, peely-wally, smarmy amateur presenter on the worst ever football programme of all time - Sportscot.
And that wee boy Tommy who had taken the empties down to the Dukes Heid all those years before in his barrie became a millionaire selling car tyres.
|Celtic · Rangers · Heart of Midlothian · Aberdeen FC · Inverness · Livingston · Bathgate · Norway · Falkirk FC · Hibs · AC Milan · Scotland · Yer Da · Dunfermline · Ayr United · Texas Rangers · Manchester United|