of time from August 11th - September 1st 2000 will live long in the
memories of my family for a long time to come. My first homecoming since
I emigrated to the US in 1986 was anticipated for more than the usual
reasons. I would have the ability to share my family with the 'family',
The record of my visit,
4 league games played, 10 goals for and 1 against told something of the
story, however, not all of it. I started the introductions with a visit
to Easter Road for a game against Dundee, or the "Dundee Azul"
as I was later to hear !
This visit was a
special one though, a reunion with my boyhood hero....Pat Stanton. My
idolizing started back in 1967 when I first slotted a ball between the
clothes poles in my back green and the words "and Stanton puts
Hibernian 1 nil up" came out of my mouth. Pat and I spoke to each
other for the first time for my 35th birthday when my wife wrote to him
and asked him to call me and wish me a happy birthday which he duly did.
A few cards were exchanged and the surreal feeling of communicating with
a boyhood hero began.
Arrangements were made
to meet in person before the game against Dundee outside of ER and a
tour of the stadium with my family, my best mate Mike Burns and Colin
Scott, who coincidentally had flown in to town from Wisconsin with his
son James. The stage was set !
Pat showed up right on
time outside the Hibs shop and I swear my 50" chest swelled to
about 60" at the mere sight of him. We hugged, shook hands and had
our pictures taken. Off then to the back side of the stadium.
First stop was down
into the dressing room where the kits were all laid out for the game
then off to the weight room to see all those advanced dumbbells that are
Upstairs we went to the
Boardroom and a very special moment as I caught sight of the trophy case
for the very first time.
There is a movie called
'Dead Poets Society' and a scene from that movie where Robin Williams
stands in front of a trophy case with a class of boys, he asks them to
listen to the ghosts of the boys displayed in photo's from school teams
from the past and listen to them.... looking into that trophy case, I
saw past players and fans of our club look back at me and implore me to
carry on and pass along the tradition that we call Hibernian. A very
special moment that I thank Pat
and everyone else connected at the club for allowing me to experience. I
noticed that there was no portrait of Pat Stanton in the Boardroom,
although portraits of Joe Baker and Gordon Smith hung with prominence
above the mantel. There is room for one more portrait, I think we could
do the right thing as an organization by honouring Mr. Hibernian with a
portrait and allowing him the proper recognition to stand, in oil,
alongside two of his peers.
My favorite moment, it
has to be said, is when I was allowed the experience of walking out of
the players tunnel with Pat. Just before I walked out, I paused. I could
imagine the singing resounding in the ears of the players before a big
game, the click clacking of studs on the ground, darkness, anticipation
and finally striding out into the light at the end.......magic !
After Pat and I said
our 'see you later's' which we did, we headed off to the Persevere for a
rendezvous with some of the Hibs-listers. That's another story.
(To join the Hibs List,
The day ended with a
magical evening in the Cabbage and Ribs with Pat and about twenty 'listees',
singing our lungs out 'til closing.
My family now
understands me a little better, thank you Hibernian for bringing us a
Thanks for the support
I've always enjoyed from my fellow Hibees and a special thanks to London
Hibs for allowing me to share a moment in time I'll not forget.
There is a bonnie
fitba' team at Easter Road they play...
San Diego, California.