Hibees Here Hibees There

Issue 24 - Spring 2001

Letter From America

The period 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', Hibernian.

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 used !

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, see “http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hibs-list” — Ed)

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 little closer.

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...…”

John "HtH" Inglis
San Diego, California.

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