Saturday, July 24, 2010

Book Review: Pat Stanton's Hibernian Dream Team

Guest post by John Hislop.

The Day A Ref Tried To Send Off Alex Edwards For Singing

Since I have bought every book ever written about the Hibs, there was never any doubt that I would buy Pat Stanton's Hibernian Dream Team.

I have even bought the ones about players who only spent part of their career at Easter Road, like Chic Charnley, Peter Marinello and Keith Houchen, so, when I saw Pat’s advertised, I was hooked.

The fact that I got to meet the great man in WH Smith’s at the Gyle was an added bonus, and when I turned up for the book signing, to my delight, ‘Last Minute’ Lawrie Reilly was there as well.

As expected both Hibs legends were true gentlemen, and at least appeared to be interested in the ramblings of myself and fellow starstruck Hibs fans, as we queued up for their signatures.

The book was written by Ted Brack, a retired teacher and Hibs fanatic. Ted also wrote the excellent There Is a Bonny Fitba Team: 50 Years on the Hibee Highway which is well worth the reading if you get a chance.

I must admit, the majority of the Hibs books I have read over the years would probably not appeal to fans of other teams, but this one certainly would.

The foreword is by Sir Alex Ferguson who took Pat to Pittodrie as his number two. Had Pat not decided to try his hand at management, there is a fair chance could have been at Old Trafford today such is the respect that Fergie has for him.

The idea of Pat picking the best ever Hibs team might not seem to be a riveting subject, but it’s full of personal anecdotes of great and sometimes not so great players of the past.

One player whom Pat rated on a par with George Best and Jim Baxter was the late Willie Hamilton, who coincidentally shared the off field interests of the other two. As a youngster, Pat recalls asking Hamilton if he had any advice he could pass on, to which he replied thoughtfully; “Never take lime in your lager son and you won’t go far wrong."

Pat also recalls a referee telling him to have a word with Alex (Micky) Edwards during an Edinburgh derby, as he would have to send him off, if he didn’t stop singing! Apparently, Micky had spent the afternoon serenading a young Hearts full back with the Hibs version of Jingle Bells, which contains the line ‘Oh what fun it is to ‘beat’ the Hearts on New Year’s Day.’ Edwards may not have used the word ‘beat.’

The Hearts full back that day, who was ‘apoplectic’ with eyes bulging and veins throbbing, was none other than Jim Jefferies.

Pat devotes a chapter to each position and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of many of the fans favourites, before coming up with a team that could compete against the best. He also selects the best manager, substitutes and even a chairman.

In goal he had the unenviable task of choosing between Andy Goram, Alan Rough, Jim Leighton and Zibby Malkowsky, and the other positions were equally difficult.

I won’t name Pat’s final selection, in case you want to read the book yourself, but when you consider that players like Stevie Archibald, Murdo McLeod, Erich Schaedler, Peter Cormack, Des Bremner Russell Latapy and Alan Gordon are not even on the bench, then you should realise the depth of talent who have worn the green and white jersey.

For the record I didn’t agree with several of his choices, but who am I to argue with the legend that is Pat Stanton?

A new signing for The Scottish Football Blog: a warm welcome to guest blogger John Hislop who some of you will be familiar with from Inside Left.

John currently works part time for The Southern Reporter as their Peebles Correspondent and previously had work experience with Hibs Interactive and has been published in the Daily Record, Edinburgh Evening News and North Edinburgh News.