Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Testimonial Test

The testimonial.

A footballing tradition ever diminished by the lucratively shifting sands of the modern game?

The Sabbath just gone saw me at Easter Road for Ian Murray's testimonial game.

The testimonial was once a way to honour players who had ten or more years of service to a certain club.

Continuous service.

Ian Murray has served Hibs for over a decade. But he squeezed a move to Rangers and a stint at Norwich into his career.

I suspect those two episodes were more richly renumerated than either of his stays at Hibs.

Does he need a testimonial? Some - fair at this point, I think, to acknowledge that we don't know the extent of that "some" - of the money raised was going to charity.

But football's been kinder to Ian Murray than it is to a lot of players.

The testimonial as an outdated concept? Possibly. Always a strange conceit though, the way it gave power to the clubs, making a goodwill gesture a bargaining tool in contract negotiations.

Leading to odd situations: Pat Stanton at Hibs and Eddie Colquhoun - new hero of this blog - at Sheffield United enjoying testimonials after they'd left the clubs.

Or Paul Scholes, whose unarguable superstar modesty was rewarded with a box office busting testimonial against a team which doesn't actually exist.

But the faith might always be reaffirmed by someone like John Kennedy, cruelly injured and still willing to raise a barrel load of cash for charity in his recent celebration at Celtic.

The crowd at Easter Road on Sunday didn't break 3000. Not entirely a judgement on Murray or the idea of him being celebrated with a testimonial - these are strained times in Leith - but a definite hint that it wasn't a universally acclaimed tribute.

Which leads to question time:

Is the testimonial outdated in this modern world of footballing millionaires?

Which player at your club deserves a testimonial and/or which player at your club deserved a testimonial but didn't get one?

The flip side - which player at your club was indulged with a testimonial that they really didn't deserve?

Interested, as ever, to hear your thoughts.

> And finally: Sunday was the first testimonial at Easter Road since Hibs and Coventry played tribute to Gordon Hunter. He'd given Hibs his best years. Much as I enjoyed the Murray merriment I didn't feel able to join in the acclaim for Murray in the way I did for Hunter 15 years ago.