Dear St Patrick’s Branch Members on behalf of the Branch Committee I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.
It’s hard to believe how quickly another year has passed, 2014 again holding so many moments and memories, perhaps in our beloved teams case better forgotten than remembered, though there does seem to be light starting to appear at the end of the tunnel.
It seems like yesterday, December 2013, when our Branch organized Dan McMichael’s Commemoration Gravestone event, that memorable day bringing together the Hibernian family. Terry Butcher had just arrived and our Ceremony seemed to galvanize the Club, Team and Supporters, however sadly for us battle scarred supporters, we were still to face some further twists turns and agonizing disappointments.
Perhaps by firstly exorcising that 2013/14 season ghost, I can show just how remarkable our Branch, despite this year’s disappointments, remains solid harmonious and successful, a true Supporters Branch with each and every member both in its heart and at its heart.
Our membership numbers in January started with the re-affiliation of 200 members which has since climbed to a staggering 2014 membership of over 300, an absolute fantastic achievement and attributed to everyone in the Branch. But the first of many well deserved mentions goes to our Secretary Big G, without Mr McKinley the Branch Membership would certainly not be as big or in such great shape. A mention too to that one man recruitment machine Paddy Power, the only man I know who can get away with handing out membership forms and cards at funerals!
In March we had our annual big event ‘St Patrick’s Night’, every year the event gets better and better, the entertaining disco and ‘ The Mad Ferret Band’, who sang and played us through the night, they were so good in fact look out for them again this year!
In the same month our membership had decide it was time to have our own award ceremony and in true St Pat’s fashion this award would be voted on by all members. At our St Patrick’s Night on the 15th March 2014 the first ever St Patrick’s Hibernian Achievement award went to our Secretary, Mr Gordon McKinley, richly deserved, Big G makes the Branch tick.
In May came our AGM, we saw some old favorites stand down and some new blood take the oath but I am sure the old and new and certainly the 58 members who attended would agree, the biggest and best part of the evening was the attendance of our Patron Mr Patrick Gordon Stanton. Pat had kindly agreed to a Q&A session and was in top form that night which was thoroughly enjoyed, a great night!
That’s all I want to say about May the play offs quite frankly still too painful to describe.
From June to August, a quiet time for football and the Branch, not this year, the St Patrick’s Committee attended inside and outside, made representation to everyone and anyone who was working towards improving, revolutionizing or even just annoyed at the state of our Club, a busy summer!. The ramification and changes as we know are still on-going, but rest assured your Committee and Branch will continue on the front foot always giving the memberships voice with a pragmatic approach on any Hibernian deliberation, opinion or proposal, St. Patrick’s expect nothing less!
From the start of this season through September, October and November we have seen the team at its best and its worst, our intrepid reporter Mark Strachan (see latest on the Hearts game below) has kept record of the matches, this reporter says it as it is and beats any mealy-mouthed self-important pundits you get elsewhere, watch out for it on the website News page.
The Website simply must get a mention, we know it has again brought us so many good members this year and continues to build a fantastic archive of moments and history, yet always looking so fresh new and interesting, well done Mr Jamie Millar.
October saw 15 St. Patrick’s Branch members travel to Groningen where wonderful hospitality was received from fellow Dutch St. Patrick’s Branch members (see report below)
In December the Branch met Leeann Dempster and HFC Board members, this time to discuss the 140th Anniversary of Hibernian which takes place in August of this year . Organized by our Committee member Brian Duffy, the 3 main proposals agreed at the November Branch meeting on next year’s celebrations had a very positive welcome by both Leeann and the Board members present, so watch this space for another St. Patrick’s event, more fund raising and hard work required no doubt!
A mention too for all the Charities our Branch has contributed to this year, The Child Brain Injury Charity, young Leon Rendle, Hibernian OAP’s, Leith Links, etc.
Some Branch Members seemed to have been busier than others which led to us to welcoming babies, Cameron James Robert Sinnet born in March, Ibrahim Aahal Nawed born in April, Callum Craven born in August, Cayden Allan Stuart Douglas and Finn Lennon McKinley both born in October, and Louis Green in December, all who joined the Branch within hours of arrival. With almost 40 Junior Members St. Pat’s long term future strategy seems safe!
Finally on behalf of the Branch Memberships I would also take this opportunity to thank a number of people for their help over 2014, firstly to our hard working Committee, Gordon McKinley – Secretary, Stuart McLeod – Treasurer, Robert Henderson – Vice Chair, Jamie Millar – Comms / Webmaster, Steven McPhillips – Delegate, Alan Gallacher – Delegate, Robert Devine – Delegate, Ian McNeill – Delegate, Susan Linn – Co-opted Member, Tam McVay – Co-opted Member, Brian Duffy – Co-opted Member and Video man Eddie Duffy.
Thank you too to our 2014 speakers, Daniel Gray, Allan Lugton, Jimmy O’Rourke, Ralph Callachan, Jackie MacNamara and of course Pat Stanton all making our meetings fun, poignant and memorable.
I would also take this opportunity to personally thank you the Members of St. Patrick’s Branch of Hibernian Supporters
Proud to be Chairman of St. Patrick’s,
Just back and we should have beat them…….
Now I know most of you will have seen the game and had the benefit of reruns and different angles on the tellybox. I was was three rows from the front in a corner, this is my opinion of the game from my seat not a match report. Feel free to correct what I couldnae possibly see.
I thought we should have beaten them, we are a better team, we are tough, we play better football we just cannae finish off chances. They are humphers, who tried to bully us and failed. Indeed a better ref might have sent Gomis or Bauben or both off. From my seat it also looked like a shirt pull on Boyle for a late penalty? Their goal was well taken, although to come out disappointed that we have not beaten them tells you how far Stubbsy has taken us in a short time.
Oxley – He doesn’t look confident at set plays and corners and struggles at crosses. No chance at the goal though.
Gray – He hurt his groin during the warm up stretching for the ball, I though he may not even start. It certainly restricted his runs first half and explained his early swap for Booth second half. Still a rock solid full back who we will miss the next few weeks.
Hanlon – Did well enough, but he played too many short passes for my liking today. Should have nailed Keatings early, and didnae.
Fontaine – Another superb performance from the big man, one mistake the whole game for me. Turning into a very, very good signing.
Stevenson – Lewis gave us his usual 110% and suffered from a lack of cover second half I felt.
Robertson – I am glad he reads this, and acts accordingly, , he started both halves very well and got tore in. Needs to stop giving daft passes away though. Practice that this week please Scott.
Craig – I thought he played well first half but hid too much when we needed him second. He has to step up to the plate for the whole game to captain Hibernian. He did put in a couple of decent free kicks in.
Handling – Danny gave us plenty first half, less second which is why he was taken off.
Allan – Head and shoulders above every Hearts player and only Liam Fontaine got close to him in the Hibs team. His corners and free kicks need improvement and he still tries too many world cup passes. Who cares, he is a joy to watch and he wears our teams shirt. I think I am developing a man crush on this laddie (maybe the two hours in the Big Pink Bus Shelter does that to you)? .
Malonga – I thought he wisnae at the races today, went over too easy and looked disinterested too often. We will still miss him when he his drinking Um Bongo though.
Cummings – Some Hibs fans were berating Cummings today. He scored his 9th goal of the season today, he makes mistakes, often sits in the wrong position and needs guidance on when to make runs and positioning at dead balls. BUT Jason is a laddie, he can learn all of that, let’s hope we have the coaches to do this as he has ability, just not the sense to use it yet. Thanks for giving us the lead Jase, there is no better feeling than beating those b’s, even for a short time. Keep listening and learning.
Booth for Gray at halftime – Booth played very well and is an excellent squad player to bring on.
McGeoch for Handling – I look forward to Dylan, Robertson, Allan and dare I say it Craig, linking up, there is something good there. I hope we aim to sign him from the dodgers, he really brought something to the team today when he came on.
Boyle for Cummings – Slightly surprising signing who might have got a penalty for us. Didnae look particularly fit, but then he has been working with that pie eating, wife cheating Gorgie shyster Hartley.
Stubbsy and Co – set his team out to dominate and win, we dominated, indeed we were by far the better football team, but we didnae win. I reckon another striker is required, possibly an old head? Keep up the good work, we trooped out of the bus shelter gutted we had not beaten a very average team.
Ref – Had he followed the rules, both Baubin and Gomis should have seen red, he didnae. An acquaintance reckoned Cummings should have been sent off, no idea why, maybe those who seen the game on the box could fill us in?
The Gunts – How in Sauzee’s name are that shit running away with the League, they are not very good at all. They played for a draw and got one. I hate them, their club and the ugly fans, I always will.
Next – Well no Malonga or Gray next week. I reckon Booth will be fine but I fear for us with Heffernan up front. Get looking for a new striker Al. Otherwise, keep walking the walk Hibs, we are starting to look like a Hibs team we, the fans, like.
ST. PATRICK’S BRANCH TRIP TO GRONINGEN
On the morning of the 18th of October 15 St. Pat’s Member’s caught the 7.00am flight to Amsterdam. After the short flight to Schiphol we set off on the 2 hour journey North to Groningen. Prior to the trip Mike had arranged discounted block booked train tickets which could only be purchased in the Netherlands, which were sent before hand to me at home. This more than halved the return fair from Amsterdam to Groningen. On arrival in Groningen a van was waiting to take our luggage to our hotel whilst the Dutch St. Pat’s members walked with us to the Stadion Euroborg where a very special reception and statue unveiling was taking place.
The Supporters Association of FC Groningen, of which several key members are also St. Patrick’s Branch members had raised thousands of Euros for a statue to commemorate the great Groningen goalkeeper Tonny van Leeuwen, who was regarded as potentially one of the finest in the Netherlands. Tonny was tragically killed in a road accident in 1971 however remains a local hero in Groningen.
Tonny’s old comrades who played alongside him , Club officials and Supporters attended. The statue was unveiled by Van Leeuwen’s good friend and FC Groningen hero, Piet Fransen. We then attended the reception in the Executive Suite in the stadium where we were all very generously catered for.
Our group were then given a Stadium tour by Rob and others which was both interesting and informative. Then it was into taxi’s back to our hotel and then out on the town.
The following day after a Sunday stroll around the town centre we made our way to the Supporters Home which is situated within the Euroborg. The Supporters Home is run entirely by FC Groningen volunteers and always has a great atmosphere. Another Supporters Home is next door about 5 meters away from this one. It is the FC Groningen Hooligans Home, like the Supporters Home , run on a similar voluntary basis, and policed by themselves.
FCG were playing Excelsior and a continuous wave of trays of beer were passed to the thirsty yet very appreciative St. Pat’s folk during the game. None of of this namby pamby debate in Scotland about drinking at games or the half hearted having a bevvy before the game and at half time in English Stadiums, full on quaffing of beer during the game and a smoke, if you wish, in the Netherlands. FCG 1 Excelsior 1.
Back to the Supporters Home and a massive party. Again the difference is striking. After each game win, lose or draw Management of the Club , Players etc attend after the game, as happened that night, with FC Groningen’s owner having a bevvy with the Scottish visitors.
Suffice to say that very merry Hibs and FCG mates got taxis back to town and further jollity began………till the very early hours of Monday morning. Big Just made several journey’s picking up random Hibees and directing them to their hotel.
The following day it was the train back to Amsterdam city centre and several hours shopping,touring, eating etc there before getting the flight back to Edinburgh.
I can speak on behalf of all the St. Pat’s folk that the weekend was magnificent and the hospitality shown to us without comparison.
That hospitality will be repaid when the same numbers of Groningen St. Patrick’s Branch members come over to attend our Branch St. Patrick’s Night on Saturday 14th March in the Hibs Club. They will also attend Central Park to see Cowdenbeith play Hibs. Cameras at the ready to catch the expressions on their faces when entering the ‘Stadium’.
Glory, Glory to the Hibees and FC Groningen