I ken its no really a Just back as such as the game was played in Friday. It is a Just Back as I got back yesterday afternoon, the plane ‘crashed’ at Glasgow airport and I got home last night and working all day in Dundee today. So its a Just back with a twist.
My trip started with a half day last Thursday and a lift down from Glenn07 to Prestwick, where we met FieryJack (aka Blu Tak Jack) and boarded a delayed flight to Malaga, meeting a couple of other Hibby’s on the plane too. Just before we boarded we discovered Hibs had moved the game to an alternative location, and thanks to Power for his efforts in getting details to me and others as to the new place we were playing. On arrival in Spain we met up with Tully, who joined us alone after his missus took no well and decided to stay in Torremolinos. We picked up the hire car and I drove the 100km down to Sabinillas, our base for the first two days of the adventure, also dropping Glenn07 off in Estepona on the way. Time we got to the hotel it was midnght and the bars of the wee town were closed. Hibs on Tour though, a bar had to be sought out, so we tramped the mile or so to the next village to get the last orders in both an Irish Bar (no bad two hours of last orders) and last last orders in a bar we subsequently discovered was a reknowned bar for druggies, we never noticed!!! We tramped the mile or so back, take away beers in hand, fair chuffed we had wet the tours head and were going to see the Hibs play Willem II in the sun.
I woke up early as I was fair chuffed we were in the wee town I go too every summer and was itching to introduce the lads to the Spanish brekky of Pan y Tomate and a strong coffee, and to get away from Blu Tak Jack’s endless fucking snoring! Glenn, Tully, myself and Jack fed and watered we took the car down the coast towards Gibraltar, through the tiny village San Enrique to a Polo Ground in the campo, Glenn regaling us of the tales of the shaggers in the adjoining rooms’ grunts and squeals, that kept him awake.
We pulled in to the polo grounds and there in front of us were the Hibernian players resplendant in green, warming up, it gives you a wee shiver when you see our team. Indeed first player we spotted was Ollie Shaw queuing for a slash at the only portable toilet at the place, that gave us a different kind of shiver I have to say! Polo Grounds are the size of 4 football pitches, Willem 11 trained on one pitch, Hibs another and another team in Royal Blue a third as we settled down to watch the game to the sound of much Hibs fans blethering and the weird Willem 11 fan resplendant in red white and blue kit and blasting out there clog dancing music from a hidden ghetto blaster. With around 100 Hibs fans turning up from both Scotland and from various parts of Spain, Rab from Almeria, Ben and his wife from Nerja, Raymond and his wife from France, via Duquesa near the match location and a few others. There were around 4 Willem 11 fans, plus a few interested football following expats from the area.
For me, the fact that Hibs take 100 fans to a bounce game on a polo pitch in the back of beyond in Andalucia on a Friday afternoon really tells you the potential for our club, if managed well both on and off field.
The teams got changed in the shade of the trees (yup, nae changing facilities to go with the one portble shunky) and shook hands with each other in 19oC sun, Hibs in there green body, white sleeved top (no sponsor), Willem 11 in fucking maroon, home kit red white and blue, away kit maroon, its fair to say, its not a team I will be following anytime soon.
Obviously in a friendly there are lots of changes, I wont go through them but will go through my thoughts on the individual Hibs players perfromances and the order will roughly indicate when the played.
Adam Bogdan started as a trialist and looked as solid as ever, no chance at their goal. I am happy he is back, I hope we can move Maxwell on.
Sir David Gray, scorer of the winning headed goal on the 21st of May 2016 as he captained Hibernian to our first Scottish Cup win since 1902 had a steady first half. Worth noting the Willem 11 wide players were rapid and gave all our full backs a hard time, especially first half. Dave came off at half time. Delighted to see Sir David back.
Daz started too and defended well, he had too, they came at us. Daz came off at half time.
Paul started too, he too had to work as they gave us a torried time. From memory he came off at half time too?
Tom James filled in at left back first half. It was a bounce game, but being so up close, my opinion is he is a bit of weakling and a couple of times showed no heart when going for a ball. He came off at half time.
Fraser Murray played on the right of midfield, I feel a better for position for him, he lasted almost the whole game from memory. He is filling out at last, which is good.
Melker Hallberg is a personal fave of mine, I reckon when we sign a midfielder enforcer we will see even more of Melker’s skills. Best of the signings for me.
Daryll Horgan played wide left and tried to influence the game, but from my spot on the enbankment, he couldnae get anything right? He went off at half time but came back on again late in the game.
Scottie played well I thought, although he goes down too easy for me. Scottie too came back on late second half, cannae mind who he replaced?
Ollie Shaw got the full 90 minutes and was rewarded with a well taken penalty which he won himself and a tap in winning goal after Boyler should really have scored on the break with a minute or two to go. Ollie didnt get much right first half, but with a lot of encouragement from his team mates, which I liked, he went on to have a good second. As an academy graduate and as a fellow Hibernian supporter, I really hope Ollie makes it. One slight negative is for me he is still two lean.
Christian Doidge offered very little, sorry.
Rocky started the second half and kept a clean sheet. I noted he speaks well through out the game, encouraging his team mates.
Naismith was fine, and he too talks his way through the game, enjoying the odd expletive, which I fucking loved. His crossing was rotten though.
Adam Jackson was solid and he is another who talks to his team mates, although the exchange between Boyler and him was interesting and I hope it was banter! Adam complained Boyler had not made a run, Boyler suggested Adam lift his fucking head!
Ryan Porteous was solid and stifled the problematic Willem 11 attack. He will go onto Captain Hibs and Scotland I think?
Lewis Stevenson had to mark their excellent wide man and would have slept well after the effort he had to put in.
Roger Whittaker, I was very impressed with, still has a good fitba brain but no legs anymore. For me, if we need to take Melker off in a game, Rodge is the best option.
Slivka, pranced his way through the second half without making much mark.
Ben Stirling fitted in well but was injured middle of the second half.
Boyler ran riot up against ex Hibs player Nellom. Full of energy, he never shuts up either. He should have scored when through on the keeper, Ollie showed him how to do it.
From a fitba perspective they were trying things out, and they secured a win against a very good Dutch team. I am happy with that, what better feeling than a Hibs win, bettered by the fact they beat a team in maroon! On a personal level, the coaching staff are superb, John Potter and Graeme Mathie engaging with Hibs fans all game long and topped off for me by Jack Ross coming up to myslef and Tully after the game, thanking us for our support and hoping we enjoyed the rest of our stay in Spain (more of enjoying our stay in Spain in a minute). We have good guys in charge, I am sure of it. Lets hope the board (none of whom I noted were there) support Jack and his teams ambitions.
Willem 11 are a very decent team, I dreaded a thumping after about half an hour, but they were bettered by Hibs second half. One thing that was strange was their players spoke English to each other when they played. Pity they play in red, white and blue and maroon, fucking losers.
The referee was fine, no real contentious issues to deal with.
The Fans, you all know who you are, well all I can say is that we really are Hibs daft. For 100 Hibs fans to head to the southern tip of Spain on the second weekend in January is brilliant, the cheer when Ollie scored the winner would have woke the locals from their siestas. The blethering, the hugging, the handshakes, the camaraderie, the near tears as we discussed our experiences on that day in May 2016 make me immensely proud to be part of this family, the Hibernian Family.
Man of the Match was Ollie Shaw, good effort son, in the sun.
Post match saw the Hibs support drift off in all directions, many back to Torremolinos and Malaga, Brockie and his pal back to Cadiz (they mixed up their Cities with their Provinices and ended up staying 100 odd miles away without a car!), some to visit Gib and then us, the wee merry band of Blu Tac Jack, Rab (Spanishboy on the bounce), Tully, Glenn and myself heading back to Sabinillas for the post match beers. Glenn disnae drink, so it we sorted him out with a dozen alcohol free cervezas for his hotel room and headed for tapas. I wont bore you with food porn but the German boy, Muggins from Dortmund who served us messed everything up and we ended up with food coming in installments for over an hour! We then headed to my local in Sabi, McGuinnesses, ran by a young Irish couple where we sipped sundowners before heading up to the taxi rank to send Glenn and his ‘zero’ beer back to Estepona. We scoffed Rabbit and Chips and Baby Squid and Chips, then headed back to McGuinnesses, pished, to listen to the live lady singer singing Hibs songs of our choice, whether they were Hibs songs or not!
As we blethered, we noticed Jack playing with blu tac? Why we asked? It turns out he has been carrying blu tac about with him since he first watched HIbs in the late seventies as a kid, and he has done so ever since. As the pints and Irish gin flowed, Jack dropped his blu tac and it was later re-discovered flattened on the bottom of the shoe of a very irritating Irish guy who had been talking shite all night with us. It looked like blue shite on the sole of his shoe, he wisnae happy, we pissed our self laughing. A drunken 2.30 am stagger home after dropping Rab off at the taxi rank, Blu Tac Jack managed to wreck the local councils temporary fencing before headbutting me by mistake as we tried to pick him and the fence back up.
Waking up to check out the next day we discovered that the room had a TV and heating, neither of which we had noticed before and we checked out, Blue Tac Jack in hangover agony, me with the fear and Tully remarkably ok for a 12 hour session! We picked up Glenn at his hotel, he seemed not well? Asking him what was wrong, he told us he had mixed his alcohol free beers the night before and was struggling with a hangover…..work that one out! Luckily he packed his angina spray and popped it out when he felt unwell, viola, out pops a mini salt and pepper set instead. Came in handy at lunchtime right enough! After a day being Tommy Tourist, Jack and I headed up to Fuengirola to meet the daughter of another Bouncer, Delting Hibby. Hannah has been on many Hibs tours, and has relocated to Spain and we had a good catch up before retiring for an early start the next day as I headed home. The drive up to Malaga and flight to Glasgow were uneventful, well right up until we landed and the plane rattled, slid, shook and generally had 180 passengers suffer from immediate incontenence. They suggested a puncture, I couldnae see one on any of the tyres when we got off, I dinnae want to to think what really happened, I am flying again later this week. I will be taking Blu Tac just in case.
All in all, a great Hibs trip, a win, a good time with great pals, I highly recommend that if the chance arises and you can go, go.
See you all at Tannadice!