Attending football matches at Tynecastle or Easter Road was a right of passage for many boys in Oxgangs.
Ken Hoffmann was a rugby man. I only ever remember going to a single match with him-it was Hibs v Dunfermline-how did that happen? Did he have free tickets? Was he trying to bond with his son? Anyway, I recall him getting into an argument with a Hibbie when Roy Barrie the combustible Dunfermline player got sent off-I actually sided with Ken on this occasion, because there was a sense of injustice about the decision. The other thing I admire today, from a distance, was that Ken subscribed to the philosophy that it was better to play the game than to spectate.
Within The Stair I think John Duffy from 6/8 attended games with his dad; he was a Celtic supporter. Boo-Boo Hanlon must have been too-see below! Colin Hanlon was a Hearts man and a regular at Tynecastle in later years. Alan Hanlon was perhaps too young back then, whilst for all his enthusiasm for football, I can't recall if Michael went along or not. Michael, Boo-Boo, Colin or Alan-if you're reading the blog, please let us know!
|Boo-Boo Hanlon (Photograph, Peter Hoffmann)|
Douglas Blades and Gavin Swanson were completely uninterested in footie-indeed they may never have ever kicked a ball in their lives. Although Iain played a wee bit he only ever went to a match on rare occasions-he was most definitely a Hearts man-I seem to recall us going to see Hearts v Brechin City of all matches on Saturday, 27th January, 1968!
For a season or two I attended Hibs matches in the company of the Allans from 4/7 Oxgangs Avenue-this was with Andy and Gavin Allan and one or two of their pals who attended the Catholic secondary school.
It was exciting stuff-good crowds; often it was sunny; the green and white programmes reflecting the strip; and some good players on the pitch-Bobby Duncan; Pat Stanton; Peter Cormack; Peter Marinello-there was a real buzz about such outings.
|Peter Marinello and Peter Cormack|
Today I'm not a supporter, but when Hearts met Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final earlier this year in May, my heart was very much with the Hearts-my instinct tells me that if I should follow any team then it is Hearts. Perversely, for a while I also used to attend Raith Rovers matches at Kirkcaldy with a slightly older lad from Oxgangs Crescent-it was good fun getting the train from Haymarket to their ground which still boasted an old siren from the War.
|Rangers FC 1967-This Picture Hung On The Bedroom Wall In A Frame For Years|
So was it Hearts or Hibs or indeed Raith Rovers? Well, ironically, at that time I also 'followed' Rangers because I was so close to my grandfather, but never attended one of their matches back then-indeed Ken Hoffmann stipulated that we weren't allowed to go along to any games involving The Old Firm because of potential trouble-probably sound advice.
Postscript; My local team today, Ross County, were unbeaten over 40 league matches until a week or so ago-Come Away The County!