By MARTIN GRAHAM
HEARTS football veteran Jimmy Sandison returned to Tynecastle today to announce a special game to raise funds for a fan who was injured while on honeymoon in Italy.
Jambo’s fan John Tams, 30, and his wife Nicola, 31, were enjoying their honeymoon in Sorrento when a car ploughed into them, leaving John critically injured just days after their wedding.
He remains in hospital in Naples, and the family are staying in Italy to support him as he recovers.
Former Hearts captain Sandison was joined by Iain Porterfield and Mikey Dixon, who play football with John Tams regularly, to announce the game which will be played at 3pm on Sunday 5 September at New Dundas Park in Bonnyrigg.
The game will feature the Hearts Legends team, which is made up of former players like John Robertson, Henry Smith, Jose Quitongo and Alan Lawrence.
The Hearts Legends take on challengers to raise funds for good causes and have raised over £26,000 since forming two years ago.
Speaking about the Legends team, Jimmy said: “We’ve got a good squad and the guys thoroughly enjoy these charity matches, it’s a chance to reunite with their old team mates.
“They like to get the boots back on and get out there, they’ve still got the passion for the game.
“There’s even been talk of an Edinburgh veterans derby against former Hibs players, but the tough thing would be deciding where to play, Tynecastle, Easter Road or a neutral venue?”
John Tams, from Bonnyrigg, plays with two amateur clubs in Edinburgh, Real Maroon and Duddingston Athletic.
The special charity match will see a select team from Real Maroon take on the Hearts veterans in the first half, while players from Duddingston Athletic will head out for the second half.
Iain Porterfield is manager of Real Maroon, and spoke about how well regarded John is amongst his team mates.
He said: “Before I met John everyone said what a nice guy he was, and it’s true, he is a legend and a gentleman.
“He is a former captain and player of the year, he is a fantastic player.
“When the team heard about the accident we all pulled together to form a fundraising committee.
“We have had overwhelming support from other supporters teams, including Hibs, St Johnstone and Clyde, they have all shown support.
“The funds raised will be used to help the family with their living costs while they support John in his recovery over in Italy.”
Hearts spokesman Lawrence Broadie said that the Hearts team were actually in Italy when they heard the news about John and Nicola’s accident.
He said: “The team were at a training camp in Il Ciccio near Braga and they were shocked and upset when they heard.
“Jim Jefferies arranged for a card to be ready at the airport when the team returned so he could sign it himself and get it sent quickly to John and Nicola.”
A 22-year-old Sorrento man was detained by local police and had his car confiscated after the incident. He is still to face court.