By Kirsty Topping
HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to pay tribute to foolballing legend Eddie Turnbull today (Mon).Mourners, including the current Hibs first team, packed Mansfield Traquair church in Edinburgh to pay their respects.The funeral was a far from sombre affair. The congregation arrived to the strains of ‘When the Hibs go marching on’.Many friends and family wore green for the occasion; the church was lit green for the occasion and even the minister Rev Ian Gilmour joined in by sporting a green shirt rather than the traditional black.
He welcomed the congregation, which included many faces from Scottish football, Hibs players, past and present, and Eddie’s wife, Carol, daughter, Valerie.He said: “This is not a day to be sad, it’s not a day for gloomy funerals. Eddie was a colourful, tenacious human being.’Eddie liked people who were disciplined, enthusiastic, filled with a will to live. He was very loyal to his family and friends. He expected much of himself and others.”Mr Gilmour described Eddie and his wife as “the Posh and Becks of their day”.The congregation sang the hymn ‘Will your anchor hold’ in tribute to Eddie’s wartime service on Russian convoy ships.In a tribute, Tony Higgins described him as a “legend”.
He said: “Eddie was a legend as a player as well as a coach. He won three league titles and played in the world cup.“His other great love was golf. The first mid-week of the season we wen
“He expected us to play as a team, whether you could play golf of not.”Mourners from across the world of football spoke highly of the former Aberdeen and Hibs manager.Jim Jeffries, the current Hearts manager, said he was sad to hear of Eddie’s death.He said: “He was a fantastic Hibs manager, we all respected him. He was a terrific character.“Everyone that I know in football said he was a terrific manager and very hard but very fair.“Great knowledge of the game, just a fantastic manager there’s no doubt about that and it’s sad to see him pass away.”While former Scotland boss Craig Brown said: “From Alex Ferguson right through to Walter Smith, we all hung on his every word because it was outstanding.“He was a hard man, yes, but he had a good sense of humour as well, which I always remember.“A wonderful guy. A guy you could depend upon for advice.“He was miles ahead of his time, he was the first man to introduce a sweeper.”Following the service Eddie’s coffin was taken to Easter Road for fans to pay their respects before being taken to Lauriston crematorium.
Hundreds of fans waited to greet the funeral cortege as it made its way down Easter Road to Hibernian’s stadium.Amongst them was Ricky Millar, who donned his Hibernian shirt to pay tribute to Eddie.
Drinking in The Four in Arms pub on Easter Road after seeing Eddie off, he said he considered him to be one of the best managers the team had ever had.He said: “He stood up to Jock Stein anyway, that’s the main thing.“He was good for the team, he was the best serving Hibernian we’ve had in our entire career.“I’m sad at his passing. I was at Easter Road today and I was greetin’.”
Speaking after the wake Willie Miller, Aberdeen’s Director of Football, spoke of his gratitude to Eddie in giving him the chance to become a professional footballer.
Miller began his playing career under Eddie Turnbull just a month before he left the club. He said he was grateful to Eddie for giving him the chance of a professional football career.He said: “I joined Aberdeen a month before he left. He gave me my first contract when I was 16 in 1971.“I didn’t play under him but he gave me my first opportunity to be a professional footballer.“The players that I played with that played under him praised him very highly. They spoke highly of his tactical ability.“He was highly respected and a manager his ability was renowned throughout Scotland.”