Hibs to celebrate the day they were “saved”


By Cara Sulieman

FAMOUS supporters of Hibernian FC will be coming together later this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the day they stopped a merger with arch rivals Hearts.

Hibs fans Craig and Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers will come together with fellow musician Fish and comedian Bill Barclay at a concert at Usher Hall which will be presented by Grant Stott.

Former Hibs legends Eddie Turnbull and Lawrie Reilly are expected to join past and present players and former managers at the celebration on June 6.

They will be marking the anniversary of the successful Hands Off Hibs campaign, which stopped Wallace Mercer – then chairman of Hearts – from taking over the financially ruined club.


The guest of honour at the event will be Sir Tom Farmer who stopped the proposed merger by buying up a controlling interest in Hibs in 1990.

And Kenny McLean, 61, will be present on behalf of his late father, also Kenny McLean, who spearheaded the Hands Off Hibs campaign.

Mr McLean senior raised awareness of the clubs plight, convinced shareholders not to sell to Mercer and persuaded Sir Tim to help save the club.

Mr McLean junior said: “My father went along to see Tom Farmer and what happened between the two of them I’ll never know but Sir Tom decided to come on board.

“We have come from bad management and almost being extinct to – with the intervention of my father and Sir Tom farmer – becoming the envy of most football clubs in Britain.

“Now we have got a good stadium, a fantastic training facility and no debt to speak of.

“My dad died 15 years ago and it’s a pity he wasn’t here to see this – he would have been delighted.

“Everybody looked up to him and I think that’s the reason they chose him to lead the campaign.

“In one corner was Mercer and in the other was my father and Mercer lost.

“Some of the young players weren’t even born when this happened so it’s important to keep the awareness going.

“Every single person who is performing are Hibs supporters and they are doing it free of charge.”


Will McEwan, treasurer of the Hibs Former Players’ Association, said the charity gig had been organised to celebrate the last 20 years of the club.

He added: “This will mark the highs and lows of the club in the last 20 years and we want to get fans together to celebrate just how far this club has come since it was threatened with extinction 20 years ago.

“It’s important for generations and I think it will sell out.”

Proceeds from the event will be split between Alzheimer Scotland and Hibernian Former Players’ Association.