As it is nearing Christmas every entry in my diary looks a lot like 'another evening, another book launch'. Last night it was down Easter Road way that the car was pointed to join Andy MacVannan and contributors to his new book: "We Are Hibernian, the fans' story". We get stories from players and managers when they have retired or moved into the media, but how often do we hear from the fans about why they suffer the veil of tears that come as part of the deal when supporting your team? Not often enough, as fans make the club. But as the chapters in the book attest, the club also can make the fans. How they play the game is important to Hibs fans. That is why they still have a desire to see Hibs play with the oft ridiculed epithet of flair. While teams of recent years have fallen short of fans expectation, there is still that thread throughout the recollections from those interviewed for the book - they want Hibs to play with style and panache. They will accept defeat - grudgingly - as long as Hibs play the way they should.
Bruce Findlay chats with the author
While MacVannan interviewed some high profile fans, like Dougray Scott, Irvine Welsh, Derek Dick (AKA Fish), Charlie Reid and Bruce Findlay, the core of the book is made up from recollections of the average fan. The strange things that you remember about going to games and not always about the actual game; who you met; where you stood; the rituals you followed without actually thinking they were rituals. There are all there from young and old. They may all be individuals but there is something you get from the book that they all have that same intangible, inexplicable thing running through them, the love of Hibs no matter what.
I asked Macvannan why he thought about writing the book in the first place. He said: "It goes back about ten years ago. My main interest, apart from football, was music. While I was in America, I bought a book which was an account from different bands travelling on the road, not so much about the music but stories that sort of surround the travelling. I thought I could transfer that idea to the realm of the football fan. I thought about it for a few years but never got down to it until about a year and a half ago. I had to get it started. When I first started it was a conversation with a friend Jim Hayes to give me a start with a friendly face. It then moved into a little bit of a journey as each interviewee would suggest I speak to somebody else which took me down different avenues. For example Irvine Welsh put me onto Dougray Scott and such like. Unfortunately, he can't be here tonight but while he lives away from Edinburgh but in the book you get the feeling of them returning, obviously to see family etc, but a big part of that is to come back and see Hibs. That is a big part of the book, no matter where you are in the world and whatever it is you do on a day-to-day basis, everybody has that common bond, common love and connection to the club."
Tommy Preston scored two goals against Barcelona for Hibs back in 1960 and is still going strong
Paul Haddow and Johnny Tracey from The 10:04's were in awe of Tommy Preston last night
'We Are Hibernian, the fans' story' by Andy MacVannan is published by Lauth Press limited at £14.99. Get a copy for your favourite Hibbee.