Sometimes a good football book does more than just entertain readers; it helps to bring people together. Ian Colquhoun’s book From Oblivion to Hampden, a story about Hibernian’s 1991 League Cup success just after the club’s near extinction, has done both.
Earlier this year Ian told the Hibs Supporters’ Club St Patrick’s Branch about the book he’d just written and suggested to his fellow members and the branch committee that they should hold an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the win. And so the committee embarked on an epic six months of organisation and planning which culminated in one of the most special Hibernian fans’ functions ever held.
On Thursday 27th October, the exact 25th anniversary of the cup-win, around 250 Hibs fans and VIP guests packed into the Hibs Club in Sunnyside Lane just off Easter Road. The main host for the evening was SKY Sports’ Luke Shanley, a celebrity Hibs fan. The panel was made up of former manager Alex Miller, former coach Martin Ferguson (brother of Sir Alex), St Patrick’s Branch honorary member and Hibs legend Pat Stanton and the heroic ex-players who won the cup in ’91, including Keith Wright, Tommy McIntyre and Mickey Weir. Rapturous applause greeted each panel member’s entrance to the hall, akin to the big entrances at Darts tournaments.
Fans, ex-players and ex-coaches together watched highlights of the ’91 semi-final win over Rangers , then the excellent Mr Shanley interviewed the panel guests. At ‘half-time’ guests were treated to a pie and Bovril – a nice change from a standard buffet – then in the second half the fans and guests watched the highlights of the cup-final win over Dunfermline. The players and coaches from ’91 were then presented with a special anniversary award trophy each, recognising the historic anniversary and their achievement. They also each received a copy of From Oblivion To Hampden. Its author Ian Colquhoun was then briefly interviewed before the roving mic was brought out for the panel to take questions from the fans.
In the panel’s answers were humour, emotion and also tributes to great Hibs men connected with the cup-win who are no longer with us, like Hands Off Hibs legend Kenny Mclean Snr and former Chairman Douglas Cromb. Throughout the evening, beer flowed, a few tears were shed, there was many a laugh and old friends , team-mates and colleagues mingled amid a magical atmosphere. It was truly an evening never to be forgotten. The heroic coaches and players of Hibs’ 1991 team were again reunited on Saturday 29th, two days later, in the hospitality suite at Easter Road, guests of the club for their 2-0 home league victory over St Mirren. They went out on to the pitch at half-time and were given a standing ovation by the Hibs support.
Author Ian Colquhoun was lucky enough to be at both reunions:
“The supporters’ function on the Thursday in the Hibs club was immense, we all had a great time. Dougie Mcleod and the rest of the St Patricks’ Branch committee really surpassed themselves this time, they all worked tirelessly for months to ensure that this event took place and was well-run. They, along with the VIP guests, deserve enormous credit for such a wonderful Hibs event. It was also magic to see the ’91 heroes at Easter Road on the Saturday as guests; they looked so pleased to be together again. They even said that they’re enjoying my wee book!”
The book From Oblivion To Hampden was one of the reasons these commemorative events took place – together with the St Patrick’s branch, HSA, Hibernian FC and the former players and coaches. The book helped to reunite the Hibs family of 1991 on a day that the current Hibs team also won. Hibernian FC is a family club – nothing re-affirmed that fact more than the spectacle of the players and coaches of ’91 being reunited and sharing their memories and collective joy with the fans who once cheered them on. That’s Hibs class.
Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Ian Colquhoun's From Oblivion to Hampden.