April 2019 Newsletter
The guests for our March Meeting were football journalists and reporters Alan Pattullo and Moira Gordon from the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday Newspapers. Alan joined the Scotsman in 1998 and has reported and commented on Scottish football as well as reporting on two football World Cups. He has written an award winning biography of Scottish International Duncan Ferguson. Moira studied journalism at Napier University before joining the Scotsman and has reported on Hearts matches for many years, witnessing some tumultuous times at Tynecastle.
A large number of football topics were covered over a Q and A session. Replacement suggestions for Alex McLeish (he hasn’t been sacked yet!) included Steve Clarke, Michael O’Neill and our own Austin McPhee. Our guests, while acknowledging the dreadful start in the European Championship, did have a large amount of sympathy for Alex, believing the problems lie further up the line at the SFA. There was a difference of opinion regarding staying at Hampden. Alan, accepting the stadium was badly planned and leaves a lot to be desired, would keep Hampden, while Moira would dump it and use stadiums round the country. There was not a lot of confidence that Scotland could qualify for The World Cup Finals or indeed the European Championships.
Alan and Moira detected a pessimistic spirit amongst Hearts supporters, after disappointing results, in particular against Hamilton, St Mirren and Dundee. Alan and Moira were having none of this, reminding our audience that Hearts have reached two semi- finals this season, could still win the Scottish Cup and finish in the top four. Many supporters would have settled for that at the beginning of the season. The feeling of disappointment, they feel, comes from our excellent start to the season which saw us top of the SPL for a spell. Injuries to key players made it very difficult for Hearts to maintain a challenge. Moira, in particular, feels that if Craig Levein can retain the backbone of the team, i.e.Naismith, Berra, Souttar, Michael Smith, Haring, Uche, and they don’t suffer so many serious injuries to key players, not only can the team improve but also Craig can start to give the youngsters the chance to play in the First Team. Moira also wanted to emphasise the influence Steven Naismith has on the side particularly during matches. Over and above his football ability, Steven comes off the pitch hoarse as he shouts encouragement and instructions to the other players. She remembers often seeing Kyle Lafferty moving quickly and knowing it’s a result of Steven shouting at him!
The future of football reporting and journalism was discussed. Many of the members remember running to the newsagent on a Saturday night to get the ‘Evening Pink’ to get the results and match reports. Everyone bought a daily paper. Things are very different now with many more ways of obtaining information more quickly from a phone or tablet. Newspapers can be read online for no cost. While our guests accept that the industry has changed for ever, newspaper sales are in decline, and there are fewer journalists working. There are still talented writers about and a way must be found to finance their work. There is still a place for the printed word and people still want to read opinions and viewpoints as well as facts and scores. They are convinced that hard copy journalism will survive.
A member asked our guests if anybody outside the Old Firm can win the Premiership again. Last time was Aberdeen in 1984-5. It would be very difficult but not impossible was the answer. Remember Leicester City. It would require a number of things to happen, the Old Firm in transition, a good manager bringing in good players and structure, and fewer injuries. Possible? Steve Clarke has done really well, it is possible.
On a lighter note Alan and Moira were asked about a match they reported on that had a completely surprise result. Moira talked of a Clyde –Celtic match which ended up an amazing 2 0 victory for Clyde. The supporters present just looked on in utter shock. Alan chose a match which he did not actually attend. It was Brazil v Germany in the world cup in Brazil when Germany won 7-1. He was in Brazil at the time reporting on another match. The people of Brazil were in absolute shock not believing what had happened. The Chair wrapped up the evening by asking the audience to give our guests a very deserved warm round of applause for giving us an excellent evening.
Player of the Year
After counting the votes we can reveal that our Player of the Year for season 2018-19 is Steven Naismith. Second was captain Christophe Berra followed in third place by Peter Haring. There was also a lot of support for John Souttar, Michael Smith and Uche Ikpeazu.
The Player of the Year trophy will be presented to Steven at our Dinner on 25th April which will also be attended by Christophe Berra and our sponsored player Steven MacLean.
We continue to raise funds with our monthly raffles. At the March dinner the sum of £380 was raised (after costs). The large number of donations received from members and guests makes a considerable difference to costs and is much appreciated.
Our special raffle will be drawn at the POY Dinner. Top prizes include signed jerseys from our sponsored players Steven Naismith and Steven MacLean, the signed poppy jersey from November 2018 of Marcus Godhino, training kit of Academy star and under 17 international Cameron Logan, and two jerseys signed by all the first team and reserve players and the management attending the sponsors evening in April. These are amazing unique prizes!! Tickets are only £2.50 and can be purchased at the POY Dinner or using the April Calling Notice. Buy as many as you want and get your prize from one of the players. All proceeds go to the Club.
Annual Subs are now due. £12 (or £8 for over 60’s). Many thanks to all those who have already paid their subs and particular thanks to those who have set up Standing Orders which considerably reduces the work for the Treasurer. If you have not already done so, please pay now, preferably using the standing order sent to you in February, alternatively direct into our Bank account(details on the Calling Notice) or by cheque. The subscriptions make a considerable contribution to our administration costs.