29th September: Hearts Legends, Henry Smith and Scott Crabbe
For our September meeting we were very fortunate to welcome Henry Smith and Scott Crabbe for another of our Hearts Legends Nights. It seems incredible that it is thirty years since Hearts paid £2000 to Leeds United for Henry’s services and that he kept the goalkeepers jersey for nearly fifteen years. This must be one of the best pieces of transfer business that Hearts have ever done. Scott, of course, came through Hearts Youth Development and although he did not serve the Club as long as Henry, his love of the Hearts is well known and indeed his transfer fee of £350,000 received from Dundee United’ with whom he went on to have an excellent career, was, in fact, very important to Hearts finances at the time.
We had an excellent attendance of over 160 members and their guests and the first topic in the Q and A session concerned the best players with whom they had played. Scott was the first to answer and it was no surprise that he chose John Robertson. As a youngster, Robbo was always his hero and during his playing career he continued to help and advise Scott. Today, of course, they are firm friends and have worked together as football coaches. Henry chose three players, all defenders who played in front of him. Sandy Jardine, who he described as a fantastic organiser and tactician, as well as Craig Levein and Alan McLaren. It was a tragedy, Henry says, that the careers of both Alan and Craig were cut short by serious injury. When asked about Hearts current goalkeepers Henry stated that the Club are very lucky to have three very good keepers but believes that Marian Kello is the best of the three and is an excellent guardian.
Scott recalled some of his goals for Hearts in particular a goal at Parkhead in a game when Hearts went on to win 2 1 and of course his early goal past Andy Goram in a 1 0 win against Rangers at Tynecastle which he insists was a deliberate shot at goal. Andy still insists that someone must have moved the goalposts! Henry remembered penalty saves against Rangers and Celtic and, of course, a penalty save against Hibs at Easter Road when he read in the pre match programme which way the penalty taker always puts the ball! He recalled with less affection a penalty shoot out miss in a League Cup tie at Dens Park , the ball, he says, has still not been found. He did remind us, however, that the miss came after a great penalty save at the other end.
As always the subject of referees came up and they both agreed that referees, particularly in today’s game, have a very difficult job but their biggest criticism of the men in black is their lack of consistency which confuses and frustrates players during a game.
They both believe that Hearts have got a good squad of players and were disappointed when Jim Jefferies left the Club. They are impressed with new Manager Paulo Sergio and think it will take time for the players to adapt to his way of playing. Of the current squad they are particularly impressed with David Templeton and Eggert Jonsson.
To sum up, the members and guests were treated to an excellent evening of stories and memories and, as always when we invite former players, the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended and we thank both Henry and Scott for coming along and making it such an entertaining evening.