What's in a name? Heart of Midlothian Football Club. It has to be one of the most romantic names in British football. Okay it's not a patch on 'The Rangers', but then again nothing is.
There are two distinct memories of the Hearts when growing up that I suppose always coloured my memory of that club and support, which lasted up until the last decade. Memory #1 took place in March 1968 when Rangers entertained Hearts at Ibrox in a Scottish Cup tie;
I was still a couple of weeks shy of my seventh birthday but I can still see in my mind’s eye Hearts fans queuing up to get in alongside Rangers fans in the old Rangers end. They had obviously come to the game with their Rangers supporting mates and all I can recall was good natured, light hearted banter between the surrounding bears and the pocket of Hearts fans. For me, they could have been Martians. I didn’t really grasp that anyone supported any other team bar us and the yahoos, let alone would queue up with Rangers fans in their maroon and white scarves at the Rangers end.
Memory #2 is slightly different in nature and sums my old man up to the proverbial T. My mum’s youngest sister had immigrated to Canada in 1967, got married to a Canadian two years later and in the autumn of 1970 she came home for a month with new hubby in tow to meet the folks. One of my uncles had hired a van for a week so we could all go touring hither and yon. I’m assuming it must have been an autumn break because I was off school for the week also.
Anyway, I digress, on one particular Friday there was a party/get together in my granny’s house and the adults were wondering what to do the following day? You could see the light bulb switching on over my old man’s napper and this was no meagre 40 Watt bulb on a dimmer switch, this was a 100 Watt shot. ‘I’ve an idea’ he said. ‘Why don’t we go through to Edinburgh for the day?’ Excellent idea was the common consensus. What most hadn’t cottoned onto was the fact that Rangers were at Tynecastle on the morrow.
So whilst the ‘wimminfolk’ went sightseeing and shopping in Princes St etc, us chaps were at Tynecastle, where we saw Wee bud score the only goal of the game. Happy days and my Canadian Uncle got to see the Teddies for the very first time. He’d see them for the rest of his visit including the League Cup final a few weeks later.
Anyway, that’s my relationship, boyhood at least, with Hearts. Although I wanted to beat them as keenly as any other team when we played them and there have been other memories of playing them, some not so good but mostly very good, I always had a sort of soft spot for them. I mean, Hearts versus that other mob in Edinburgh? It was never up for debate who I wanted to win. However all that has changed, and very much so in the last 16 months.
When Whyte came in and decimated our club, I was more than aware it would be manna from heaven for certain clubs; it didn’t exactly take too much rocket science to figure that one out. But the glee and outright hatred from all and sundry at Tynecastle, didn’t so much surprise me or take me unawares but if truth be told saddened me just a little. Don’t get me wrong I am not and never have been some wee innocent abroad here when it comes to the Teddies, but the vitriol from the Jambos was what you would have expected from the Tims. So be it.
However, as the saying goes you should be careful what you wish for and boy oh boy has that phrase come back to haunt what is ultimately now a horrible, nasty wee club, just like all the rest. The announcement that Hertz are now in administration didn’t have me a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ as such but it did sharpen an already finely honed sense of schadenfreude and contempt on my part.
So where are we? Let there be no doubt; in a normal, healthy football environment the way this horrible, vindictive shower of no marks - a club whose crackpot of a chairman/owner, a Lithuanian basket case who had the audacity to call our club cheats last year - and the SFA and SPL would be investigated as to the chicanery and skulduggery that has allowed HoMFC to limp along well into the close season unscathed.
It is inconceivable that the game’s authorities didn’t know the true situation at Tynecastle before the end of last season. As if all those unpaid wages dotted down through the last couple of seasons wasn’t enough of a clue? But no matter, Hearts whilst being insolvent and trading under false pretenses were still allowed to stick their nose in the trough at Hampden on April 15th just past and allowed a vote in a con that was designed to hamper for another season at least our return to the top flight where we should always have been in the first place. That shower got to vote, yet we didn’t? To add insult to injury, when the vote didn’t go their way the Hearts chairman was one of the most vociferous in condemning St Mirren and Ross County. This wee hole called Scotland is beyond corrupt.
So what happens next? Maybe it’s just me, but I want Hearts dealt with just as ruthlessly as Rangers FC were. End of. They need to be hurtled down the leagues to the bottom tier, just as we were. They need to be fined just as we were. Any ‘prize’ monies they are owed should be withheld, just as happened to us. An illegal transfer embargo would be a help also as would an unholy and unjust desire to strip them of two Scottish Cups won in the ‘Vlad the Mad’ era. ‘Sporting integrity’ I believe it is called.
As for the rest of the gory details? I personally couldn’t give a toss who owns what, what Hearts owe who, who the creditors/administrators are, who has or owns the deeds at Tynecastle, who is going to buy, who is going to, or might lease Tynecastle back to Hearts yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m only interested in ‘justice’ as was meted out to our club last year.
I also don’t think it is wrong or outwith their normal duties that the management of Rangers FC are looking at the developments of this Hearts situation closely and going over events and SFA/SPFL judgements with a fine tooth comb. Anything other is a dereliction of their duties to the Rangers support. On that however, I won’t be holding my breath.
Going off on a slight tangent here if I may. For years we’ve been told that FF is not representative of the Rangers support at large, which may well be true. Within the small sphere that is FF, those of us who have despised the club’s ‘dignified silence’ on just about every issue, have been told that we’re not even representative of FF.
Well on that score the worm over the last few years on the subject of ‘dignified silence’ definitely seems to have turned. Even in the small goldfish bowl that is FF it is those who still believe in ‘turning the other cheek’’ who are now well and truly unrepresentative of this website. It is something the club’s management would do well to consider as this Gorgie Rd sham plays out. After the trials that ‘tribulated’ (I know) us last summer our management shouldn’t need to be told that they had better have an opinion on the subject.
Anyway back to HoMFC and their fans. As a FF poster on a Hearts forum recently pointed out: In this time of trouble Rangers fans would have been happy to give you some aid and succor. But no, you decided to jump into bed with the filth, so let’s see how far that wee footballing west meets east of Scotland ‘entente cordiale’ gets you. Not very far, I’ll wager.
Here’s the rub for any Jambos looking in. If the the enemies of Rangers had got their way who do you think they would have identified as their next victims after we’d been herded into the footballing gas chambers, guess who would be next on their list? That’s right - YOU.
Yours in Rangers, then, now and forever.
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