Struggling to find a suitable Christmas gift for the Hibs’ fan in your life? Look no further. A new book Bestie Beastie Belgium is an absorbing account of a ‘green and white knuckle ride’ through the 1980s, written by lifelong fan Colin Leslie.
Why would any right-minded Hibs’ supporter want to go and dredge up the 1980s asks the author. No frills, no trophies, precious few derby wins and an alarming slide towards near extinction.
That question is answered in fine detail with tales of George Best, arguably the finest footballer to grace the beautiful game, the golden generation of youngsters, Collins, Weir, Hunter, Kane, May, Roughie and Goram, and Stevie Archibald who signed from Barcelona after turning down Liverpool.
The 1985 League Cup run beating both sides of the Old Firm, losing to Dundee United in the last game of that season when a goal 60-miles away sparked mayhem in the East Terracing, the battle of Easter Road when Graeme Souness’s multi-millionaires started their journey and European nights returning to Leith.
The author has captured these memorable days perfectly, and after reading late into the night my confused wife asked me in the morning: “Who is Miller and why must he go?”
Having watched Eric Stevenson, Peter Cormack, Peter Marinello, Joe McBride and Joe Baker grace the Easter Road turn in the 60s and the ‘best brand of football the world’s ever seen’ from the Tornadoes in the 70s then Keith, Franck and Russell in the 90s it’s easy to dismiss the Trainspotting decade but looking back it wasn’t that bad.
As a football book aficionado I am more than happy to recommend this to fans of all persuations.
Colin told the Edinburgh Reporter: “The eighties may have been tough to watch for Hibs fans, particularly the derbies, but it was a period of characters and character-building. I started off the decade being lifted over the turnstiles at Easter Road as a primary school kid and finished the decade in my late teens with a boozy trip to Belgium following Hibs to Liege.
“There were plenty of great memories, drama and classic matches in between. It’s been a pleasure to return to those formative years and to speak to the players who were my heroes, from Gordon Rae to John Collins to Mickey Weir. These guys gave their all for Hibs and gladly gave their time to contribute their insight to this book.
“It’s also been a pleasure to include so many stories from the supporters – they were and continue to be the lifeblood of Hibs and their recollections prove that while the eighties were less than glorious, they were rarely dull.”
Having lived through that decade I have to agree: “It was the ‘George’ Best of times, it was the Worst of times.
The book is available to pre-order and order from this website and will be available in the Hibernian Club Store from Tuesday 14 December, when the home fixture against Dundee will be played.