My Football with Hibernian fan Irvine Welsh: "It’s nice to be able to sit and watch a game without worrying about bottles and cans smashing off your head"

Irvine Welsh My Football, Hibernian
(Image credit: Future)

First game you ever attended?

Hibs 2-1 Motherwell at Easter Road in 1968.

Childhood hero and did you ever meet them?

Pat Stanton. Yes, he’s now a good friend and played a barman in The
Acid House

Finest moment as a player?

Scoring with a header at the same time as being punched in the face by the goalkeeper at Ainslie Park school. I was semi-conscious, but smiling as I saw the distraught keeper try to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Favourite thing about going to a game?

Meeting the bunch of mad fuckers I’ve been going with for many years. Their demented philosophies have formed all my views on life and I love the bastards to pieces.

How has watching football changed for you since you were a kid?

It’s got shit in some ways compared to the carnage it used to be, but in other ways I like it. It’s nice to be able to sit and watch a game without worrying about bottles and cans smashing off your head.

Which past player would you bring back for your current side and why? 

Stanton – a quality player and great captain. 

Who has the hardest shot you’ve ever seen?

At Hibs, Erich Schaedler. In general, Peter Lorimer.  

Which player has never received enough credit?

Alan Gordon of Hibs was a brilliant player who had the misfortune to play at the same time as Kenny Dalglish.

Who do you admire in football and why?

Guys like Lewis Stevenson and Paul Hanlon at Hibs, who are one-club men and always give 100 per cent. 

Which player do you like even though they never played for you?

Alan Anderson – ex-Hearts centre-half who also owned The Pivot in Infirmary Street and rarely barred me, even as a young yob. He was also an average defender. I could never look at him without thinking of all the goals Colin Stein, Peter Cormack, Alan Gordon and Jimmy O’Rourke scored against him.

Favourite club badge that isn’t your own team’s? 

Roma – there’s some weird ambitious shit going on there.

Best place you’ve watched a game? 

Easter Road before they built a stand at the Dunbar End. It only backed onto the green hills of Queen’s Park, but you felt it was a portal to the highlands and freedom. 

Favourite football book?

The Damned United.

Strangest thing you’ve ever seen or heard at a game?

Once saw a guy stab another guy for allegedly trying to chat up his girlfriend at the ice rink the previous night. It was excessive and also misguided – the guy he stabbed wasn’t even at the ice rink.

Best thing you’ve ever encountered at an away game?

Leeds vs Hibs in the 1974 UEFA Cup second round. Was still at school. Met a bird from Leeds and snogged her for most of the game.

What’s the best food you’ve ever had at a game?

Steak bridies at Dunfermline just edged out Kilmarnock’s brilliant pies. 

Tell us an interesting fact about one of your players or managers we won’t know.

As well as being a great footballer and my accountant, Alan Gordon was a Spanish interpreter for big gigs in the European Parliament.

Best advice you’ve ever heard from a player or manager?

“Get the fuck out of this pub you fucking junky bastard” – ex-Hibs boss Eddie Turnbull during his tenure as manager at Fox’s Bar in Leith. It was a shit bar so sound advice.

What’s your most treasured piece of memorabilia?

I have the Hibs handbook from 1952, which my dad gave me. Strange to think of them as one of the biggest clubs in Europe back then. 

Strangest place you’ve met a player?

Andy Goram and Trevor Steven at a Spice Girls party.

Have you ever met a player who didn’t play for your club, but you were very excited to see anyway? 

Stan Bowles. Loved him as a player. 

Who’s your favourite player in the current game?

John McGinn.

If you could drop yourself into your all-time team, who would you like to play alongside? 

Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

Do you have any matchday routines or superstitions?

Drink excessively.  

Favourite room-mate? 

Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

Who should we ask these questions to next? 

Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

Find a ticket for Hearts vs Hibernian in the Scottish FA Cup final on Ticketmaster

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Irvine Welsh is a celebrated novelist, playwright and short story writer, best known for work such as Trainspotting, The Acid House, Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance, Skagboys, Filth, Porno, The Blade Artist and Dead Men's Trousers. He supports Hibernian and has been attending games ast Easter Road since 1968.