Last nights`s big event at the Corn Exchange saw the 3rd batch of Hearts “greats” being formally honoured by inclusion in the Hall of Fame. From the list of nominees, there is unlikely to be much surprise at the winners – Bobby Walker, Alfie Conn, Donald Ford, Jim Jefferies and Henry Smith. This year`s Wallace Mercer Lifetime Achievement Award went to the late Bobby Parker, whose service to the club as player, captain, coach, scout and chairman spanned almost 50 years
I`m pleased to see Jefferies and Ford in the list. Both played at a time when Hearts fortunes were in decline – that`s basically from the early 60s through until about 1980. Against that backdrop, Ford still managed to score almost an average of 2 goals every 5 games – something that we can only dream about as we watch today`s team !! Jefferies was a fairly unspectacular player, but captained Hearts for about 5 years in the 70s including having the ignominy of the club`s first ever relegation in 1977. However his part in building a fine team as manager in the 90s – including the 1998 adventure – deserves special recognition, I think.
The inaugural event 2 years ago saw Messrs Willie Bauld, John Cumming, Dave Mackay, Gary Mackay, Paul Hartley, Steven Pressley and John Robertson honoured – with Wallace Mercer receiving a Lifetime Achievement award for his role in saving the club from extinction in the early 80s, and then overseeing its spectacular rise throughout that decade.
Last year`s event added Messrs Craig Gordon, Freddie Glidden, Craig Levein, Tommy Walker, Jimmy Wardhaugh and Alex Young to the list, with a special recognition being given to the squad of 1914 who signed up to McCrae`s Battalion en masse as World War 1 escalated.
I`m off to consult my Dad on who he thinks from his era should be in next year`s list of nominees. Who would you like to see nominated next year ?