ONCE UPON A TIME IN LEITH
Perseverance is a strength. Courage. “To continue on a course of action even in the face of adversity or with little or no indication of success.” Kinda sums Hibernian FC up. It took Hibs over 100 years to win their third Scottish Cup. The CCS rose to the top quicker. if you ask any of the guys from other casual mobs, Rangers, Motherwell, Aberdeen, who were the ones they feared. The answer is always Hibs.
Saturdays boys live life with insults, drink lots of beer and wait for half time results.
Game Day. Our pal John Blackley* had arranged for us to come through for the Hibs home game at Easter Road, there were a few spare tickets going as most of the Hibs lads were away on a weekender to Germany.
As Saturdays go this was an early start for me, I had to be in Leith for 12 noon. If you know me then I’ve probably let you down with my timekeeping, It’s shite!! I’ve been late for court, late for a wedding and late for a job interview. Yeah, I got the job,and the wedding wasn’t mine, so no drama. Today I was early and somehow still managed to miss the train I was supposed to get, but then we’re on our way, a few cans for the journey and we are Edinburgh bond.
The Paninaro invite includes top photographer Brian Sweeney and all round good guy Bobby G. Bobby had been on this track a few times with Airdrie heading East to face the CCS. He’s paid witness to some boys losing their cool at heading through to Hibs. Today he’s more at ease and him and Sweeney strike up an instant rapport. Sweeney supports Albion Rovers, and Bobby, he’s a Diamond of course.
Edinburgh is the tourist capital of Scotland, they even built a castle here to keep you amused. Travel down Leith Walk and things start to look real, the thick stone of the tenements reminds me of Glasgow, there are no Scottie Dogs in the windows down here.
Persevere is the motto of Leith. The Persevere is the pub we head to at the bottom of Easter Road. Looking out the window I’m told the supermarket car park in view used to house Leith Central where the name Trainspotting was uttered by Begbie’s Father.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN LEITH PICTURES BY BRIAN SWEENEY
“This is our pub. And nobody has ever turned up here and wanted to go… Saturdays kids play one arm bandits, They never win but that’s not the point is it.”
When we had the initial idea to start Paninaro there was no set plan of how we were going to do it, It was just an idea, pie in the sky until it wasn’t. Rather than interview the footballers about a game of two halves we wanted to talk to the guys on the terraces wearing the Adidas ZX, ready to go toe-to-toe. We wanted to talk Football Fashion Music and to join the dots between then and now.
The CCS were a fearsome mob back in the day. And they know it. Some of them have taken me in and we’ve become good friends, others have lent an ear and answered questions about their younger selves. Being in their company a few times you notice just how close they are, that bond is still there 30 years later.
So I’m glad we launched Paninaro with Hibs. They set the standard in trust, friendship and reputation.
Special mention goes to two Hibs boys. First is Brad Welsh. Loved. Feared. Respected. A gifted boxer and friend who is missed by these men. Brad leaves behind a legacy which includes the Helping Hands charity in Leith and the Holyrood Boxing Gym which continues to do so much for the community. The first I heard of Brad he was arranging for kids in the area to get bikes, we never got the chance to interview Brad but had the honour of dedicating our first issue to him and to all the work he has done to bring people together.
The other lad is Big G. Graham Smith. We did get to meet. You were a giant of a man and a gentleman. Thank you for your words.
Thanks to the CCS / The Family for your hospitality. For taking Paninaro in, trusting us and wearing the t-shirt. Thanks for parking three miles from the game and making us walk there and back. We look forward to doing it all again.
Words: Robert Chambers
Pictures: Brian Sweeney