Hibernian FC

WHAT HIBS MEANS TO ME | MICHAEL WEIR

WHAT HIBS MEANS TO ME | MICHAEL WEIR

By: Hibernian Media on 02 Apr, 2020 08:49

“He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, it’s Mickey Weir.’

A popular figure as a player in two spells in Leith, Michael’s song can still be heard around Easter Road whenever he makes a half-time appearance on the pitch.

Growing up in North Edinburgh, Michael was surrounded by Hibs supporters in his family, so attending matches at Easter Road was normalised from a young age.

“My family were all huge Hibs supporters – my grandparents, my uncles, my dad. I was basically dragged along to the games to watch Hibs and I got a taste for it.

“I always remember the European nights when I was young, watching the likes of Cropley, Edwards and Stanton playing. Saturday was a big day for my family, too. They’d get the bus from the Doocot pub in Drylaw and watch Hibs home and away.”

Making his first steps in the world of Hibernian during the Turnbull’s Tornadoes era means Michael’s early memories are largely positive, with some of the world’s biggest clubs arriving in EH7 for midweek European Cup fixtures.

“It was magical for me as a young man, going along to watch a really good side with such a big support. In those days the terracing was full. European nights were always jampacked. It was just great.”

It was a fellow winger and number seven who caught his eye at a time when there were many fantastic players plying their trade at Easter Road.

“My favourite player was definitely Alex Edwards. He played with the number seven on his back. He was wide-right, and I remember him being beside us in the terracing. I really enjoyed watching him.”

After watching Pat Stanton and co from the stands throughout his childhood, Michael was over the moon to be asked by one of his heroes to sign for the club at the age of 16.

“I signed a two-year contract when Pat Stanton was the manager, and it was obviously huge for me and my family at that time.

“Pat and Jimmy O’Rourke were the reason I signed. My dad was a huge Hibs supporter. His heroes were Gordon Smith and Pat Stanton – so I was never going to go anywhere else. I was always going to sign for Hibs.

“I came in during the period with Pat Stanton, Jimmy O’Rourke and George Stewart. These people were the ones that made me really. They were big Hibs supporters and they made you realise how important it was to play for Hibs. They always drummed it into you and they were the ones that gave me the chance.”

Like any young player, Michael leaned on more experienced heads for guidance during his first years at Easter Road. He believes he was fortunate to be in the company of some very supportive teammates.

“I was very lucky because I had a lot of good professionals around me at the club, the likes of Gordon Rae, Ralph Callachan and Benny Brazil. These guys encouraged the younger players and they had an affinity for the club. We were lucky that we were amongst older players who guided us.”

During his early years at Hibs, Michael trained alongside many other young players aiming to make their mark on the club’s first team squad, with the likes of Paul Kane and John Collins with him in the reserves. 

“There was a good group of players coming through and I was lucky to be one of them. George Stewart and Jimmy O’Rourke were great coaches and they really made us believe that we could play for Hibs.

“We had a real positive feeling towards the club and that was mainly down to Pat, who was obviously a legend of the club. Hibernian Football Club was steeped in Pat Stanton.”

After years of dreaming of playing for the club, Mickey’s first team debut came in a League Cup match away to Airdrie in 1983. A winger by trade, Pat Stanton asked him to play left-back.

“I would have played anywhere. It didn’t bother me. I was just delighted to be playing for Hibs. It wouldn’t have mattered if he’d put me in goals, I would have played, I just wanted to make my debut!

“I played left-back and must have done okay, and that was the chance I needed. It was in the old League Cup - in those days a lot of young players would play in the early games.

“I remember having to finish up the duties, working all day and then being told I was playing at night. We were cleaning up and doing the boots and then the manager told me ‘you’re in, you’re playing tonight and I want you to play at left-back’ and that was the start of it.”

Michael made his Easter Road debut the following week against Dumbarton in Pat Stanton’s final match in charge, with a large Weir following in their usual spot on the terracing.

“My whole family came along. They used to all go to games. They’d come along to support me and watch me playing for Hibs because it was something they really wanted me to do.

“It must have been a great thrill for them to see their son or nephew playing for Hibs which is something they’d all dreamed of.”

As a Hibs fan first and foremost, Michael was affected like everyone else with the uncertainty surrounding Wallace Mercer’s attempted takeover of the club. As an employee he was faced with the strange possibility of having no club to support or play for.

“It was really tough - you’re not expecting to lose your club, having supported them and played for them. The most important thing was that Hibs survived, that’s the way I looked at it.

“Players come and go, managers come and go, but as long as the club survived. I was worried about my job and career as well but the main thing was that it was unbelievable that we may lose the club.”

The following season Michael was part of a famous day at Hampden Park as the club secured the Skol Cup with a 2-0 win over Dunfermline Athletic.

He was involved in both Hibs goals, winning the penalty which Tommy McIntyre converted for the first and playing in Keith Wright for the second.

“It was unbelievable, for us to bounce back and win a cup that year was incredible. The main thing was we were just desperate to keep the club afloat, the club was struggling at that time and the following season we had a chance to make our mark in the league and cups.

“Everything seemed to go right that season, we had a lot of good players on form and we got in the winning habit very early in the season which is what you need to do if you’re going to be successful.

“The only thing that would really match it was when the club won the Scottish Cup. At that time nobody gave us any hope of winning anything, it was just incredible. To go through the season we had and then win something at the end of it was amazing.”

The cup final and bus journey back to Edinburgh which followed after the win over Dunfermline was the clearest illustration of the size of the Hibernian support that Mickey had ever witnessed.

“It was unbelievable. We were looking outside and seeing thousands and thousands of people - they just kept coming. We were driving past the Maybury and the streets were full and then we got to the stadium and that was full too.

“We didn’t realise how big the club was. At the final itself there was a full house and something like 8000 Hibs supporters outside who couldn’t get in to Hampden – that’s how big the support was.

“I’ve always said if the club can get success then the Hibs supporters will come out, there’s a massive support there and if they can be successful more often the support is definitely there.”

Still a regular attendee at Easter Road, Hibernian will always have a special place in Michael’s heart. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere.

Words: Daniel Shields

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