Star fans to mark the best save in Hibs history

IT was one of the most memorable moments in Hibs history – when fans came together to stop their beloved team being merged with arch rivals Hearts.

And now, 20 years on, some of the Easter Road club's most devout supporters are coming out in force to pay tribute to the successful campaign.

Loyal Hibees Craig and Charlie Reid – better known to the world as The Proclaimers – will be headlining an Usher Hall concert to mark the anniversary, while fellow musician Fish and comedian Bill Barclay will also be performing at the event, hosted by Grant Stott.

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Former Hibs legends including Eddie Turnbull and Lawrie Reilly are set to appear, as well as current players and former managers.

Sir Tom Farmer, the club's majority shareholder, will be a guest of honour at the concert, having saved Hibs from the proposed takeover by the then Hearts' chairman Wallace Mercer back in 1990, by acquiring a controlling interest in the club. Another guest of honour will be Kenny McLean, son of the late Kenny McLean who led the Hands off Hibs campaign 20 years ago.

Along with a loyal band of supporters, Mr McLean senior worked tirelessly to save the club from extinction by raising awareness of their plight, convincing shareholders not to sell to Mercer, buying up available shares and convincing investors such as Sir Tom to get on board.

Mr McLean, 61, said: "My father went along to see Tom Farmer and what happened between the two of them I'll never know but Sir Tom decided to come on board. We have come from bad management and almost becoming extinct to – with the intervention of my father and Sir Tom Farmer – becoming the envy of most football clubs in Britain.

"Now we have got a good stadium, a fantastic training facility and no debt to speak of.

"My dad died 15 years ago and it's a pity he wasn't here to see this – he would have been delighted.

"Everybody looked up to him and I think that's the reason they chose him to lead the campaign.

"In one corner was Mercer and in the other was my father and Mercer lost."

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He added: "Some of the young players weren't even born when this happened so it's important to keep the awareness going.

"Every single person who is performing are Hibs supporters and they are doing it free of charge."

Willie McEwan, treasurer of the Hibs Former Players' Association, said the charity concert had been organised to celebrate the last 20 years of the club.

He said: "This will mark the highs and lows of the club in the last 20 years and we want to get fans together to celebrate just how far this club has come since it was threatened with extinction 20 years ago.

"It's important for generations and I think it will sell out."

Proceeds from the event on 9 June will be split between Alzheimer Scotland and Hibernian Former Players' Association. Tickets go on sale on Thursday.


HIBS were on the brink of financial ruin in 1990.

Wallace Mercer, right, the then chairman of Hearts, proposed a merger of the two clubs, but Hibs fans believed that the proposal was more like a hostile takeover.

They formed the Hands Off Hibs campaign group, led by Kenny McLean, to save the club from folding.

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Campaigners put pressure on shareholders not to sell to Mercer, while a rally was held at Easter Road, which was fronted by The Proclaimers.

The campaign succeeded when fans persuaded businessman Tom Farmer to get on board and he then acquired a controlling interest in Hibs.

After the attempted takeover by Mercer, Hibs went on to a triumphant win, claiming the 1991 Scottish League Cup Final.

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