Hibee Hollie makes bad boy so proud
In the early 1980s, Bobby Thomson was the bad boy of Scottish football, a controversial figure who created football headlines for all the wrong reasons.
A maverick with a self- destructive streak to match, Thomson appeared impervious to discipline and his uncompromising style earned him a fearsome reputation.
The man with a fiery temper and unpredictable behaviour was made an example of by the authorities and received a mammoth seven-month ban after an altercation with a linesman during a Hibs match against St Johnstone in 1983.
Now, the 56-year-old care worker is simply a proud father, watching from the sidelines as daughter Hollie prepares for a new season with Hibernian Ladies. The pair are the only father and daughter to have represent the club at senior level.
Signed from Middlesbrough by Pat Stanton in 1982, he played 78 games for Hibs, his last game the New Year derby against Hearts in 1985. He said: “I loved it at Hibs and I was ready to sign a new contract with them that would’ve taken me to the end of my career. The manager wanted me to sign but he was soon sacked and John Blackley took over.
“John and I never saw eye-to-eye. I knew it was time to move on because there will only ever be one winner when a player and manager don’t get on.
“Nonetheless I loved my time with Hibs and I couldn’t be happier than to see Hollie pulling on that famous shirt. Not many fathers can say their daughters have gone on to play for the same team they did, so it’s a terrific honour for us both.”
Hollie was too young to have witnessed Bobby playing at his peak, however, even from a tender age she wanted nothing more than to be a footballer like her father. Refusing to let the old stereotypes of woman’s football stand in her way, Hollie proved time and again that she was a match for the boys she played against.
Bobby recalled: “Hollie has been football crazy from the day she was born and has only ever wanted to be a football player. She would be out from morning-to-night kicking the ball about, working on her skills by hitting it off a wall and controlling it. I never really gave her any advice because she’s such a strong character and was determined to do it all on her own.
“When we would go down the park and watch the boys playing she would tell me that she was as good as them, and she was. Hollie would join in and play with anyone such was her love for the game and I’m very proud of what she has achieved in the women’s game.
“She still plays with the same enthusiasm that she had at eight or nine and that’s key.”
Hollie’s story follows a similar path to a lot of girls with a love of the beautiful game. At ten she was informed she could no longer play with the boys and would have to find a girl’s team if she wanted to continue in the game.
She quickly attracted the attention of some big clubs and had spells with Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Everton and Hamilton Academical before joining Hibs in 2008. The 25-year-old midfielder has won nine Scotland caps and said: “I always strive to get better and when Hibs asked me to join I didn’t think twice about it. Hibernian is a big and very successful club and I wanted to be part of that.
“This is my fourth year with the club and it has been fantastic to be part of it all, challenging for cups and league titles every year.
“The aim is for more women’s teams to become professional, not just in Scotland, but all around the world because, in my opinion, some of the women are equally as gifted as the men.”
Hibs Ladies kick off their season this weekend, away to Celtic on Sunday, in the first round of the Premier League Cup.