Suffer the Little Children
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Hibernian was run by St. Patrick’s CYMS as an amateur charitable football club. The charitable work of Hibernian became legendary not only in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland’, (Lugton, 1999).
I’d like to talk about what I think of as the soul and ethos of Hibernian Football Club. The legacy, set firmly in place by Canon Hannan is one of decency, charity and giving. It is one of helping others and offering a helping hand where needed. That Edinburgh Hibernian came about was no accident, no casual happening, but was a concept of the kindly Canon in his quest to assist others. For this, I am personally very proud. Canon Hannan and club captain (and ancestor of Hibs great, Pat Stanton), Michael Whelahan, along with many like-minded men, wove the rich fabric of the early years of the club. The venerable organisation that belonged to and performed charitable deeds in the community of Edinburgh and the ancient Port of Leith. So began a strong association between the peoples of those places and the community of Hibernian Football Club.
That this football club of ours is so blessed and unique offers me great pleasure, satisfaction and not a little love. Not merely is it a football club alone when one stops to consider the goodness, caring, fellowship and good deeds that have emerged from this body of people from the shadows of the past. I say all this as a framework to a personal sentiment of mine. I have always desired that in some way the club might be able to return to it’s roots.
From the recent past has evolved a wonderful charity formed by Hibs supporters called ‘Dniprokids’. You can read more about this organisation and the fantastic work they perform in the link below. History shows that when Hibernian travelled to Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukraine to play a European tie, several fans visited a local orphanage with gifts. So began a binding relationship that has hugely benefited the children there. I won’t attempt to name all the individuals prominent in the charity but please read on below:
I would love the association with Dniprokids to evolve into a long-term relationship and for the followers of Hibernian to identify with this cause, to relate to it and to offer an outstretched hand of help. If the club were to invest itself in an official capacity it would personally fill me full of pride and the belief I still have in this institution called Hibernian. There lays a friendly challenge laid down to Hibs from a lifelong supporter of this club.
Happily the football club could only see benefits from such a patronage in my view. When the marketers talk of ‘branding’ and ‘relationship marketing’, what a wonderful identity to own – that of the club from and of the community, retaining and progressing strong ties with it’s people.
The football club that cares about it’s heritage, and community.
‘The social background of Hibernian Football Club, their founding and their early history, which have given us a club for all the community, a club with an unconquered soul. Supporting Hibernian is a way of life for thousands, and if we supporters wish to remain true to the humble roots from which Hibernian sprang, we should from time to time pause and consider whether we move under our own direction or at the bidding of forces we did not originate and cannot control.
The social background of Hibernian and early years of Hibernian Football Club should be remembered positively, as something to be treasured and as inspiration for the future. The making of Hibernian has been brave, colourful and romantic.’ (Lugton, 1999).