Congratulations to Colin Calderwood, the new Hibs manager. He has the burdz very best wishes for a long and successful career at Easter Road. At last, he has the chance to shine on home soil and I hope the club give him the time and support to do so. You see, home ties bind. And Colin is a boy from my home area….
So a wee bit of insider knowledge: here are five things Hibees should know about their new manager, things you are unlikely to find out anywhere else.
- His nickname is Sass (though I’m sure few folk call him it these days). Short for “sassidge” ie Scottish pronunciation of sausage, on account of his unfeasibly tanned countenance, that we all used to marvel at at school. That and his glorious legs…. When he played for Scotland, a sure fire way of finding other fans from the toon at a Scotland game was to holler “c’mon sass”. Sad but true.
- He captained Lochryan FC under 18s the year they swept the board, beating Rangers and Celtic under 18s, and everyone else besides. It was probably the most successful boys’ team ever to come out of Stranraer.
- Colin wasn’t the most talented footballer in that team but he was the only one to go on and have a first class professional football career. He was an extremely dedicated and hard working footballer, always willing to learn and develop, and he stayed a professional well into his 30s because he worked hard at his craft and his fitness. Think John Collins. But with nobs on.
- He was/is a fitness fanatic who it was rumoured, refused to allow central heating in his house because he believed it might compromise his immune system (in other words, would make him soft and prone to sniffles and germs). If anyone can sort out the Hibs underachievers, Colin can.
- I, and a few others, worked hard to ensure that Calderwood was given a civic reception by the council in the late 90s. Unbelievably, his home town had done nothing to honour his achievements. He came, spent time talking with everyone, stayed right to the end, posed for innumerable photos, signed hunners of autographs and when called upon to speak, was fairly overcome at the idea that we would want to honour him. A more modest, unassuming, principled, diligent fella you could not hope to meet. But one with a steely spine who is also hugely disciplined and ambitious.
Some Hibees may be underwhelmed. Don’t be. Colin Calderwood is just the kind of manager we need more of in Scotland. He has honed his managerial skills in England and worked with some of the best, who hold him in the highest regard. We can be terribly sniffy in Scotland about footballers who have spent their entire career down south. In this case, it would be totally undeserved. Be assured that Colin Calderwood, given the time, space and resources, could turn out to be a very good manager for you indeed.