Greetings Kankas and Kankies.
With Oz Kanka strutting his stuff down on the Antalya beaches and showing off his rippling muscles to the local talent, perhaps it is an opportune moment to recall another `blast from the past`.
The year was 1995 and I was making a family visit to Scotland from my Air Base in Saudi Arabia.
At that time, I was a member of the Hibernian Youth Development Club and when the secretary (daughter of the Hibs Chairman, Douglas Cromb) heard that I was intending to visit the Stadium, she and her father invited me to the Directors Box for the match against Aberdeen on 21 January 1995.
To say I was delighted would have been an understatement because I had never been `behind the scenes` at Easter Road Stadium in all the MANY years of supporting Hibs.
The day arrived and I was greeted and made welcome by Douglas Cromb, who then introduced me to all the Hibs and Aberdeen directors. The `refreshments` were flowing and I was made to feel very much `at home`.
With Hibs 3-0 up at half-time the Directors Lounge was a good place to be ! Food and more `refreshments` were served and then it was back to our seats for the 2nd half.
Hibs won 4-1 that day and there were a few `names` playing who some of you `older` kankas might remenber, ie, Keith Wright, Pat McGinlay, Kevin McAllister, Gareth Evans, and Darren Jackson.
Incidentally, Gareth Evans lives in my home town, North Berwick, and I met him 3 months ago at the North Berwick Primary School Sports Day when I was there supporting my friend's daughter. Gareth is presently the manager of Brechin City. Perhaps he is being groomed as a future Hibs manager ??!!
After the match, it was back to the Directors Lounge for more `hospitality` and it was there that I met and had a long chat with Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly. I had met him previously when he was a player and I was a young lad, but I diplomatically didn't mention that to him !!
After the Aberdeen contingent had left, the Hibs Manager, Alex Miller (now with the Liverpool coaching staff) was invited in to give his match report and I offered my farewells to Douglas Cromb. However, he insisted on my remaining for the debrief which I considered a great honour (I was the only non-Director present !).
As you would expect, it was an upbeat report, but he also gave an assessment of all the players individual performances. He then gave his thoughts on the team and tactics to be employed at the following week's match. A very thorough and interesting debrief and a pleasure for me to have witnessed it.
Definitely a day to remember. It is not often that a mere mortal like me has a chance to be a V.I.P. for a day !
Before closing, I should mention that I happen to know Hibbie Kanka Athole and his sons were also recently V.I.P.s for the day at Easter Road Stadium and met the present manager, Tony Mowbray, and the players. Perhaps he might give a report about it sometime in the future ??!!
Also, has any of you other kankas had a V.I.P. day out in your team's Stadium ? For example, I wonder if Doctor ManYoo Kankie has some stories from Old Trafford to tell us ??!!
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim