Colin McPherson

Photographer and Visual Artist

Posts tagged ‘football’

Hearts surgery

Photograph

The storm clouds have been gathering over Heart of Midlothian FC all summer.

The venerable old lady of Scottish football is frail and in ailing health. Having befriended a rich Lithuanian, she finds all her savings gone and day-to-day life is a struggle. Can she carry on on her own? Might she be forced to move out of her home of more than 100 years? Can her family and friends come to her rescue?

Hearts supporters arriving at the Gorgie Suite for pre-match corporate hospitality prior to the match with Hibs. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Hearts supporters arriving for pre-match corporate hospitality prior to the match with Hibs.
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

My phone rings. It’s one of the old lady’s friends. Can I help her? She is in desperate need of a make-over to attract new suitors and I am the only photographer in his contact book. I tell him I’ve never been particularly fond of this old lady, often found her to be be grumpy and bad-tempered, but my motto is never kick a man when he’s down, so I suppose I could extend this courtesy to an old woman.

Former Hearts player Jimmy Snaderson is interviewed at a corporate function at Tyncastle Park before the match with Hibs.. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Former Hearts player Jimmy Sanderson is interviewed at Tyncastle Park before the match with Hibs..
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

After a few more conversations, I discover that most of the people who help the old lady on a day-to-day basis have been made redundant. Her care is in the hands of a small band of people retained to make sure that the life-support machine stays switched on and have been given the task to see if some medicine can be provided which will allow her to start making a recovery.

Two Hearts supporters watching the first-half action against Hibs. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Two Hearts supporters watching the first-half action against Hibs.
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

The brief for me was simple. Come down to her house on Sunday and take some photographs of her home and visitors. On this particular day she had a visit scheduled from a rather noisy neighbour from Leith and it was expected that the get-together would offer the chance to see the old lady and her friends partying long into the afternoon.

Hearts and Hibs players square up to each other during the match at Tynecastle. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Hearts and Hibs players square up to each other during the match at Tynecastle.
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

And so at the appointed hour I knocked on the rather dilapidated front door of the old lady’s house in Gorgie Road. I could see that she had had some renovations done since my last visit many years ago, indeed three-quarters of her house looks pristine and lovely, flags fluttering, seats upturned and everything ready for a great occasion, the first meeting of the season of these old old neighbours.

Hearts players celebrating the only goal of the game against Hibs. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Hearts players celebrating the only goal of the game against Hibs.
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

And so it was. The old lady extended a welcome of sorts to her neighbour, but then the two of them started their bickering and quarreling about who was top dog in Edinburgh. Back and forward it went with little purpose. I thought of some of the great arguments these two had had down the years, the passion was still there, but the debating skills had deserted them.

Sitting under photographs of former players, Hearts fans watch the closing stages nervously. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Sitting under photographs of former players, Hearts fans watch the closing stages nervously.
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

In the end it was one skillful riposte from the old lady which settled the argument. Her friends and family jumped and leapt for joy. It was just the tonic the old lady needed. She felt much better. There are challenges ahead, but long-term, with the help of all her friends and family – and a passing photographer – she may make a full recovery and be a fit, strong and healthy member of Scotland’s footballing community for years to come. Good health!

Hearts fans react with delight at the final whistle as they defeat Hibs 1-0. Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

Hearts fans react with delight at the final whistle as they defeat Hibs 1-0.
Photograph © Colin McPherson, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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When Saturday Comes

football (foot|ball)
Pronunciation:/ˈfʊtbɔːl/
noun
* 1 [mass noun] any of various forms of team game involving kicking (and in some cases also handling) a ball, in particular (in the UK) soccer.
* 2 the playing of football, especially in a stylish and entertaining way: his team played some impressive football.

These images were taken on assignment for When Saturday Comes magazine from matches across England, Scotland, Wales and continental Europe. The brief is always clear: get behind the scenes of the world’s favourite sport. Continue reading…

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