Football Without The Fans Is Nothing | Hearts

The great Jock Stein played his part in changing the face of football. The legendary manager was famously quoted as saying, “football without the fans is nothing” how right he was! Here at 90 Minute Cynic, we want to reinforce the great mans words and give the games most important people, the fans, their say.

Today we speak to Matthew Leslie.  Matt is a journalist based in Aberdeen and an appreciator of classic rock. . Follow Matt on twitter @mattleslie74

What team do you support?


How often to you go to watch your team?

Being away from Edinburgh and the job usually demanding I be somewhere else on a Saturday not as much as I would like

What’s your first memory of “going to the football”?

Ironically enough it was a Hibs match I was taken to first. An Aberdeen supporting relation took me to Easter Road to see Fergie’s great side of the era tear Hibs apart (3-0 going on 8). First Hearts match was a year later (1983) as the yo-yo years before that had put them off having seen the team sink from Terrible Trio days to that.

What do you think of entrance prices at football?

Abominable. Given the other and cheaper sources of entertainment around it is no surprise that people are put off from going and clubs do have a bit of a cheek lamenting poor attendences. When I worked in the North East of England Sunderland for example were one such club but given the quality of football on offer they were doing well to get 30,000 -some would say they were fortunate it wan’t less given had bad the standard was and how high the prices.

What’s your average spend on match days?

It would be ticket and travel only (which would depend where I’m travelling from – reside in Aberdeen these days). A ticket for Hearts plus pertol or rail fare would be in the region of £50-60 – double what I was paying when as a teenager following Hearts from where I was living at the time (Newcastle in that case)

Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not?

Not normally. Tacky and overpriced but given the statement last autumn about the club being weeks away from survival I made a few purchases.

Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans?

Yes. And not via the means of statements begging for money because the financial experts on the board have played Russian Roulette with the club’s financial situation

Are you in favour of reintroducing standing areas at stadiums?

No. I remember the events of April 15th 1989 only too clearly. If they were introduced, I wouldn’t have a lot of confidence in our authorities to properly police it.

Do you play at any level?

Not since school no.

Do you or would you consider coaching at any level?

No. I wouldn’t have the required patience that role needs

If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be?

Referees to explain on camera why they saw a controversial decision in the way they did. It would help diffuse a situation

Favourite moment following your team?

When Hearts broke the 36-year trophy jinx by beating Rangers to win the Scottish Cup in 1998. There were times before that when you wondered if they were ever going to do it.

Favourite football moment not featuring your team?

Watching Liverpool’s comeback to win the 2005 European Cup was jaw-droppin

If you could have been at any game in history what would it be?

1928 England v Scotland – just to see how good the Wembley Wizards were

The thing that annoys you most about football?

Players diving and the bland interviews they give these days. Characters seem to have gone.

What do you think of the transfer window? Should it stay or should clubs be allowed to buy at any point of the season?

Should have kept the old system. Buy players up until March. Transfer window puts too much pressure on clubs to bring someone in for the sake of it (I give you the 500k Hearts spent on the final day of the summer window of 2007 to bring in Christian Nade – that cost us in more than one way)

What do you think of the proposed 12-12-18 Scottish League reconstruction plans?

Could only be conceived by someone working in football who actually despises the game.

Whats the best bit of “banter” you’ve heard or seen at a football game?

The lunatic who would sit behind me when Tynecastle had the Shed and would not be happy unless the stretcher-bearers were brought out (“break his legs” being a common cry. When one of our players would go down he’d call them all sorts of names and brand them with cowardice)

What makes your club so special?

Honestly couldn’t tell you. You choose your team and you stick with it – good and bad

Living proof that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he said “all men are created equal” although considering Thomas Jefferson also said an African nation would win the World Cup before the year 2000 why should anyone listen to him? Bryan has a passion for Celtic, a love of football and a tendency to make completely absurd statements in such a way that you might actually agree with them. Follow on twitter @bryanmcmanus

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