Banter is not allowed at Easter Road

On Sunday, Hibernian faced Dundee United in Sunday’s live televised game. The 2-1 victory pushed Hibs to the top of the table and, following Celtic’s 1-1 draw with St Johnstone, keeps them there, until the weekend at least. However, the result, or league position, is not what has hit the headlines today, instead it is a bit of banter that has been blown out of all proportions.

Hearts announced last week that they owe HMRC. in the region of £450k. The official announcement on the Hearts website highlighted that unless the fans rally round, they may not be able to fulfil their remaining SPL fixtures. The severity of the situation is clear, but it is no surprise that a minority at their bitter rivals would take this opportunity to make fun of their plight. After all, banter back and forth is a part of football, and particularly a part of the rivalry between teams such as Hibs and Hearts.

On Sunday, the public announcer at Easter Road, decided to play Taxman by The Beatles at half time, in his own personal bit of banter at the expense of his rivals. It’s just a bit of harmless banter you might say, but it seems that you are wrong, at least in the eyes of the top brass at Easter Road. The announcer, Willie Docherty, has lost his job due to what Hibs say is breach of contract.

I am not for a second making light of Hearts current situation – I personally hope that they pay their bills and survive – but this incident wasn’t worthy of a man losing his job. I struggle, perhaps naively, to see who can be offended by this. I cannot see any risk of the crowd getting upset on the day, because Dundee United were the visitors, not Hearts. In fact, it probably raised a few smiles. Even if Hearts fans were watching on TV, or reading about it in the daily papers, would they really be offended by a pop song? I think not (if they were being honest).

Falkirk recently suspended their announcer, after they referred to Rangers as “Sevco franchise” during a half time announcement. Falkirk did eventually see sense and reinstated him. If Hibs really wanted to make a statement, why didn’t they do similar? A brief suspension would have been more than sufficient.

Let’s have some common sense back and allow harmless banter to continue in Scottish football.

C Adey

Owner of Scottish Football Forums. A fan of all forms of football, whether its being at the game, watching on TV, playing 7 a side, playing FIFA, playing Football Manager, or simply talking about it