Tuesday, July 19, 2011

James Connolly-Enough of a man without the myth

James Connolly is my hero. The only person on the planet that even comes close to inspiring me as much as he does is Malcolm X. An often repeated story is how James Connolly was a ball boy at Easter Road. In fact, as his wont it seems, Hibs Historian Alan Lugton, goes further

“As a twelve year old barefoot street urchin James Connolly would carry the player’s kits down to Easter Road for them which ensured him of a sixpence and free admission to the match, and he carried out hundreds of odd jobs at the ground”.

He then goes on to say that James Connolly was at the formation of Hibs? Really? A 10 year old boy was there?  At a time when children were seen and not heard? Sent down mines and up chimneys, a 10 year old boy was at the formation of a football club? I don't think so. Quite frankly, in 1875, how aware of football do you really think a 10 year old boy was? Given that Hearts had formed a year before but hadn't played a game, I'm going to say not that aware.

Lugton goes on to state that Connolly went on to visit Easter Road on numeous occasions before his death in 1916. Really? He emigrated to America in 1902, clearly inspired by Hibs Scottish Cup win before returning, not to Scotland, but to Ireland in 1907 where he remained until his death.

Previous to that he got married in 1889, formed the The Socialist Movement in Edinburgh in 1890 before leaving for Ireland in 1896.

To suggest James Connolly was a "fanatical" Hibs fan is patent nonsense and how do we know this for sure? Connolly would never have supported anything which discriminated against anyone, something Hibs did throughout the entire time Connolly lived in Edinburgh.

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