A HIBS fan who scooped nearly £7.1 million on the lottery has admitted he is now wealthy enough to buy his favourite club – but a Rolls-Royce and taking care of his family are top of the shopping list.
Painter and decorator Willie Sibbald, from Moredun, said he might even get a phone call from former Hibs star Paul Kane, who he has known for years and is leading the Forever Hibernian campaign seeking a fans’ buy-out, asking if he wants to invest.
But the 48-year-old said he does not have any plans to invest his winnings in the team despite admitting he could match the £3.5m offer which Hibs today rejected from the consortium led by David Low.
Instead, Willie is to share part of his fortune with best friend and fellow Tartan Army member Rab Layden to honour a pact they made to “see each other right” if either man’s lucky numbers came up.
The friends had already booked trips to see Scotland play in Germany and Poland, and are now likely attend all the team’s Euro qualifier matches following their amazing windfall.
Willie and Rab appeared at a press conference at the Glass House yesterday morning to enjoy glasses of champagne and toast their sudden success.
The pair, who have worked together for 17 years with Leith-based decorator business Bell Group, have yet to decide how to spend their newfound wealth.
Asked if he was interested in investing in Hibs, Rab pointed out his friend could now buy the club. He said: “You could Willie, £3.5m.”
Sitting in front of a gaggle of reporters, Willie appeared to take a moment to appreciate the possibility was real, then sat up a little in his chair. “I could,” he replied.
After a few seconds pondering the new reality that he could snap up his boyhood heroes, Willie replied: “We follow Scotland. We’ve been disappointed too many times with Hibs in recent years. I know Paul Kane so you never know, I might get a call.”
Following his win, Willie said he would be likely to swap his two-bedroom home for a more luxurious address, but pledged he would not move outside Edinburgh.
He won £7,084,472 with a lucky dip ticket bought at a newsagent on Moredun Park Road, but missed the lottery results on Saturday night after falling asleep in front of the TV while staying at his aunt’s house.
Willie said: “I never saw the lottery draw. I’d fallen asleep. I woke up and put the TV on and thought I better check the numbers. I was staying at my aunt’s house and I started shouting to her, ‘We’ve won the lottery!’ We read the numbers out to each other again and again.
“I wanted to phone someone but decided to wait. I left it on the table till Sunday. I wanted to put it high enough so my aunt’s dog couldn’t get hold of it.
“It’s not really sunk in yet. Everything is going at 100mph.
“I didn’t believe it when I checked the numbers.”
Willie plans to splash out on the motor Only Fools and Horses character Del Boy chose when he became a millionaire – a Rolls-Royce – but added he would have to learn to drive first. Willie, who is single and has no children, has a brother and the rest of his family he plans to take care of financially.
Rab, 57, from Craiglockhart, who is married with two children, said his friend phoned him to break the good news at 1.45pm on Monday.
He said: “Willie phoned me and just said, ‘I’ve got something to tell you, are you sitting down?’ And I went, ‘no, I’m actually working in the kitchen’.
“He went, ‘well just to let you ken, I’m the one who won the lottery - £7.1m’, and I about collapsed. We went to the yard to hand in our notice at 2.45pm then we went for a pint.
“We’d had this agreement for six or seven years. We would just talk about what would happen if we won, how we’d never have to work again, and we agreed to share it.”
Hitting the jackpot
EDINBURGH’S last lottery winner was Jane Park who won £1 million in July last year.
The 18-year-old from Niddrie scooped the winnings in her first attempt at playing the Euromillions.
In 2010 Brian and Ann Sharp, from Musselburgh, East Lothian, picked up their cheque for a £2m Lotto win at Tynecastle stadium from then manager Jim Jeffries and coach Billy Brown.
In July 2005, a hairdresser and her council worker husband from Midlothian celebrated scooping £8.5m. Sandra Fraser and husband Alex, who lived in Loanhead, were the toast of their village after hitting the jackpot.
Seven workers at an Edinburgh whisky plant were left toasting their success after scooping almost £2.4m in May 2004. The syndicate members, who worked at Chivas Brothers bottling plant at Newbridge, collected £341,893 each.
Chris and Colin Weir, pictured, won £161m on the EuroMillions lottery in 2011. The couple displaced ex-postal worker Angela Kelly, from East Kilbride, who became Scotland’s biggest winner in 2007 when she won a £35,425, 411.80 Euro-Millions jackpot.