Australian Hibs fan flies 10,000 miles to watch cup final

Gordon McLeod. Picture: supplied
Gordon McLeod. Picture: supplied
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AUSTRALIAN Hibs fan Gordon McLeod has travelled half way round the world for Sunday’s cup final clash.

The 20-year-old – born and bred in Melbourne – learned all about Hibs from his grandad, who came from Edinburgh but lived next door.

Steven Sibbald gets set to depart from Sydney. Picture: contributed

Steven Sibbald gets set to depart from Sydney. Picture: contributed

Gordon said: “He would talk to me about The Famous Five, mainly Gordon Smith – I suppose that’s where I got my first name from – and everything else to do with Hibs.”

His grandad died when Gordon was ten and it was only then, after growing up with Aussie Rules, that he started playing football himself.

Five years later, on a family trip to the UK, he saw his first Hibs game – against Ross County.

“The funniest thing looking back on it all is that I saw Manchester United play at Old Trafford the week before. For whatever reason I decided I’d support Hibs over United.

“I spent the next two years working at McDonald’s, saving everything I earned to come back over and watch Hibs.”

His second Hibs match was in 2014, when he saw them beat Rangers 4-0. “That result alone made the two years of hard work pay off,” he said.

“About seven months later, I found myself back on the plane to Edinburgh, once again for the sole reason of watching Hibs. This time I was here for three-and-a-half months. I actually got a job as a garbage man – no-one could understand why I was doing the job I was and why I gave up the Australian weather just to watch Hibs.

“The best part about the trip was when I jumped the fence at my last game before flying back to Australia and hugged Jason Cummings when he scored the winning goal against Alloa.

“I’ve worked full-time since I got back from the Capital and saved once again, optimistically thinking we’d make the League Cup final. I’m glad my optimism paid off.”

Also flying in from Down Under is Steven Sibbald, 25, on a 74-hour round trip from Sydney to see the match.

He has been in Australia on a working holiday since January after four months in South-East Asia. “I’ve had a season ticket since I was four and I’m doing this just because I love Hibs – simple as that,” he said.

Jamie Thompson from Sacramento, California, had a long journey to get here for the final.

“I started off with a two-hour drive down to San Francisco Airport, then it’s the big 10.5 hour flight to Dublin. After a three-hour layover there, it was another 1.5 hours, then thankfully just a five-minute drive from Edinburgh Airport.

“I have a wife and new baby daughter. It took a lot of begging to come back home. I couldn’t bear the thought of the Hibs going up to lift the cup and me not being there.

“My wife has converted into a huge Hibee herself and gave me the thumbs-up.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com