A FORMER Lord Provost has claimed Edinburgh’s working class heroes are being deliberately ignored by city planners as a campaign gears up to honour Hearts legend Willie Bauld.
Veteran councillor Eric Milligan said for too long street names, statues and memorials had been erected for members of “polite society” – while terrace favourites like Hearts’ Terrible Trio and Hibs’ Famous Five were routinely forgotten.
Now the diehard Jambo – and long-serving Gorgie politician – has pledged to redress the balance by spearheading a bid to immortalise King of Hearts Willie Bauld in the centre of Gorgie.
It comes just days after an Evening News campaign cut through the red tape to ensure one of the last streets to be developed near Easter Road would be named after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly.
Cllr Milligan – who last week celebrated 40 years at City Chambers – said Willie Bauld had been considered “royalty” in his childhood home and deserved a lasting tribute.
He said: “Willie Bauld has always been given an exalted place above all others and I am in favour of doing anything to honour him.
“It would be nice to do something different and original to remember someone who was quite remarkable.
“Working-class heroes, such as Lawrie Reilly and Willie Bauld, have not been given their place in Edinburgh society as a rule.
“If you look at the street names, Edinburgh council would often call them after Lord Provosts, senior councillors or masters of the Merchant Company. That’s why you have Chesser, Hutchison and Whitson – all Lord Provosts.
“Edinburgh didn’t go out of its way to honour working- class heroes.”
The memorial bid has been officially supported by Hearts FC who also called for Bauld’s team-mates Alfie Conn and Jimmy Wardhaugh to be honoured.
A Hearts FC spokesman said: “Willie Bauld was one of the most distinguished players in the history of Heart of Midlothian FC.
“Often known as the ‘King’, he was beloved by our fans as a terroriser of defences who alongside Alfie Conn and Jimmy Wardhaugh made up the famed ‘Terrible Trio’.
“The club would fully support moves to recognise Willie Bauld’s contribution to Edinburgh and Scottish football, and we should provide a similar honour for Conn and Wardhaugh.”
Backing the plans, Wilf McLauchlan, chairman of the Willie Bauld Memorial Club – which has been holding annual dinners in honour of the legendary striker for 30 years – said he would “fully support” plans for a monument.
“In folklore he is Hearts’ greatest ever player,” said Mr McLauchlan. “I would think this would have to be erected in Gorgie. We had an idea before to have a bust of Willie Bauld but it hasn’t got off the ground, perhaps this could be an opportunity”.
Hat trick in debut appearance.. then again in next game
THe King of Hearts made a sparkling impression in 1946 when he bagged a debut hat trick and repeated the feat in his very next game.
At the end of a 16-year career, Willie Bauld notched up 183 goals in just 292 games, cementing his place in Gorgie folklore.
He was part of the 1960s outfit who were the last Hearts side to win the Scottish league. During his time the Jambos scooped the Scottish Cup in 1956, the League Championship in 1957-58 and 1959-60 as well as League Cup wins in 1955 and 1959.
Born in Newcraighall, Bauld earned his footballing stripes at Newtongrange Star before joining Musselburgh Athletic and later Hearts – all in same year.
He was the star centre forward with the Sixtieth Boy’s Brigade team, and played for the Edinburgh Inter Cities Boys’ Brigade team. Bauld attracted the interest of Sunderland who travelled up to sign him but the deal fell through. Before any renegotiations could be brokered, Hearts swooped.
Alongside Alfie Conn and Jimmy Wardhaugh, Bauld made up the “Terrible Trio” who terrorised opposition defences for ten years. He represented Scotland three times, scoring twice.
After his playing days, Bauld opened a newsagents on Gorgie Road – a stone’s throw from his spiritual home at Tynecastle.
He died on March 11, 1977 at the tragically young age of 49, leaving the world of Scottish football stunned.