Council chiefs have performed a dramatic last-minute U-turn and are to consider naming a street after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly.
The move is a significant step forward for the Evening News campaign to have a street next to Easter Road named after the player.
“Reilly Place” will be among options presented to the city’s planning committee, it was confirmed today. The council had previously insisted the player’s name could not be considered for at least ten years due to strict rules.
Councillor Alex Lunn, who kicked off the campaign after discovering plans to name the street after printmaker William Thyne, said: “Reilly Place will now stand as an option next to Thyne Place, which I think is a real victory.”
There had been fears the guidelines would prevent a street off Lochend Butterfly Way from being named after the Famous Five striker. Our revelations prompted a massive show of support from the Reilly family, local football heroes such as Pat Stanton and Marillion singer Fish.
An Evening News petition has also been swamped with support from both Hibs AND Hearts fans.
Cllr Lunn added: “The campaign has been a tremendous success, receiving support I never even dreamed possible. I’ve been contacted by constituents who support Hibs and Hearts to say that they feel this would be a fitting tribute to one of Edinburgh’s favourite sons.”
Should the planning committee agree to put Reilly Place forward, Cllr Lunn and fellow ward representatives Cllr Joan Griffiths and Cllr Stefan Tymkewycz will then each state their preferred name. If a unanimous decision is not reached, the development management sub-committee will be called to vote on the issue. However, even if all three councillors vote for one of the options, further steps must be taken before a decision is final.
Cllr Sandy Howat, who serves as vice-convener of the planning committee, said: “It’s not entirely clear cut at the moment where the final decision will rest and there will be a meeting of the committee on Tuesday morning to finalise the process. Obviously one major factor which needs to be taken into account is the feeling of the local community.
“However, in the case of Lawrie Reilly I could never envisage a situation where anyone would be opposed. It would be a tribute to the man, his talents and character and a proud fixture in the Edinburgh landscape.”
Cllr Stefan Tymkewycz said he was “delighted” Reilly Place would be an option, after he requested it be added to the list.
He said: “I’m a Hibs season ticket holder and Lawrie Reilly is held in the highest regard, not only as a player but as a representative of the club. He was a fantastic footballer. Unfortunately his career on the pitch was before my time, but I was fortunate enough to meet him at several official functions and he was a true gentleman.”
Cllr Griffiths could not be reached for comment.
Hibs legend Pat Stanton, who serves as the spokesman and trustee of the Hibernian Historic Trust, and backed our campaign last week, said it was “terrific news”.
Mr Reilly – who died last year aged 84 – scored 238 goals in 355 club matches.