Fan club linked to Arthur Mann celebrates 30 years

Manchester Hearts fans with the Scottish Cup in 2012. Picture: Contributed
Manchester Hearts fans with the Scottish Cup in 2012. Picture: Contributed
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THEY are Jambos who have travelled far and wide to support their beloved team for 30 years.

But this group of nearly 100 dedicated supporters aren’t from the Capital as one may expect, they all live south of the Border, but share the same passion for the city-based team.

Former Hearts FC player Arthur Mann. Picture: Contributed

Former Hearts FC player Arthur Mann. Picture: Contributed

Tonight, at Tynecastle Stadium, the Manchester Hearts Supporters Club will be hosting its 30th anniversary dance, where Sandra Mann – the widow of legendary Hearts and Manchester City player Arthur Mann – will be in attendance.

Mann played for Hearts from 1967-1968 before being transferred to Manchester City for a then record fee of £65,000. He went on to become honorary president of the supporters club in 1998 but was tragically killed in an industrial accident a year later at a Birmingham factory.

In his memory, the Arthur Mann Memorial Trophy was played for annually on the day of the Player of the Year dinner dance, between the supporters clubs from Manchester and Edinburgh – and the captain of the winning club was presented with the trophy by Mrs Mann.

The club was formed by journalist John McBurnie and headteacher Des Burns, ex-pats who had moved down south.

They were joined by convert Mike Van Vleck from Bolton who started following the side after watching their Texaco Cup match against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park in 1974.

Mr McBurnie said: “Having travelled regularly, but individually, to watch Hearts over the years, Des, Mike and I got together and decided to form a supporters club.

“We felt sure there must be other fans in the area who would be keen to travel to matches as a group, so we put the word out and we quickly had 20 members.

“We ran our first coach for a home match against Aberdeen in April 1986, a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle – just a few weeks before Hearts lost out on the league title on the last day of the league season.

“We gradually built up our membership and peaked a few years ago with 133 members.

“We’ve always had close links with other supporters clubs in the Edinburgh area, who urged us to hold a Player of the Year dance, which was to become the traditional end-of-season trip for several of them.”

The club now has more than 80 members, not just from Manchester but across the north of England, Midlands and north Wales. Its honorary president is former Hearts, Manchester City and Oldham player Neil Pointon.