Hearts in 50 objects: No.19 – The 1895 captain’s log

Isaac Begbie was mostly paid �2 or �3 a week
Isaac Begbie was mostly paid �2 or �3 a week
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This item was discovered deep in the bowels of Tynecastle. It is the oldest Hearts wage book still in existence. It dates back to 1895 and includes money paid to the then-Hearts captain, Isaac Begbie.

The columns denote weekly amounts paid out by the club cashier which are most £2 and £3 – a fairly average wage in an era when footballers were regarded as ordinary working men and not the superstars they are treated like nowadays.

Begbie would have been amongst the highest-paid players of the time given his status as captain. Indeed, he may have been the highest earning member of staff.

The right-half played for Hearts for 12 years from 1888 until 1900 before joining Leith Athletic and later Bathgate.

During the 1895-96 season , of course, Hearts lifted the Scottish Cup with a defining 3-1 win over their Edinburgh rivals Hibs at Logie Green in Edinburgh. It was the only Scottish Cup final ever to be played outside Glasgow – and it was the only time the Capital clubs met in the final until 2012.

Wages nowadays are all paid electronically by transfer from the club’s account directly into those of their staff. Wage slips are issued but no-one is required to sign to prove receipt of their remuneration.

Significantly, the money earned by footballers at Hearts and most other professional clubs dwarfs the wage of the average working man. Whereas Begbie and his team-mates earned £2 or £3 a week, some current Tynecastle players now earn £2000 and £3000 per week.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum