London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20090228
<-Page <-Team Sat 28 Feb 2009 Dundee United 0 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Graham Bean auth-> Eddie Smith
19 of 039 Michael Stewart 62 L SPL A

Books: Two Miles to Tynecastle by Andrew-Henry Bowie

Graham Bean
THE premise of this book is simple enough; the autobiography of an ordinary Hearts fan who grew up, as the title suggests, close to the ground.
Its simplicity is its strength, and Bowie tells his tale with remarkable candour and a good deal of humour. A tough upbringing in Edinburgh's Saughton Mains Bank had a huge influence on the author but it was the calamities in his personal life that shaped him.

His parents' acrimonious split saw him dividing his childhood years between his mum in Edinburgh and weekends at his dad's new home in Livingston. His relationship with his father is fraught and he never really forgives him for failing to take him to Dens Park on May 3, 1986, to see Hearts' title-defining match with Dundee.

That the author escaped seeing Hearts lose the game (and the league) in such a gut-wrenching manner doesn't seem to get Bowie senior off the hook, and Albert Kidd's late double continues to haunt the author through his adolescence and early adult years until he finally finds closure with Hearts' Scottish Cup win 12 years later.

It's a tale with which thousands of Jambos will identify and Bowie's powers of recall are mightily impressive as he gives highly personal accounts of matches that defined his early life.

His memories of the pre-Hillsborough days on the terraces are particularly evocative as he recalls the bedlam in "The Shed" at Tynecastle during the 1980s when a gifted young Hearts side flirted with success but fell agonisingly short.

Like many young men, football played a disproportionately important part in Bowie's life, with watching Hearts offering him an escape from the drudgery of his everyday existence working nightshifts in a filling station.

His teenage years are strewn with crushing disappointments and he's forced to endure the disintegration of his relationship with his eldest brother whom he idolised as a kid. The older boy goes off the rails in a big way and is in and out of penal institutes, with the nadir coming when he returns to the family home and steals from the young Bowie.

Amid the dark times there is plenty of humour as the author finds calamitous new ways of coming to grief in his job in the petrol station and a stint as a van driver.

Salvation comes in the form of Lesley, who he meets in the local pub and marries. Also a Jambo, but you suspect she's broadminded enough to appreciate there is more to life than Hearts and is perhaps even able to convince Bowie of the same.

This type of football confessional has become a well-worn genre, but Bowie's effort succeeds with its rough-hewn charm and the wit in his writing. He's no Nick Hornby but for a first-time effort this book packs plenty of excitement and charm, particularly for Hearts supporters.

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Sat 28 Feb 2009 Dundee United 0 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |