On the last day of the season I was working the room at the Gorgie Suite as I normally do on a match day and I happened across Jimmy Murray. Jimmy was the first Scotsman to score for Scotland in the World Cup finals. He did so in Sweden in 1958 and whenever Jimmy was an “official” guest in the Gorgie Suite on match days I used to love using that statistic in my intro. The phrase “a true gentleman” much like “legend” is an overused phrase IMHO but fitted Jimmy like a glove.
Anyhow, after the Rangers match that we came back to draw 2-2, I had a conversation with Jimmy along the lines of “you don’t look well would you like me to call the Club doctor?”
Being the quiet man that he was he said “no” that he’d be fine. Despite my remonstration he agreed to call the doc on Monday and I said to make sure he did as I’d call the same day to ensure he did.
I was as good as my word and so was he. I was en route to Edinburgh Airport when I called and he confirmed that he’d made an appointment for Wednesday. I offered a lift if he needed it but commensurate with his demeanour he declined.
I called later that week to establish that the doc wanted him to go for tests and he’d let me know the outcome. I was still concerned but comforted to know that he’d made the effort to consult the experts.
My workload saw me in and out of the country for the next few weeks and then, just as as I was about to call him, I received an email from former Hearts Chairman Pilmar Smith telling me he was in hospital. He gave me the ward number and I sent a card the same day wishing him well and that I’d visit on my return from holiday.
Needless to say work took precedence on my return but Jim was never far from my thoughts with me promising myself that I’d make that visit as soon as I had space in my diary.
Sadly that space didn’t manifest itself before I got the call today to say that Jimmy had died.
In the space of a few minutes I was sad at his passing, angry that I hadn’t found time in my schedule to see him but also probably glad that I’d remember him the way that I do; as a happy, smiling, ebullient, gracious and humble man who genuinely couldn’t believe the fuss Hearts fans made of him. The word “gentleman” isn’t sufficient to do him justice but sums him up perfectly.
He reminded me greatly of my own father that I lost when I was just 15 years old.
I’ll really miss him on match day as he was as big a part of the experience as the team itself.
Rest in peace Jim, my world was all the better for having him you in it.