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Football-mad four-year-old makes Scottish pilgrimage as tribute to grandad

Football-mad four-year-old makes Scottish pilgrimage as tribute to grandad

Friday 28 April 2023

Football-mad four-year-old makes Scottish pilgrimage as tribute to grandad

Friday 28 April 2023

Tributes were paid to a devoted grandfather when members of his family made a 600-mile pilgrimage from their home in Jersey to the home ground of his beloved football club in Edinburgh.

Alana Slater, her partner Tony McAllister, and the couple's four-year-old son Charlie made the journey to Easter Road – the home ground of Hibernian FC – to honour the memory of John Slater, who died last year aged 68.

Mr Slater was a long-standing supporter of Hibs, but died before he was able to fulfil his wish to take his equally footy-mad grandson, Charlie, to see the club in action on their home turf.

"He brought me up to be a 'Hibee' from the day I was born"

In the months after her father's death in December, Alana began to plan a possible trip from Jersey to take Charlie to see a game.

John Slater and grandson Charlie

Pictured: John Slater and his grandson, Charlie. 

She said: “The game was so so important to me, especially as it would make my dad the proudest man on earth to take his adored grandson to his first Hibs' game, and of course it just had to be the Edinburgh derby [between Hibs and their local rivals Hearts].

“My dad cherished Charlie up until the day he died, he spent three-and-a-half years with the little guy before he sadly passed back in December, and before that he brought me up to be a 'Hibee' from the day I was born.”

The kindness of Facebookers

The trip wasn't a straightforward one to plan – not least because Easter Road was a 20,000 sell-out for the big match, but tickets were obtained after an appeal on Facebook.

Not only did a fellow supporter named Dale McGrath offer up three seats in the front row of the 'Famous Five' stand, but she made up a hamper of goods to help the family enjoy their day.

"We had a blast"

The day was complete as the sun shone and Hibs’ striker Kevin Nisbet struck a 67th-minute goal to secure a 1-0 victory for the home side.

Alana added: “We had a blast, Charlie was so so excited and he wanted his pictures taken non-stop, we even managed to get a picture with my dad's favourite player as he was leaving the stadium.

Charlie McAllister

Pictured: Charlie McAllister at Easter Road, home of Hibernian FC.

“The win just topped it all off, as we hadn’t won a derby game since 2019 and the atmosphere was out of this world – I had tears in my eyes, both from happiness at seeing Charlie and sadness that we couldn’t celebrate the win with dad.”

A few tears were shed by the family as they left the ground, and Alana said she was sure her father would also have been a bit emotional.

"I think he would have struggled for words"

“I think he would have struggled for words – he was a massive softy at heart and he definitely wouldn’t have been able to hold back the tears,” she said.

John had longstanding links with Jersey, having met his second wife Sandy during a trip to the island in 1979. The couple subsequently lived in Jersey for several years, when John worked as a window cleaner.

Alana shared the story on social media via her TikTok page, @lifeofcharlieandmummy.

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