East Fife fan’s final game after 81 years supporting the club

Hugh Landels with sons Brian, left, and Derek.
Hugh Landels with sons Brian, left, and Derek.

In 1948, the NHS was formed, Prince Charles was born, and Hugh Landels purchased his first East Fife season ticket.

But, on Saturday, after more than 80 years watching the Fifers, the 91-year-old Leven man attended his final game – a 2-0 defeat to Montrose.

It is thought Hugh attended his first game in 1938, watching as East Fife collected their only Scottish Cup after beating Kilmarnock 4-2 in a replay at Hampden Park.

The match started an 81-year love affair between Hugh and the football club.

A few years later, Hugh would start his apprenticeship as a draftsman for Henry Balfour. However, following the end of World War II, he was called up for National Service.

He returned to his apprenticeship in 1948 and it was then that he purchased his first season ticket.

From then on, he would rarely miss a home game.

Among his highlights from attending Bayview – both old and new – were witnessing the George Dewar Testimonial in 1970, when more than 6000 fans watched East Fife play a Stoke City side that included Gordon Banks; watching a dramatic 2-2 draw against Celtic, when the visitors required an 88th minute penalty to escape Methil with a point; and a 2-0 win against Hibernian in 1984, when they knocked the Leith side out of the Scottish Cup.

He also highlights Charlie ‘Legs’ Fleming, Henry Morris, and East Fife’s famous back line of Jimmy Philp, Willie Finlay and George Aitken, as some of his favourite players to pull on the black and gold shirt.

They were all players in East Fife’s successful post-war years, when the club lifted three Scottish League Cups and reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 1950.

“Every moment has been a highlight,” Hugh told the Mail.

“I’m East Fife daft.”

But by no means is Hugh just a fan – he organised the team buses for away games and was part of the committee which organised the club’s centenary celebrations.

He is also a stakeholder in the club.

Hugh continued to attend most home games until around three years ago, as his health deteriorated, and last weekend’s match was just his second of the season.

However, he was not alone.

Hugh was first introduced to East Fife by his father when he was just a child.

In 1969, he continued the family tradition, buying season tickets for his sons, Derek and Brian. They continued going to watch East Fife regularly until the ‘80s.

They took their dad to his final game on Saturday. Hugh was given a shield signed by all the East Fife players, and was invited to watch the game from the warmth of the directors’ box.

“He is such a fanatic,” said Derek.

“Through thick and thin he would come to the games.

“It has been his life. He played golf three times per week and then went to watch East Fife. He lived for East Fife.”