It is with great sadness that we have to advise of the death of Alan Anderson, one of the finest-ever servants of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
On and off the field, he represented Hearts with distinction and when Alan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, the emotion in the Gorgie Suite was tangible.
Born in Edinburgh on 21 December 1939, Alan was a lifelong Hearts supporter who was immensely proud to eventually captain the club over many years.
As a youngster, the steadfast defender represented Leith Primary Schools and after moving up to David Kilpatrick’s Secondary, he played for Edinburgh in the Scottish Schools’ Cup. Alan also progressed his game with United Crossroads Boys Club and the muscular centre-half briefly appeared for Dalkeith Thistle Juniors before joining Falkirk in June 1958.
He also had a short spell on loan to Alloa Athletic before transferring to Millwall in September 1959. While in London, Alan finished his apprenticeship as a compositor and in 1961-62, he assisted Millwall to win the Fourth Division Championship.
In July 1962, a £10,000 fee took the rugged centre-half to Scunthorpe United, but he never settled in the town and in November 1963, at the age of 23, Alan came to Hearts for £1,500. This was surely one of the club’s greatest-ever bargains, because the 6’1” defender became one of Hearts’ most admired players, being a formidable obstacle for opponents and particularly strong in the air.
He was also a wonderful servant, playing a remarkable 537 times for Hearts (of which 475 were competitive games). In addition to commanding the rearguard, Alan always had presence at set pieces and he scored a creditable 37 goals (31 in competitive matches).
Regretfully, like so many of our fine players, he was always a runner-up, appearing in the 1968 Scottish Cup Final against Dunfermline Athletic; the 1971 Texaco Cup Final against Wolverhampton Wanderers; and being a member of the squad that lost the League Championship on goal average in 1964-65.
Nevertheless, he proudly represented the club in the summer of 1964 at the New York Soccer League and later prestigious tours of Ireland, the USA, Norway and the Netherlands. The inspiring stopper saw European action in 1965-66 and also represented Scotland seven times on the SFA World Tour in 1967.
Alan assisted Hearts into the initial Premier Division (1975-76) and to also reach the Scottish Cup Final that season, although he missed the Hampden match. Alan then retired in May 1976 to pursue a successful career as a publican, sports shop proprietor and hotelier. He was also a fine golfer.
He might have been brought up in the streets of Leith, a short distance from Hibernian’s ground, but his heart was always maroon. The heartfelt sympathy of everyone connected with Heart of Midlothian is extended to his wife, Annette, and his family for their great loss.
Alan Anderson was a Hearts man through-and-through, and was proud to make over 500 appearances and captain the team that he loved.
By David Speed