This is really dumb, but I figured it was worth a shot.
I got this hat in around 1996/7 when I, for some reason, decided that my favourite footballer for Aberdeen FC was Iliyan Kiriakov, despite him being demonstrably terrible.
I wore it for a couple of years until the dude left the club and I decided my new favourite was Kevin McNaughton (or Young Kev as I called him… even though I was 10) and immediately forgot about it. Since moving from Aberdeen over two years ago, I’ve felt homesick for the team that previously caused me so much heartache as a youngster and I began looking online for a nice Aberdeen hat so I could show off my gang colours on the mean streets of Edinburgh. Last season, I watched on as they ended up playing better than they had in over a decade and I’d casually mentioned to my dad that I was on the look-out for a hat. A week later he told me he’d stumbled upon my Kiriakov one in the loft. Having completely forgotten about it, I was delighted and picked it up the next time I was in the Granite City in order to wear it to the Scottish League Cup final. But I ended up wearing it all the time. I just thought it was funny more than anything. The majority of clothes I own are stupid, so it made sense to wear a hat embroidered with the name of a Bulgarian footballer from the late 90s and I liked the idea that someday, someone would stop me, recognising the name, and discuss Aberdeen’s 1996-2000 seasons with me. Also I was guaranteed to never have to encounter someone else wearing one at the same time as me and, as it was 17 years old, I could always claim it was “vintage”.
The hat has served me well and I have continued to wear it since that cup final. It has travelled to Spain and Germany with me and most notably appears on my head on Google Street View.
Recently, I stopped by our local chipshop whilst wearing it and the guy behind the counter exclaimed, before I had the chance to order, “Kiriakov! He used to play for Aberdeen!” THIS WAS THE OPPORTUNITY I’D BEEN WAITING FOR! He said that they were his team, which I thought was especially great as I couldn’t place his accent. Who would choose Aberdeen as their team if they were from a different country? A TOTAL LEGEND, THAT’S WHO! He told me he’d been up in Aberdeen the week before for their game against Real Sociedad and was sad that they hadn’t managed to beat them. I left the shop feeling magnificent. All because of the hat!
Now, reader, this is where the tale gets sad. We went to a gig after hanging out at a pal’s place on Saturday night and as we got off the bus to get there, it began to rain and I instinctively pulled on my hat. The show was at some squat that I previously never knew existed and as we went up the stairs to it, I remember taking off ol’ faithful and putting it in my bag. Little did I know, this was to be our final encounter. Two days later, as I got ready to leave for work, I looked around for the hat to no avail. I decided I’d have a proper check when I got home that evening so I did and again couldn’t find it. I texted my pal Al whose friend is currently living at the squat to ask her if she’d seen it. I wasn’t even sure that it would be there but couldn’t think of where else it had been. Some ales had been taken on Saturday night so I couldn’t remember if I’d worn it on the way home but I hadn’t drank enough to be oblivious to it falling off my head if I had been wearing it. I toyed with posting a message on the Facebook event page for the gig but figured that might be unnecessary. I checked the page anyway and my heart leapt when the people who’d put on the show posted a picture of the band’s broken guitar as an indication of how good the night was.
And what was in the top left of the photo?
OL’ FAITHFUL! It must have fallen out of my bag as I grabbed my final can of beer from it. HOPE AT LAST! As luck would have it, that night we were going to a show at a proper venue on the same street as the squat, so Dave went along after our gig and had a look around, speaking to Al’s pal who lives there. Nothing. All the way home, I made whimpering noises. Seventeen years I’ve had that guy.
So this is my plea: PEOPLE OF EDINBURGH – please look out for this hat. It breaks my heart that someone might have intentionally taken it, but I’m not sure if that is definitely the case. Equally, I don’t want to think that it’s just been abandoned on some street like an 1900s orphan so would rather someone was getting some use out of it. If you have any leads, please let me know on here or email kirstenin[@]hotmail[.]com (yeah, I still use Hotmail - HASN’T THIS ENTIRE POST SHOWN YOU THAT I LIVE IN THE PAST?!) I’m sorry for shouting. Please come back.
PLEASE HELP ME FIND MY BABY!
-UPDATE! THREE WEEKS GONE-
Still no hat, I’m afraid. But my mum sent me this as she was going through old photos back home. 1997 (I think)
I’d really like this wee guy back. We’ve got history! And it’s getting colder…