I only have three of these articles from Four Four two magazine and the players involved haven’t been particularly lucky. The other two were Garry O’Connor and Gareth Williams, both of their careers went down the tubes. One self-inflicted and one due to injury. Andy Webster is probably a hybrid of the two; he was plagued by terrible injuries at one point but if you are a Hearts fan; you may well have thought of the phrase “Careful what you wish for”, when his protracted and bitter move from Hearts came about in 2006.
Things had been going well with Andy when he moved from Arbroath to Hearts for £75,000 in 2001 and became an important player for the Jambos in the following years so much so that Berti Vogts gave him his International debut on April 3rd, 2003. Of course at this point Berti would give debuts to a lot of players, even if they were ballboys for the likes of Newcastle, Chelsea and others.
With it being a home friendly under Berti, Scotland got beat 2-0 at Hampden. However, Andy would win his third cap playing against Germany in a World Cup Qualifier at Hampden a few months later in early June. On a glorious sunny day, Scotland gave a good account of themselves with the game ending in a 1-1 with Kenny Miller scoring.
This win was achieved despite the handicap of playing with the likes of Rab Douglas in goal, Maurice Ross in defence and other ordinary players like Paul Devlin and Stevie Crawford.
Towards the end of Berti’s accursed reign Andy began to feature more and indeed Walter Smith would continue to use him and Andy gained 22 caps by 2006. However, at this point he wanted a move from Hearts despite there being a year still to go on his four year contract. After, a protracted period of dispute, he did eventually get a move to Wigan and here the story takes a turn for the worse as he only ever played four times for Wigan before moving on loan to Rangers within months. Again this move was disputed by Hearts; again this was overruled. Many Hearts fans and officials really believe the move was always on and that the move to Wigan was a ploy to get him to Rangers. However, this is where the curse of Berti comes in. I have often stated that it is remarkable the number of players first capped by Berti, whose career has went down the toilet even sometimes on a temporary basis and indeed Andy would be one of those. In his years with Rangers due to injury he only ever played a couple of games and had loan spells at Bristol City and then Dundee United before returning to Hearts again. Andy currently plays for St. Mirren.
Craig Levein would bring Andy back into the Scotland fold when he was with Dundee United and he would gain his 28th and final cap as a Hearts player in Gordon’s Strachan’s first game in charge.
However, back to the article and there’s not much to it, in terms of controversy or comedic value (He was obviously a dead boring guy). His biggest thrill was making his debut for Hearts at Celtic Park and playing for Scotland v Germany. Best player he has played with was Steven Pressley but excellent Finnish goalkeeper Antti Niemi is also given a mention.
Most difficult opponent was listed as Henrik Larsson; biggest influences Steven Pressley and Craig Levein. Biggest compliment came from Berti Vogts who said he was “one of the best young defenders in Europe”. (Cursed him right there and then, didn’t you Berti?)
Who would most like to be stuck in a lift with? – Kelly Brook. Maybe it’s just my age or something because I was thinking more down the lines of MacGyver.
The final question was “in five years’ time where will you be?” Andy’s answer was quite prophetic “Playing for Manchester United – or sitting in a pub somewhere. One of the two”. Wonder which pub he went to, as he was probably out with an injury at the time.