Evening Express

Jess tells of pride over induction to Aberdeen’s Hall of Fame – and who he thinks could be next

Aberdeen's Eoin Jess, left, rides a tackle from Terry Butcher when the Dons won the Skol Cup

Eoin Jess has described his induction into the Aberdeen Hall of Fame alongside the Gothenburg Greats as “an incredible honour”.

Attacker Jess, 47, who had two spells at Pittodrie in the 1990s and 2000s, is a hero to the Red Army and his place in the club’s history will be assured at a dinner at the Marcliffe Hotel on November 1.

The Portsoy native, who now lives in Barcelona, is the first 2018 inductee to be announced.

He said: “I knew a while ago. I’m very proud. It’s a massive honour for me, especially with the players who have already been inducted.

“It’s fantastic. I’m going into the territory of Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Sir Alex and the rest of the Gothenburg Greats.

“To stand alongside them is just an incredible honour.”

Jess was released by Rangers as a boy, before coming through the Pittodrie youth ranks and making his debut in the 1988/89 season.

It was clear when, at 18, he ran the show in the 2-1 Skol Cup final win over Rangers the Dons had a special player on their hands.

Twice PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year, Jess was pivotal in 1990/91, when Alex Smith and Jocky Scott’s Dons came from 12 points back to almost win the title, losing out to Rangers on the final day at Ibrox.

He scored 94 goals, many brilliant, in 380 Dons appearances in red between 1989-96 – before a year away at English Premier League side Coventry – and 1997-2001. However, he never saw his place in the Hall of Fame coming.

Jess said: “I never really thought about it. The ones who’ve previously been put in won the Cup Winner’s Cup and there are players from before that as well.

“As I say, it’s an incredible honour to stand alongside these guys. I had the privilege to play alongside Alex (McLeish) and Willie in the latter stages of their careers.”

The 18-times-capped Scotland international has lived in Catalonia for several years, after moving to work in the property sector. He said: “I’m just enjoying the weather, learning Spanish and stuff.

“I came out to do property but with the Brexit situation it’s probably best I never, with the state of the pound to the euro (conversion rate).

“I just thought I’d come out and do something different and that’s basically what I’m doing – enjoying life. I enjoy getting up and just putting on shorts and a T-shirt and relaxing.

“I’ve still got the property stuff in my mind, so we’ll see what happens with Brexit and things like that. I might not be able to live here, either.”

Billy Thomson is helpless as the famous shot from Eoin Jess (not in photograph) flies into the roof of the Rangers net.

Jess will be at November’s dinner with family – and you’d imagine everyone in the room will have watched his 25-yard howitzer against the Gers at Ibrox in 1995, among other clips, time and again.

However, the legend, who also had spells at Bradford City, Nottingham Forest and Northampton Town, doesn’t feel the need to brag about his football achievements to people in Barcelona.

He said: “The people I socialise with and see, my friends, know about it. The Spanish are a little bit surprised by it.

“They’re interested when I say I was a professional footballer because they’re football mad.

“My friends, their families know and once they do there’s a bit of excitement and they start Googling my name and things like that.

“Football’s international and it’s nice to come to a different country and for people to show interest in what I’ve done in my career. With Google and YouTube, they can see videos and stuff like that.”

Jess still follows the Dons’ results and watches them when he can, describing current gaffer Derek McInnes as “fantastic”.

He hopes to be able to speak to him at the evening to mark Aberdeen’s Hall of Fame inductees.

Jess, despite finding it difficult to put his finger on exactly what makes a Hall of Famer, had a couple of suggestions of recent Reds who could be recognised in the future.

He said: “Russell (Anderson) obviously had so many appearances and did a fantastic job captaining the club and winning the League Cup.

“He’ll be a future one on the list, I’m sure.

“It’ll be interesting to see who else in on the list (of inductees) this year.

“It’s very difficult. A lot of players move on now.

“I obviously had two stints with the club and it was 11 years.

“It’s a long, long time and very rarely do you find that.

“With Andy Considine, he’s been there, made a lot of appearances so he might be one for the future as well.”