Edinburgh publican wins BT Sport December Manager of the Month award

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Hearts of the community: Kevin McGhee (left) is presented with his award by Scotland and Hearts ace Christophe Berra
Hearts of the community: Kevin McGhee (left) is presented with his award by Scotland and Hearts ace Christophe Berra

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Licensee Kevin McGhee won the monthly prize for the close ties he developed with local Scottish Premiership side Hearts, despite being a fan of their bitter city rivals Hibernian.

McGhee, who has run the Athletic Arms, known locally as the Diggers, in Gorgie, Edinburgh, for eight years, received the award from Hearts captain and Scotland international Christophe Berra and former Celtic striker and BT Sport pundit John Hartson. 

BT Sport was not only impressed by the community spirit McGhee helped foster at the Heineken-owned pub but also the links developed with nearby Premiership side Hearts – who currently sit five points adrift of Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in fifth place in Scotland’s top tier.


Hearts in the right place

The Victorian pub, which has become a regular haunt for match-going fans, has adorned its walls with sporting photos and memorabilia, and is regularly used by Hearts fans forum Jambos Kickback.

The Athletic Arms also sponsors several members of the Tynecastle club’s first team squad and has hosted numerous fundraising events for the club – all despite McGhee’s support of Hibs, who his uncle Alex McGhee played for.

McGhee said: “I am so delighted to win this. It is great for the pub and the team because we are used to seeing the style bars in town get the awards rather than a traditional pub with sport, like ours.”

McGhee added that the win at least partially made up for Hearts’ recent 1-0 victory over Hibs in the cup.

He explained: “Derby day is always an interesting one for me. It was fantastic for the pub, but I was on the receiving end of some good-natured ribbing from the regulars.”

As well as winning the BT Sport Manager of the Month title for December, McGhee has also won a new 4K TV to further enhance the viewing experience of sports fans at the pub.

Outstanding contribution

BT Sport director of commercial customers Bruce Cuthbert said: “Congratulations to Kevin and the team on winning the BT Sport Manager of the Month award.

“Pubs up and down the country make outstanding contributions to the communities they serve, and this award is a small way of recognising some of the work they do.”

McGhee joins Vicky Martin,​ of the Sup & Chow in Cheltenham, and Simon Delaney, of the Firbank​ in Wythenshawe, Manchester, in being recognised by BT Sport.

The nomination process for the January award is now under way. Customers can nominate licensees and managers they think are worthy of winning by tweeting @BTSportBars using the hashtag #BTMOTM.

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