I have done the general worldwide fitba literature twice and the Dons special so I felt it would be rude to not do a Scottish fitba version(minus anything Aberdeen related). As well as collecting Aberdeen books I do the same with Scottish books. This became apparent when one day realised I had over one hundred Scottish fitba books (over one hundred and fifty now not including Aberdeen books). This said to me I had accidentally became a collector without realising , so from then on I made it official. These range from history of clubs, national team books, great Scots like Joe Jordan and Denis Law bios and autos, the Scottish Cup, Juniors and numerous other subjects. There are some fascinating books from yesteryear in the world but there are an equal amount of more modern efforts too, as you will notice that only one I have picked is not from this century. To select ten from one hundred and fifty two books was no easy task I can assure you. For that reason I wont list any unlucky not make it works as there is most likely a second “Guide to Scottish Fitba Literature” going to fill my time at some point in the future.
But for now, here are in my opinion are ten of the best in no order…………..
Lifted Over The Turnstiles : Scottish Football Grounds in the Black and White Age
Steve Finnan 2018
A book on grounds from the age of grounds being great places to be. What a superb idea and fair play to Steve Finan for making this exceptional book. Over two hundred pages of “ground porn” from Annfield to Victoria Park, with Hampden looking like the best ground in the world it once was in amongst it. A great book to have in your house. In my opinion it shows how rubbish fitba is becoming. I can safely say no St Mirren fans would chose their new one over Love Street or Dumbarton fans saying Boghead was rubbish and they are well rid or the Bairns fans and Brockville. Its a good thing great grounds like Somerset Park, Gayfield and Cliftonhill are still around. A book for a fitba romantic.
More Than Argentina
Ronnie McDevitt (With Andy MacLeod) 2014
I only read this in the last couple of weeks and it instantly became a favourite. Ronnie McDevitt is one of the best authors in terms of Scottish fitba and his other pieces also prove it. This book is written with help from Allys loon Andy and it does exactly what the title says, it tells the story of a man who unfortunately is more known for Argentina ’78 than anything else. This book is to talk about the other non South American escapades on the great mans CV (although not ignoring it), and there is a lot more to this great man of Scottish fitba. Obviously there is the close links with Aberdeen and Ally starting what Fergie finished but theres also his successful spell at Blackburn Rovers . A club where he is still held in high regard. There is obviously his multiple spells as manager of United aswell. A Scottish legend who got a raw deal when national manager when he didn’t deserve half of it. Superb book from a superb author
Pointless: A Season With Britains Worst football Team
Jeff Connor 2005
What started off as a media man doing his job quickly turned into a media man becoming attached to the subject of his job. The subject being East Stirlingshire FC. This book is funny, its honest, its a shambles at time, well the team is. Sometimes struggling for an XI, ground falling to bits, crowds of about 100 and in simple terms a club in chaos. What started a piss take(well that’s my take on it) turns into something else when Jeff Connor finds himself fully immersed in all things East Stirling and admittedly becomes a fan by the end. Good book for a football fan. A good insight into the world away from “glamour” fitba. Quite the year for Jeff that’s for sure
Keep Fighting : The Billy Bremner Story
Paul Harrison 2010
I have said for a long time, if I was Marty McFly I would have taken the DeLorean to see two teams Fergies Aberdeen and Don Revies Leeds. Outside Aberdeen that Leeds team is by far the most read about team in my household and Billy Bremner is part of the reason for that. Scotlands greatest player? He is surely in with a shout. This book was started when the great man was still alive . It was originally to be a joint effort between the author and Billy himself but then tragedy struck. To keep the project and Billy’s memory alive Paul Harrison, sitting on all this rare interviews continued to make the book. He has done the great man proud as this is excellent reading. Not just for Leeds or Scotland fans either. The stories will make you realise how mollycoddled footballers have become, it will make you realise how soft the game has become in general.It makes you wonder what has gone wrong with Scotland as back in Billys day it was the ultimate accolade to pull on the dark blue. But most importantly it tells the story of one of footballs greats. Brilliant book
Steven Lawther 2014
The story of Raith Rovers most famous day. From the third tier eight years before to national glory at Ibrox this is the astounding story of plucky underdogs. The book is well written with a trove of anecdotes and tales from the horses mouths themselves. The book is based around interviews from those involved from manager Jimmy Nicholl to experienced campaigners Dave Narey and Gordon Dalziel. But it also has the younger members such as Stevie Crawford and Colin Cameron among others with their accounts of this great Scottish fitba adventure. Paul McStay the Celtic villain of the day also sticks in his tuppence worth too. It gives a great look into a squad who were more than a team on the pitch, they drank and socialized off it together as well. They were mates who ended up in the history books of Scottish fitba as League Cup champions 1994/95
Scottish Football :Requiem or Renaissance
Henry McLeish 2018
Given the current shambles and ridiculous state of Scottish fitba as I type, I suggest installing Henry McLeish as Scottish fitbas saviour. Scottish fitba is full of issues, nobody is blinkered enough to doubt this. For example, what country gives teams their own ends and changing rooms for neutral games anywhere else in the world. That there epitomises the state we are in. Our game needs fixed across the board. Old habits need to go. I have heard ideas from various places over the years, the media, pundits, ex players etc. But one man has went to the bother of putting his ideas down on paper. Former first minister and ex East Fife player Henry McLeish has done well here. The book starts as personal experiences then turns to how we should go about fixing the issues (McLeish reviewed Scottish fitba in 2010 and highlighted numerous concerns and by the time this book was written in 2018 nothing had changed).Ok I don’t think all his ideas would work but he has put some serious thought into it and has a lot of good ideas. He is a big advocator of starting with changing fitba at grassroots and that will pay dividends in years to come. He uses examples of other small countries who have done it and we are so far behind its staggering. Project Brave is a waste of time just as Malky MacKay is. But there are a lot more ideas in regards to evolving our game in line with the worldwide game, rules on youth players, binning the status quo and banishing the age old excuses such as population, climate and finance. Get Henry in to save the day because going by his book , he not daft, he’s impartial club wise(well barring East Fife), he wouldn’t be bothered about upsetting teams with his ideas and he speaks a lot of sense. But most importantly he clearly cares about the state of our game and that is seriously lacking from too many that should as we have found out recently.
The Juniors 100 Years : A Centenary History of Scottish Junior Football
David McGlone and Bill McClure 1987
Obviously with a love for junior fitba this was always going to appeal to me. A great nostalgic trip through the first 100 years of the association. From the history of the Scottish Cup (the Holy Grail) starting with Fairfields win in the inaugural tournament to Auchinleck Talbots win in the 1986 centenary cup final. But the book also covers the different regions of the country, the association itself, the Intermediate dispute from 1929 to 1935, players who went on to make it at senior and a lot more. Its a great book. (Not cheap these days either and the most expensive book I have ever bought).Maybe with what looks like the Juniors being in its death throws in recent years with the introduction of the WOSFL and EOSFL , an updated version wouldn’t go a miss. But I suppose it would just be full of Auchinleck Talbot Cup wins
The Management:Scotland’s Great Football Bosses
Michael Grant and Rob Robertson 2010
Michael Grant makes it in here as he did my general edition and Dons edition with his “Fergie Rises” effort. Rob Robertson finds himself in this edition for the first of two appearances. A book on Scottish managers, it’s really that simple. Lets face it, we made the best ones. The obvious candidates are there, Fergie, Busby, Stein, Shankly. Others to make the grade, Eddie Turnbull, Ally MacLeod, Willie Waddell, Jim McLean, Tommy Walker. There is also the lesser known figures of long term Slavia Prague manager John Madden and the fascinating well travelled Danny McLennan(I need to find out more on that man). There are the stories of many more inclusive of the man who has spent a management career coining it off severance payments. David Moyes. Would he have made the cut if this book was written now? A book with high quality info celebrating what sometimes is taken for granted, Scotland used to churn out good managers. Something else from our game that seem to be dying on its arse
Ten Days That Shook Scotland
Ten writers pick their favourite ground shaking moments throughout the history of our game, some good and some bad. I found the idea of ten stories from ten authors approach to be a cracking idea. Rob Robertson(that man again) recalls Aberdeen’s incredible success in Gothenburg, Steve McGowan recalls the tragic circumstances and untimely death of Jock Stein. The Red Final baiting Frank Gilfeather talks about the “Wembley Wizards” and Terrance Murray heads to Switzerland for Scotland’s first ever World Cup appearance. Barring the obvious favourite chapter the best in my opinion is the opening effort from John Cairney. His piece describes the supremacy of Queens Park and their almost a decade unbeaten in the early days. Exceptional stuff.
A History of Scottish Football in 100 Objects
Andy Bollen 2019
Another I actually only read recently but it has left its mark. This is a book right up my street. Basically this is if the Hampden museum exhibited alternative items. Found inside are the likes Chic Charnley, Aggie Moffat the defeater of Graeme Souness at St Johnstone, Jimmy Johnstone’s boat trip, Arthur Montford’s jacket, Buckfast, Willie Johnstone’s prescription, “Flower of Scotland” and how crap it is, war chests, the lift over and of course a something close to my heart. Aberdonian seagulls. An exceedingly good read. Keeps you amused and conjures up images of thing that have been forgotten at the same time.