Rangers Football Club, one of the most revered footballing institutions in Europe had been brought to its knees and applied to enter into administration.
Just nine months earlier the Light Blues and their faithful followers had been toasting their 54th league title in emphatic nature. Now here they were staring into the financial abyss.
Rangers, of course, entered administration before being liquidated following an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer for the stricken club.
The rest, as they say is history. Rangers were incredibly demoted to the Third Division, star players left in their droves and Ally McCoist was left patching together a threadbare squad - finding out his club had been granted a licence to play just hours before their opening match.
The story since has been quite incredible, so incredible that Scottish football writer Lisa Gray has compiled an inside account of the Gers’ struggle to get back to the top.
In the years to come many books and articles will be penned about Rangers’ journey back from the abyss, but none will give the startling insight and first-hand accounts that Gray’s book gives.
Through her work with the Press Association as Rangers’ correspondent, Gray has gained quite phenomenal access to the people affected most by the club’s demise.
The book gives off an impression of similarities of how life could be for the average Celtic fan now and then in a positive manner, such as how the money-making business of football began to come into play, the ever-expensive luxury of the season book, differences between going to games then and now; made very simple for supporters of a certain vintage to relate to.
The writing style comes across as similar to that of Irvine Welsh in the likes of Trainspotting, with the unmistakeable Glaswegian accent implemented in the protagonist’s thoughts as well as the obvious blasphemous language with that vivid, somewhat crude sexual detail, coupled with how the protagonist continues to rotate as performed in the Trainspotting novel, and creates a humorous tone detail from the outset. Conveys all things wrong with life in a perhaps sinister, harsh yet funny way (i.e. the female newsreader on pg.147).
Everyone knows about May 11th, 1983, when a provincial club from the North-east of Scotland shocked arguably the biggest club in the world on a rainy night in Gothenburg.
Even those fans who have no love for the Dons have to grudgingly give respect to what the Gothenburg Greats achieved as within a few months they took the scalps of Bayern Munich, Hamburg, and none other than Real Madrid.
Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Gordon Strachan, Jim Leighton, Eric Black, John Hewitt. It doesn't matter whether you were in Sweden clad in red, or born a decade afterwards wearing different colours, you could name half the side straight away without needing to pause for thought, such is their legend throughout the country.
Therefore, when Richard Gordon sat down to tell the story of the Dons' finest night, he faced a monumental task. Just how do you keep things interesting while there is surely nothing left to tell?
“The Lone Rangers” by Tom Maxwell details the highs and (many) lows of the extraordinary story of Berwick Rangers Football Club – an English club who have played in Scotland for over a century.
Maxwell is a lifelong Berwick fan and as he states in “The Lone Rangers” its his dream to see his beloved side reach the European stage, showing the reader that Maxwell has not lost his sense of humour.
When a Club can boast a team full of Scots that plays in England yet is ruled under the Scottish Football Association there are no shortages of talking points for Maxwell and his interviewees. The book also delves into the Scotland v England aspect that takes place both on and off the pitch at Shielfield.
THE BLURB says Pack Men by Alan Bissett is the fictional story of three pals and one child trapped inside the powderkeg of Rangers UEFA Cup Final riots in Manchester in 2008. In a city rocking with beer, brotherhood and sectarianism, the Falkirk, Rangers fans (if that makes sense) struggle to hold on to their friendship, as they turn on each other and the police turn on them.
But Pack Men is much more than that. It is the story of the narrator Alvin coming to terms with his own bisexuality in the face of the aggressive, macho, and sectarian behaviour of some of his pals on the way down to the game on the bus. More so, it is the story of the narrator trying to cut through the preconceived notions and highly taut tensions of Scottish male heterosexuality. It is also a subtle portrait of a Scottish artist as a young man as Alvin tries to explain that he is a writer, amidst quizzical side-glances and rampant drink fuelled innuendos.
By the way, it’s also the sort of book that will give you some real insights into what actually happened in Manchester, as the author almost doubles-up as ethnographer as well as creator of first-class literary fiction.
Scotland on This Day
Book review by SEAN GRAHAM
Football fans all over Scotland will no doubt be aware of the” Wee Red Book”. This is a yearly football bible for fans and anorak’s full of facts and figures about teams, players and matches from every club and it is a must have accessory for every football fan at the start of the season.
Now fans of the national team have their very own bible to have and to hold, wherever they may roam.
Scotland on This Day by Derek Wilson is a fascinating read for not only the Tartan Army but football fans everywhere.
Book Review: '21st Century Blue', being a bear in the modern world
By Jamie Milligan
We all have an opinion on football. From what formation the manager should be using to the club’s new away top. But it’s not often that a football fan is given a platform to broadcast his views beyond the terraces or the modest surroundings of his local boozer.
However, that is exactly what happened to David Edgar.