World War One and Scottish Football book

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World War One and Scottish Football book

Postby Alan Brown » Tue May 13, 2014 11:58 pm

The proofs are now at the printers and the book will be available from week beginning 19th May 2014.
See my blog for ordering details: www.scottishfootballhistory.wordpress.com

Alan
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Re: World War One and Scottish Football book

Postby Scottish » Wed May 14, 2014 2:08 pm

Best wishes, Alan. Have left a comment on your blog.
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Re: World War One and Scottish Football book

Postby Steve Emms » Mon May 19, 2014 6:52 pm

I've just got my hands on a copy of this; it's an excellent book and a mine of information, with every lineup from every league game. Congratulations, Alan
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Re: World War One and Scottish Football book

Postby Alan Brown » Mon May 19, 2014 10:55 pm

Thanks for the kind words Steve. Of course I have a few omissions that I have spotted already. I will send these to everyone that purchased a copy of the book in due course.
Nothing major, just 2 'missing' line ups and the Hibernian scorer totals for 1918/19.

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Re: World War One and Scottish Football book

Postby Scottish » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:04 am

Alan Brown’s book has clearly been a long time in the making and is one every football historian should possess. Any profits are being passed on to Cancer Research.

It comes at an appropriate – and poignant – time. Even 100 years on, the pain of the First World War is still as raw as ever, no matter how often the story is retold. The debate about the value of the conflict is still unresolved today. But whether you think it was a justified “war to end all wars” or consider it the inevitable end product of an imperialist arms race, one thing can’t be denied. And that is the bravery and fortitude shown by the young men who rushed to the colours in 1914 and those conscripted from 1916 onwards. Many of them perished, many more returned horrifically injured in body, mind or both. As Tennyson said of an earlier conflict, “theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”

Alan gives a brief summary of the events leading up to war then launches into a season-by-season record. Final tables and results acrostics are given as well as a club-by-club ‘Rothmans’ style two pages with line-ups, dates, opponents, half-time & full-time scores, goalscorers, crowds and referees. Results only for the Second Division and Qualifying Cup, both of which went into hibernation after 1914-15.

But these are not simply stats as we know them. Details are also given of the players and officials on active service from each club and biographical details of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

There is also an overview of the events of each season. Thus we learn about the Hearts players who enlisted en masse for “McCrae’s Battalion.” There’s the view of the Airdrie chairman who offered to resign in protest at football continuing during the conflict. Oddly enough, his own club had just one player on active service in 1914-15.

When looking at football and war, former players are easy to overlook. Alan provides biographical details of such players who were killed in 1914-15 and does the same for Scottish players from English clubs and those from former Division Two and non-league clubs for subsequent seasons.

This first wartime season also includes a reproduction of a full list of players and others on active or government service, as provided by SFL Secretary William McAndrew to The Scotsman in April 1915. I say full, but for some reason Celtic are omitted from the figures.

For 1915-16 Celtic again had no players listed as being on active service and Rangers just two. This season also marked the remarkable tale of Willie Angus VC, a territorial who won his medal (the first Scots ‘terry’ to do so) for saving the life of a comrade on the battlefield. Angus had been on Celtic’s books but never played a first team game, spending most of his career at junior or non-league level. He was a miner – a reserved occupation even after conscription in 1916 – but joined up anyway. Another tenuous Celtic connection was that of the famous Welsh goalkeeper LR Roose MM who played one match for the Parkhead club in a losing Scottish Cup semi-final v Clyde in 1910.

The book is illustrated throughout and not just with the usual type of photos you’d expect. There’s a photo of a group of players at an army camp in Yorkshire for instance, most of whom were later wounded, with several dying.

At the start of the 1916-17 coverage there’s a magnificent postcard, designed by Clyde manager Jamie Commins, showing photos of twenty Clyde players (two of whom had already been killed in action) with the King in the centre and the banners of the four home nations at the quarters. The proceeds from sales went to “provide comforts for the troops.” Another photo shows POWs at Paderborn camp who formed their own team.

1917-18 coverage starts with a team photo of Queen’s Park, the Scottish club which suffered most from deaths and injuries as a result of the war. In September King George V attended Ibrox to hand out medals. 80,000 turned out and Alan has sourced a photo of the event showing the King, along with the Lord Provost, being driven around the pitch in front of women munitions workers. Details for 1917-18 also include efforts made by players to avoid conscription (which had been introduced in 1916) by appealing for military exemption on various grounds

The war drew to a close with the Armistice of November 11th 1918 but the football season had been underway for three months by then. Sadly, there were more fatalities to record. This time, it wasn’t just the war, as the great Spanish Flu outbreak claimed more victims worldwide than even four years of slaughter across the globe. One of those who died in the epidemic was the legendary Hibs manager Dan McMichael.

Alan ends with a Roll of Honour of Scottish football’s war dead and a poem by TM Davidson, called “Hearts, Lead The Way”

I think it is appropriate though to end this review with a verse from another poem. “The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon, was written early in the war but it has come to commemorate not just this conflict, but all, as so movingly portrayed by ex-servicemen from the Second World War during the recent 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them"
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Re: World War One and Scottish Football book

Postby RobertB » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:10 pm

Alan, apologies for the delay but holidays and redundancy have finally allowed me time to 'read' your book, I scanned the stats and read the info basically, it's wonderful and I do hope you sold enough to make that donation!
You've thanked a few people and said its took your while to complete, I guess I better get my finger out and have a go myself, if it's anywhere near as good as your so will be delighted!
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