Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Shankly's Village by Adam Powley & Robert Gillan

Book review: Glenbuck was "the village of football". A village in Ayrshire its rise and decline followed the same trajectory as the rise and decline of the British coal mining industry upon which it was built. The village, now demolished, produced a half-century of footballers. "Over a period of roughly 50 years the village produced four English FA Cup winners, five full internationals, and 50 professionals out of a population that never exceeded 1,700." "Such a rich concentration of quality has never been equalled." This book covers the village's story plus profiles of its footballers, including its most famous son Bill Shankly.

"Football and Glenbuck were an irresistible, passionate and long-lasting marriage." Football provided a release from the mines, and for some an escape altogether. Glenbuck had its own Junior League club Glenbuck Athletic latterly known as Glenbuck Cherrypickers and it is through them that many of their footballers passed through. Players such as Terrible Tait, Bogey Brown and Wee Wallace.

I think this book would be of interest of people interested in the history of Scottish coal mining in the Ayrshire area. As for the football a lot of the profiles of the players are no more than a paragraph, plus some of them never even played a first team match for their professional teams, or only played a handful of games. Also these players have been written about before in "The Cherrypickers: Glenbuck, nursery of footballers", although that was a generation ago.

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