General Release – 9th November 2015 – Pre-Orders Now Available
Ladies and gentleman, following on from the tweet of a few days ago confirming the release date of my new book, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you all with a larger insight into this work as well the relevant order details for anyone who may be interested in obtaining a copy.
In October 2013, I released “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” and was delighted with the response which it received. One of the main themes therein was my choice for potentially the greatest Celtic side ever (pre-Lisbon Lions), with each player’s life stories being told at regular intervals. There was, of course, also the tales of numerous Celtic supporters, as well as the then oldest surviving ex-Celtic player, Bill Boland, who sadly passed away shortly before the book’s publication. As ever, I feel it is worthy of mention that without Bill deciding to take a chance and tell his story to a young and untried author, it is unlikely the first book would ever have come to fruition, let alone a second.
In the new book, I have intentionally taken a somewhat different tact whilst keeping the life stories of both players and supporters alike as mainstays of the work. Important players, many of whom were in possession of incredible talents, are again discussed, but many of the names and tales of these men are not as widely known as those of Jimmy McGrory, Patsy Gallagher, Charlie Tully etc.
The story of James Kelly, Celtic Football Club’s first captain, is explored at great length, whilst the life and times of James Hay, George Paterson and Willie O’Neill amongst others carry the reader forth through the trials and tribulations of the Celts from the turn of the century until the end of the sixties. The stories of some more obscure figures are told briefly also, with the aim of keeping the names of these men and their achievements alive in the minds of the modern day Celtic support.
However, the chapter devoted to a single player which I believe to be of the utmost importance is that of Willie Fernie. Having been put in contact with one of his sons, I spent time talking with him, Willie’s only surviving sibling and the wider Fernie family, it has been a tremendous honour to pen the story of one of the finest Celtic players in more detail than has ever been done before. From his youngest days in Fife and the natural exuberance of youth, through a playing career which saw him win many fans both domestically and internationally – a large number of whom did not support Celtic or Scotland but appreciated entertaining football – onwards into his time in management and his later life, it is my hope that I have done not only a great man but his welcoming and passionate family proud.
There are several stories of wonderful Celtic supporters, with everything from a man who first saw the Celts in 1941 to another carrying out charitable work in Africa discussed. Others have crossed continents and overcame great personal adversity during their lives, the tales of which are told here for the first time. Spliced in between the larger chapters are smaller pieces, some of which carry themes throughout the book. Snippets from newspaper articles allow Willie Maley to discuss his involvement in the earliest days of the Football Club, whilst others consider statistics or recount interesting tales which have been lost over the years. For example: When were greyhounds almost raced at Celtic Park? What was stolen when the ground was subject to a burglary? And why maybe – just maybe – there could have been two horses buried underneath the stadium. Also, there is much, much more content besides.
At more than 540 pages and very nearly 200,000 words in length, “Uniquely Celtic” dwarfs its predecessor in size, coming in at almost 100 pages and 30,000 words bigger than “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”. There are also twice as many photographs, half of which come from the collection of personal and press images still held by the Fernie family (used with their permission and in some cases painstakingly restored).
Therefore, I am now happy to accept pre-orders for the new book, priced at £15 + P&P. If anyone who is not planning to attend the book launch – which I shall come to momentarily – would like to pre-order a copy, all you need to do is get in touch with myself on Twitter or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you. These copies will be posted out on the mornings of the week beginning November 9th, so should arrive with many of you shortly thereafter (international postage may take a little longer as one would expect). As always, I’d be delighted to sign copies as requested.
Copies of “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” – now on to a second edition – are still available in the same manner as that which is outlined above for £12 + P&P. However, should anyone wish to pick up both books together, these will be available for a combined cost of £25 + P&P whilst stocks last. Electronic copies of both books are available from Amazon, although the previous offer only applies to physical books bought via myself.
Now, should anyone be interested in attending the launch of the new book which is set to take place this weekend in Glasgow (prior to the general release on Monday), please feel free to contact me for more information and whilst there is space available, you’d be very welcome indeed.
With that, all that remains to be said is thank you to everyone once again who has supported me during the last few years. Whether you’ve been directly involved in either book; someone who purchased a copy of “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” or simply an individual who drops me a tweet every now and again, your support has been very much appreciated and you have my sincere thanks.