Book Review: The History Of Alloa Athletic by Stuart Latham and John Glencross (ISBN: 978-1838460990)
I have never watched any football in Scotland, although I have seen a few Scottish teams play in the past - namely Hibernian in a pre-season friendly at Blackpool and also Arbroath and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Fleetwood.
The nearest I have actually got to Scottish football IN Scotland is parking in the car park at Berwick Rangers ground during a summer holiday in Berwick Upon Tweed a few years ago (although that is, technically, not in Scotland) and driving past St Johnstone’s ground in Perth one day when I was on the way to a meeting with the famous travel writer Katie Wood.
Interestingly enough, although unbeknown to me at the time, I passed very close to Alloa on that journey as it is not very far from Stirling, which my route took me through.
Now unless you are actually Scottish – or, at least, travel there a lot, Alloa is one of those places that you will probably only have heard of from listening to the football results on a Saturday tea time - along with other such places as Forfar, East Fife, Stenhousemuir, Cowdenbeath, Brechin and Hamilton Academicals. And I hold my hand up here and freely admit that, like most average English people, I haven’t got a clue where any of these places are.
But Stuart Latham certainly knows where Alloa is – because he used to live there – and it is due to his long term attachment to the local football club, Alloa Athletic, that this book has come about.
Now this book is massive, as in big. Huge, in fact, and rather heavy. I regularly - and often somewhat blithely - bandy about the term “weighty tome”, but this really is one. It is 665 pages long and covers the whole history of the club from its original founding in 1878 to its joining the Scottish League for the 1921/22 season – and the 100 years of competition since then.
There are league tables, player stats and list of results for each season and, where possible, team line-ups for each game as well.
There are also all sorts of other interesting things - such as the history of the team’s colours and various kit designs over the years, different club badges, who produced the match programmes – plus interesting pen pictures about the key players from various eras.
The book is packed throughout with great photos and there are also reminiscences from people who have been involved with the club over the years.
And the really good thing about it is that all profits from sales of this book are going straight to the Alloa club so there’s another reason to buy yourself a copy!
For more information, or to order your copy, drop Stuart a line at firstname.lastname@example.org