This year saw the publication of a book described in this article by Kevin McKenna in the Scottish Review of Books as “what will probably be the biggest-selling sports book in Scotland this year”.
The book is written by an author described as “a prolific and respected freelance journalist and author in Ireland”.
As Mr McKenna says, the book “charts the gestation and birth of the most momentous story in the history of Scottish sport”. He ascribes his own sub-title to it – “how was one of the richest and most powerful institutions in Scottish society brought to its knees and destroyed while the rest of us were looking the other way”.
He goes on to say that, if the author was a staffer on a Scottish newspaper “he would be a certainty to be crowned sportswriter of the year, news reporter of the year and journalist of the year for his work on the … story”.
However, as Mr McKenna, former sports editor in chief of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday says :- “Yet not even the merest hint of his name will be breathed at the annual industry awards bash early next year.”
He also notes that until now there have been no reviews in the Scottish press of the book, which, remember, is “what will probably be the biggest-selling sports book in Scotland this year” and is about “the gestation and birth of the most momentous story in the history of Scottish sport”.
By now I imagine that my reader might have recognised that we are talking about Phil Mac Giolla Bhain and his book charting the “Downfall” of Rangers FC.
I commend Mr McKenna’s full review to my reader.
Mr McKenna tries to pre-empt the criticism that he expects to receive, pointing out that Mr Mac Giolla Bhain makes no pretence on this issue of being a neutral, speaking from Olympian heights of disengagement.
As for the accusation that Mr Mac Giolla Bhain is obsessive on the issue, Mr McKenna says:-
“Well, aren’t all good journalists supposed to be obsessive, dysfunctional and unfit to be permitted into polite society?”
Mr McKenna also makes clear that he has his own issues with the book and with the book’s author and that he is by no means an unquestioning member of the Phil Mac Giolla Bhain fan club.
He also recounts his own experience in buying the book, which will undoubtedly draw out the author’s critics, who believe that, in fact, the book has sold poorly, and that there never was an issue with the sale in any book shop anywhere at any time.
All in all, I suspect that Mr Mac Giolla Bhain will be pleased with the review.
Maybe we could get the views published between now and Christmas of other reviewers? The thoughts of Tom English in the SoS or of Graham Spiers in the Herald would be interesting.
Maybe the Rangers Standard, Bill McMurdo or David Leggat could review the book, rather than simply repeating their own rather negative views about the author?
And when that happens, then the words of the Prophet Isaiah 11:6 will be fulfilled:-
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together”.
Posted by Paul McConville
Full disclosure – In case anyone suggests that I am not a neutral on this topic because I am mentioned by the author in the book’s acknowledgements please note that I do not claim to be a neutral regarding the book.