Instead of Socks for Christmas

Instead of Socks for Christmas

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to buying presents for friends and family.

Thats right, November.

Usually we wait until christmas eve and just do a rush job, and in my case, because of that, I end up getting the same gifts back from people that I only gave them the year before, if they haven’t already taken them back to the shop and changed them for something they actually want or could use.

Thats probably why my kids were the only ones in town who never really got excited at christmas..


So, in order to help you decide, and maybe help out a few guys who have put a lot of work into their work, I’m going to recommend some books, some  books that should be on our own bookshelfs, so that if you do get them sent back, you won’t mind one little bit.

A shameless plug, without a doubt, but four books that you should read.


Before we start, it’s worth noting that each and every one of them is a labour of love. Written by Celtic supporters for Celtic supporters, although one arguably is an important work in the history of Scottish football.

That one, of course, is Tangled Up In Blue, Stephen O’Donnells unique look at the history that defined Rangers, and the reasons why it was liquidated.

You need to read this.

It puts everything we know, and more than a few things we didn’t know, into one readable narrative and will leave the reader wondering how they got away with so much for so long.

For additional information on how they got away with it for so long, add Paul Larkins Anyone but Celtic, which explains the corruption at the SFA and the idea that we perhaps weren;t paranoid enough.

Which, of course, time would prove we weren’t.

Image result for anyone but celtic paul larkin

Larkins book is part of a trilogy, O’Donnell is waiting to see how the current events pan out at Ibrox before maybe embarking on a sequel, but if you read these four books, then you will kick yourself for not asking Peter Lawwell at this weeks AGM why the Resolution 12 issue should be voted down and we should all move on….



Something that combines a little light reading with some more serious food for thought is Celtic Minded 4, edited by Joe Bradley.

Image result for Celtic Minded 4

Reading it was like sitting in a bar talking about all things Celtic with all manner of different people. Some topics were serious, others light hearted, though the one’s that go down best are the ones where someone simply talks about how they became Celtic Minded.

As the title suggests, its the fourth in a series of, oddly enough 4.

Well, so far, anyway, as there is plenty of scope for further editions.


Finally, most who have written, or tried to write about Celtic and it’s history would tell you they struggle to find a topic that hasn’t been covered before.

So, let’s imagine a scenario instead, and do a bit of the dreaming that we all did as kids. But then, if the facts are imagined, the atmosphere cannot be, and in A Very Different Paradise, Tom Campbell, according to thoise who were around at the time, captures mid twentieth century Glasgow perfectly, and if you are willing to suspend belief for a while, you’ll catch a great work of fiction, which is virtually impossible to do when it comes to football..

Image result for A Very different Paradise


As Tom explains…

it’s a novel, and therefore fiction but it was important to give a factual ‘feel’ to the book; so, there are a proliferation of real-life characters throughout:  managers, directors, journalists, players etc. As it was fiction, I felt free to put words into their mouths, actions too.  I would like to feel that these words and actions were true-to-life, if not factual.
Another thing.  Writing a history or a biography forces a writer to stick to the facts and the chronology.  Fiction liberates a writer in a sense.  At times I would sit down  to write having very little idea of what was to come … and almost miraculously the ‘characters’ would take on a life of their own, almost insisting on what they wanted to say and/or do.  One such man was the legendary coach Jimmy Hogan (who, after an obligatory appearance, took over and almost dictated his own participation).
Knowing that it was an unusual book, I put it away in a desk drawer for a number of years but I re-read it in 2017, showed it to some knowledgeable people, and was assured by them that it was guaranteed to become ‘a cult classic’.
Someone once described the Etims diary as a cult classic.
At least, thats what it sounded like he said.
So, print this article off and leave it lying around where someone who buys you a pressie will find it,  and you won’t get socks for christmas, or one of those jumpers you can only wear for the one day without being pointed at on the bus.
You’ll get something you want, and something you’ll enjoy.
And so might some of your pals, for once, if you’re stuck for ideas.
You can get all of these on tax dodging website Amazon, or in a shop that sells books.
But don’t go to Asda, they run their place like a Victorian workhouse.