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Just finished this fairly enjoyable book by Neil Drysdale - thanks admin for running the comp. A few thoughts:-


Large tracts of the book make little reference to Smith. I know autobiographies are supposed to give a bit of background to the events in the subject�s life, but much of the first half of the book in particular is about Souness and his rifts with various players.


I also found it rather unfortunate that there were constant references to sectarianism (on 16 pages) in what is supposed to be a book about football, not society. We get the old chestnut about Sir Alex refusing the managerââ?¬â?¢s job because of our ââ?¬Ë?sectarianismââ?¬â?¢ and he even hints this may have been why Jim McLean also turned us down. Thereââ?¬â?¢s also the diatribe from the Hamilton fan who talks about how horrible we were to them and how we screamed sectarian abuse at their players when they beat us in the cup in ââ?¬â?¢87. And there are various interviews with fans with ââ?¬Ë?f enianââ?¬â?¢ splashed liberally throughout, sectarian chanting in Osasuna, UVF chanting in Manchester and at times the book reads like a Spiersesque hatchet job. Apparently refs favoured us in the 9IAR season as well. Perhaps Iââ?¬â?¢m being harsh on the author as he does mention Celtic fans making jokes about the Ibrox Disaster and defending the Enniskillen bombings but again, what has all this got to do with Walter Smith? Iââ?¬â?¢d certainly like to know a bit more about Drysdaleââ?¬â?¢s background.


Smithââ?¬â?¢s playing career aside, from a footballing point of view thereââ?¬â?¢s not a huge amount of stuff we donââ?¬â?¢t already know but that said, I did enjoy reliving the events of the 90s and being reminded of some great times (on the other hand the chapter on last season is excruciating). Then again, I read the following quote from a fan about the AEK Athens shambles with weary familiarity: ââ?¬Å?...he screwed up big style that night. The defence was all over the place, and we read later that they had never played together in that formation before. Well, that is just daft isnââ?¬â?¢t it?ââ?¬Â The UEFA Cup stuff was hard to read, and I cringed at Smithââ?¬â?¢s comment after the final about it being ââ?¬Å?the end of the beginningââ?¬Â in rebuilding Rangers, when I look at the sorry state we are in at present and the tough times ahead.


What I also enjoyed about the book was when Drysdale looked at Walter Smith the man and not the football icon, since Smith is notoriously unemotional and gives nothing away in front of the camera. I love the quote: ââ?¬Å?He quickly found himself drawn towards Rangers with their history, their reputation as giants within the British game, and their cussed refusal to become trendy. Why else, with the advent of the Swinging Sixties and Beatlemania and social revolution effecting a transformation in the ideas of young Scots, would Smith be so fascinated by the Calvinist tradition which permeated Ibrox?ââ?¬Â Reading the book was also the first time I had read Smithââ?¬â?¢s speech at the 1997/98 AGM when he announced his retirement. While Iââ?¬â?¢m not Smithââ?¬â?¢s biggest fan as current manager, his credentials as a Rangers man are indisputable, which is why I will always back him over the Rangers-hating scum which pervade the media and society in this country.


The book is let down somewhat by a series of glaring errors. Ian Durrant apparently scored the winner away to CSKA Moscow in 1992, Walter was appointed Scotland manager in December 2006, and Dave Bowman becomes the slightly more exotic Dave Beaumont. Perhaps I�m being pedantic.


All in all a worthwhile read, and better than a lot of the dumbed down crap that pass for football books these days.

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Thanks for taking the time do also do a write-up Norris.


That was a write up? :D


Just thought I'd give my thoughts. Not read a Rangers book for a while, think Barry's was the last. And that was pretty poor. I'd recommend Silversmith.

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Thanks for that Norris...


Maybe you should get Rita to stock less OK magazines and more Rangers tomes...?


PS: Cammy wrote a short book review at the time of the competition and he was disappointed with the sectarian stuff in it as well. I'm surprised Smith allowed this to pass but I guess it is just a sign of the times at Ibrox nowadays where upon we always have to talk about alleged past failings instead of positives.


It wouldn't surprise me if this is a result of Jack Irvine's mob rather than the author who I'll admit to knowing next to nothing about. Birlinn themselves are usually decent publishers.


I guess in some ways it could be argued that at least we're not ashamed to discuss the more contentious parts of our history. Personally, I'd rather we concentrated on the good.



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I think I have a copy at home I got for a birthday or christmas pressy.


Haven't opened it, and have no inclination to do so to be honest.


After reading the comments above re sectarianism and f*enians, I think it will go straight into the charity bag. If I wanted to read lies like that, I would buy the Daily Record, which I dont.


I dont dispute there are probably some good stories about 9IAR, and while it might be a worthwhile read overall, (and lets be honest, a great prize for a free competition), but as with everything to do with Rangers these days, it looks like another opportunity missed to produce a book worthy of the subject matter.

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