a Celtic supporter working in the mainstream media trying to tell the truth about RFC’s liquidation finds out that the people in power not only don’t want to hear the truth but they actually want to hide the truth from the people…
This is Stephen O’Donnells second book and the follow up to his critically acclaimed debut Paradise Road (which you can read our review of here) which told the tale of Scottish football prospect Kevin McGarry on his journey through life as he grows from a banter-loving teenager to the sudden realisation of being a directionless 30-something with but one constant in his life: Celtic. Its a great read and one which will bring out a wry smile in any Celtic supporter but with the publication of ‘Scotball’ Stephen has surpassed himself.
Scotball tells the story of Peter Fitzpatrick. He has spent five years in Prague, enjoying the Bohemian lifestyle and everything that it entails, but he has itchy feet. He has married a local, Czech girl who expresses an interest in seeing and learning about his country so, short of money, he decides to return home to his native Kirkintilloch in the West of Scotland. After moving back in with his parents and reacquainting himself with his old friends, he resumes the career in banking and financial services that he abandoned just before the credit crunch hit. He feels unfulfilled however. His application to host a television programme discussing the hot topics relating to Scottish football is summarily rejected by the national broadcaster, but as the country moves towards the independence referendum he revisits the idea, and this time it finds favour in the new media environment. ‘The Scottish Football Debate’, or ‘Scotball’ is born.
The show is an instant hit; it tackles the problems relating to the game in a more forthright and intelligent manner than people are used to hearing and reading about in tabloid newspapers and commercial broadcasters. It is considered refreshing and wins praise for being uncluttered by the customary agendas and petty grievances which usually distort and disfigure these types of shows. The programme runs successfully for two full seasons, debating and discussing such previously taboo subjects as sectarianism, declining standards in Scottish football and the pejorative influence of finances and a too powerful media on the game, when the biggest story in the history of Scottish sport begins to unfold, namely the liquidation of Rangers. Gradually the free reign that the show was permitted for open discussion begins to be checked and …well you’ll just have to buy the book won’t you!
Written in Glasgow dialect its still very easy to follow and is full to the brim with moments of humour and pathos and in the light of the tragic defeat of the Scottish Independence vote and the mass media’s blatant propaganda on behalf of the unionists many events in Stephen’s book ring entirely true. Congratulations on a riveting and entertaining read Stephen. In a world of dreadful books written both by footballers (or ghost writers we really should say!) and about football ‘Scotball’ sticks out like a bloody sore thumb!
Stephen O’Donnell was born in Glasgow and after working in Scotland, London and Prague, he has returned home as a full-time writer. Currently halfway through his next book, Stephen is a welcome addition to the Scottish literary scene.
Size: 198mm x 128mm
Length: 280 pages
Buy The Book
Amazon (E-Book/Paperback available)