on 23 March 2008
Being of a Scottish vintage where I actually remember thinking that Scotland Would win the World Cup in 1978,this book really captures the emotion of the time,and the tragedy of poor Ally Macleod who dared to dream,but unfortunately allowed the rest of us Scots to dream along with him.
The book on one level captures the Scottish psyche of that time,and the belief that because we had not lost a game in the 74 world cup,that we had nothing to fear.It was a great dream while it lasted,until things came apart,but Ally brightened up Scottish football in a way no Other Scottish Manager had before,or has dared to since.
The thing I really liked was the emphasis on the fact that super optimist Ally did NOT ,like so many others would have,blame the "Johnston affair",or anyone else.
As is quoted in this book,Ally was damned for the result of two weeks in a forty year career,where in the main he brought nothing but entertainment,joy ,and hope to a lot of us fans who don't support the bigger Clubs.
A good read,and not too masochistic for Scots.
on 14 October 2008
I can remember the incredible hype created by Ally before the 1978 World Cup, his easy going and, in hindsight, ridiculous assertions that Scotland, yes Scotland, were dead certs to win the 1978 World Cup.....in Argentina......in a tournament featuring Brazil, Argentina, West Germany, Italy, Holland...and Peru. Ah yes, Peru, they were to be the easy opening game for `Ally`s Army`, a gentle introduction to the tournament. And indeed for the first part of the match they were just that, and then, Cubillas and co. treated the watching World to a display of all the finest arts of the game. The fall-out from the Peru game, the crummy conditions, the squabbles over bonus payments, the legendary Holland game are all covered in this fabulous book. I read it in a couple of days and I will read it again. Fantastic.
on 21 September 2013
Scotland's 1978 World Cup campaign is legendary, and had a profound effect on ruining the national game's confidence in itself, perhaps also contributing to the 1979 referendum's failing to deliver a parliament.
The author gives wonderful insights into the complex personality of Ally McLeod, a highly intelligent and witty man, who loved football, and yet who is now often remembered - unfairly - as a joke. It also conveys the complexities of the squads highly varied individuals: Dalglish comes across as aloof and unlikeable, Macari as a disloyal spiv, Johnson as a fool, and others, such as Rioch, jardine and Jordan as interesting, thoughtful men.