As soon as I was old enough to go to school, I was considered old enough to attend games on a regular basis. If memory serves me correctly the first “proper” game I attended was around 1960 and was an amateur international between Scotland and Northern Ireland at Dens Park. Subsequent internet searches have failed to confirm that such a match took place but no matter.
In 1961/62 I did not miss a home league game and it was a pattern that held up pretty well over the next eight seasons or so until I was allowed to fly solo. (Remembering how it was in the 70s I often wonder what the hell my parents were thinking.) But apart from the pure excitement of attending the games with my Dad, there were the host of characters that we would regularly meet up with along the way – old friends, current friends, workmates or just fans in the vicinity.
It was a generation that had grown up playing in the streets, continuing while performing national service and in some cases playing for outstanding amateur and junior clubs and even, in some cases, professionally. Their knowledge of the game and opinions were intensely personal and in many ways mimicked a no nonsense approach to life.
The game provided a constant source of debate, humour and wonderful insight. No one seemed short of an opinion or five and it took me a long time to understand how supporters, supposedly of the same team, could see things so differently.
During these formative soccer years we were also blessed with writers and commentators who educated, informed and challenged while never opting for the trite or a cliché. The likes of Bob Crampsey, John Rafferty, Ian Archer and Hugh McIlvanney were (in the case of McIlvanney still is) giants with unparalleled knowledge of the game, understanding of human nature and an unfailing appreciation of the importance of fans.
This website is dedicated to those who taught me that there is always something new to learn and also that there is no such thing as a soccer expert – there are only opinions.