Welcome to Issue 13
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Ball bearings
By Daniel Gray

Don’t rage against the machine, embrace it

Automation and algorithms already play a big role in football. If we team up hi-tech with all that is best about our game, we can take giant strides in the near future.
By Greig Mailer

A big gamble
Bookmakers are pumping ever more cash into club sponsorship. Yet with gambling addiction on the rise and punts galore in the dressing room, something may have to give.
By Andy Ross

Step by step
Less than six months ago Aaron Connolly was on the brink of suicide. Now he is helping others through mental health charity Back Onside.
By Alan Robertson

Go-betweens in a central role
From settling a brown sauce stramash to trouble-shooting on away games in Europe, Supporter Liaison Officers help bridge the gap between clubs and fans.
By Heather McKinlay

Streets ahead
With football crying out for creative, maverick players, one coach has turned the clock back to try to bring out that certain je ne sais quoi in youngsters.
By Neil Gibson

Football but not as we know it
We eavesdrop on David Goldblatt and Jim Spence as they try to come to terms with the meek acceptance of the status quo in the Scottish game, the dominance of the Old Firm and the need for change .

Wonder goals and smelly dashboards
My son is realising a dream by playing on the wing for Hamilton Accies. It might not be the career I would have chosen for him, but what do I know?
By Dani Garavelli

Photo essay: One lighthouse beamed, the other sighed
A North Sea yarn of two Rangers: the exultant of Cove and the inconsolable of Berwick.
Words by Daniel Gray.
Photographs by Alan McCredie.

Dandy legend
Neil Simpson must be the most under-celebrated box-to-box midfielder Scotland has ever produced. It is time to revisit his role in Aberdeen’s glory years.
By Martin Stone

Choccy layers of quality
Brian McClair’s role in Man Utd’s revival under Fergie was crucial: striker, midfielder, fighter, thinker…
By Mike Gibbons

In praise of The Scottish Cafu
Aston Villa fans likened Alan Hutton to the legendary Brazilian during a rollercoaster eight years at the club. It’s not an ironic joke – it’s testament to the grittiest Scot of his generation.
By Chris Sweeney

Shades – triumph and tragedy
No matter the heights Erich Schaedler hit as a swashbuckling full back with a terrific Hibs side, his untimely death will forever cast a giant shadow.
By Matthew Evans

Dee season from hell
The 2018/19 season started disastrously and Dens Park fans thought it couldn’t get much worse – but it did, with the Premiership life being sucked out of the club.
By Grant Hill

Growing pains: What if my daughter doesn’t support my team?
There may be more serious things to worry about as I await the birth of my first child. But right now this one looms large.
By Andy Harrow

The buzz of being a Wasps fan
Twenty years an Alloa supporter and still going strong – a love letter to the Recs, and the kindness therein, from East Anglia.
By Jonathan Markwell

Losing my religion
Close encounters of the Catholic and Protestant kind growing up in Dumbarton were both baffling and inspiring, and the picture is just as confused to this day.
By Stephen Watt

The road to Hong Kong
The story of three Scottish pioneers who left Glasgow in 1970 for the Far East and never looked back.
By James Legge

When the Kansas Kid took on El Pistolero
Mo Johnston enjoyed a settled late spell in the States. It all came to a thrilling finale against the legendary Hristo Stoichkov.
By Joel Slagle

Fake history and home truths
Why football lovers need to look anew at the “facts” of the game and accept Scotland as the founders of world football.
By Ged O’Brien

A universe, VAR VAR away
Television has dictated too many aspects of top-level football for too long now. How much more damage will it end up doing?
By Kenny Pieper

When boys became men
Nevin, Rice, McStay et al became kings of Europe under Andy Roxburgh but then ran out of steam in Mexico when they took on the world.
By Richard Winton

The semi-pro have-a-go heroes
The post-season Four Nations Tournament might have counted for little, but when you win it, beating England in the process, just try telling that to Jock Stein.
By Tom Brogan

The love we cannot speak
A new collection of Stuart Roy Clarke’s work shows us, the supporters, in all our besotted madness.
By Daniel Gray

Rovers return in style
He may have fallen flat on his face at Wembley but Tranmere manager Micky Mellon, a tough Scot, came up smiling as his side won two promotions in two years.
By Colin McPherson

Ups and downs
Paul Lambert had big time success as a player. As for his managerial career, it’s quite hard to keep up.
By Paul Wilkes

The American menace
Scotland’s game faced a player crisis in the 1920s as the big-spending ASL lured top names across the Atlantic.
By Ginny Clark

On the high road to ruin
At the dawn of the professional era, Scotland’s finest players were giants of the game, yet many went from glory to the poorhouse in the pitiful blink of an eye.
By Michael Gallagher

When Dixon Hawke was king
You wouldn’t believe it now but fans couldn’t get enough of those Saturday night football papers, hot off the press, sometimes with only half a match report.
By Bruce Talbot

Can I have a quick word?
Covering your team for local media is a privilege, first and foremost. It also brings its own pitfalls and a certain amount of nerves.
By Giancarlo Rinaldi

Taking the high road
It’s been 25 years since Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC sprang into being, and while the future is uncertain, there’s been plenty for highland fans to celebrate in the past quarter century
By Peter Newman

Dreamland in the streets of Raith
A quarter of a century since Kirkcaldy’s finest shocked Celtic, Jimmy Nicholl and some of his key players relive the fairytale.
By Donald Ramsay

Robert Burns: Footballer
Byron called him a “compound of inspired clay!” And he hadn’t even seen him kick a ball. The national Bard was by all accounts a pretty nifty tanner ba’ player. Yet this aspect of the life of Ayrshire’s greatest son has gone largely unremarked – until now
By Duncan McCoshan

One for the ages
Old Firm games rarely live up to the hype, but one epic encounter stands out, a rapturous occasion that marked the turning of the tide for both clubs.
By Paul Macdonald

Partick Thistle: six of the best
Given their magnificent colour scheme of red, yellow and black it’s hard to pick just six classic Partick Thistle shirts from the many superb outfits the Jags have worn. Although they may not have spent as much time in the top flight as other sides, their kits are always right up there with the very best in Scotland.
By John Devlin

Poetry
By Ony Ither Name by Thomas Clark
Dear Football Coach by Morag Anderson
The Women Before Her by Julie McNeill