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The ROAR Of The Crowd

We've recommended many publications here at scottishleague.net in the past so we hope you'll forgive us for taking some time out to promote one of our own. 'The ROAR Of The Crowd' is written by scottishleague.net's David Ross and will be published in May by Argyll Publishing (click on 'forthcoming' then scroll to the fourth on the page).

This is the first book ever to take a comprehensive look at Scottish football attendances. It's a 256-page paperback available for just £7-99 and we thought we'd give you a sneak preview of the contents.

The first chapter covers the period from 1872-1918, taking in the first game for which there is evidence money changed hands - the Scotland v England international of 1872. From there it goes on to look at the growth of crowds particularly in international and Scottish Cup matches, the formation of the Scottish League in 1890, the rise of the Old Firm, the Ibrox disaster of 1902, the Scottish Cup Final riot of 1909, the world record attendance being set in Scotland and the effect on the game of the First World War.

Chapter Two deals with the inter-war period, looking at the post-war boom in attendances, the reintroduction of the Second Division, the failed attempt to establish a Third Division, the great depression and the deaths of many clubs.

The next chapter studies the revival in the late 1930s and new records created at Hampden, Ibrox and Parkhead which endure to this day.

From there the fourth chapter takes up the story from the outbreak of war to the dawn of the Sixties, encompassing wartime closures, the phenomenal post-war boom with gates of over 100,000 for friendlies and even B' Division teams topping the 10,000 mark on average, the setting of many ground records and the first signs of declining support with just 875 at a Hibs home game and 172 at Albion Rovers.

The fifth chapter takes in the period up to the reorganisation of 1975 and looks at the impact of some of the greatest players ever to grace our game. Law, Baxter, Dalglish, Bremner et al dominate this era on the pitch while Jock Stein does so as a manager. It covers the effect of TV on the game as crowds continued to fall even though big matches still attracted huge gates. The impact of floodlighting and our clubs success in Europe also feature and the tragedy of the Ibrox disaster of 1971 is recalled.


The ROAR of the Crowd

In Chapter Six our game reaches rock bottom. Violence on the terraces, recession and unemployment combine to force crowds to their lowest levels for eighty years even though domestic competition is strong, our clubs do well in Europe and the national team qualifies regularly for the World Cup. There are the pitched battles of the 1980 Scottish Cup Final, the challenge from Aberdeen and Dundee United, the arrival of Graeme Souness at Ibrox and the effect of his signing of Maurice Johnston.

The final chapter takes the story up to the present day. Starting with the arrival of Fergus McCann at Celtic, progressing through the massive modernisation and building programme which has transformed Scottish grounds, the increasing grip of the Old Firm, the decline of the national side and both the arrival and departure of Berti Vogts. There's the creation of the SPL and the financial crisis which engulfed the game in the early 21st century. Ross concludes by offering a few suggestions for the future.

That's followed by a club section with an account of each and every club's record gate, including all former members of the Scottish League. From the oldest record - Dundee Wanderers in 1887 - to the newest - Caley Thistle in March 2005, they're all there. Every single club and ground record in Scotland is covered including the European record held by Scotland for nearly 70 years. And the home line-ups for all the record-breaking matches are also included.

This section throws up a few surprises, shedding new light on club records like those of Alloa, Berwick, Celtic and Clyde where Ross challenges some popular misconceptions.

As a bonus the book also includes every club's average league attendances for the past 100 years and also for the first three league seasons. This information has NEVER appeared in print before.

And if that's not enough there's some splendid vintage photography dotted around the book.

This superb record of the game will shortly be available for just £7-99 - or just over one-third of the cost of admission to the average SPL game.

And if anyone needs any further incentive to buy this book, there's free delivery to UK addresses if you order from the publishers website.

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