[b][As a wannabe goalkeeper growing up in Ayrshire in the late 1950s I had four goalkeeping heroes: "Bouncing" Bernard Briggs, the goalkeeper for Darbyshire Rangers in the 'Wizard' comic - who only ever let-in one goal: in the pre-match shooting-in prior to the FA Cup final; Jock Fraser, who was an ever-present last line for Lugar Boswell Thistle, before retiring after his solitary Hampden appearance, in the Scottish Junior Cup Final; Jimmy Brown - a man years ahead of his time with Kilmarnock and Bert Trautmann, Manchester City's German goalkeeper.
Trautmann's feat of completing an FA Cup Final with a broken neck still seems unbelievable today. Now, belatedly his story has been told in the book: 'Trautmann's Journey', by Catrien Clay.
My girl friend gave me this for my birthday; in truth it is not a traditional football book, covering as it does Trautmann's journey from Bremen schoolboy, through Hitler Youth membership, via the Eastern and Western Fronts as a paratrooper, to POW status in England to acceptance as Britain's favourite Nazi and on to international coaching ambassador. In fact, there's not a lot of football in it.
But it's a terrific read, the sections covering his war time exploits is particularly fresh, given the winners usually write war histories. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
There's a good film in there too.
I also received James Morgan's 'The Search for Alan Gilzean' - more a traditional football book this, but still well-worth the reading. "Gillie" has been over-shadowed by some of his Scottish contemporaries, but Gilzean and Law are my strike force in my Best Scotland Team./b]