Last week I was browsing second hand book shops in Edinburgh when I came across a large hardback about Scottish football, published sometime in the 1980s. At the back end of the book was an obligatory, but short, section about the importance of fans. “Without the fans there’d be no game etc.” Alongside this dullard’s prose I found a picture of Ian ‘Fergie’ Russell, the man who inspired my short story ‘Furlington Welfare’s Last Great Orator’, published in For Whom the Ball Rolls.
During the early 1980s I went to a lot of games at Hamilton Academical,
because my dad lived close by at the time. They played mainly in the Scottish
second tier, and attracted around 1500 fans to their now demolished stadium,
Douglas Park (it's a Sainsbury's). There are very few specific games that I can remember seeing
there besides a mildly surprising 2-1 victory over Dundee in the Scottish
League Cup. Truth be told, the most entertaining performer at Douglas Park was
|Literary inspiration - the |
Late 'Fergie' of
A portly gent, then in his late 40s, Fergie wore a shabby, dark grey suit and always had a red Accies scarf draped around his neck. His talent was to bark out unceasing invective for the entire 90 minutes, regardless of score and opponent.
Douglas Park was the standard, spartan Scottish lower league ground with a stand and three sides of terracing. You could walk around the entire terrace uninterrupted if you fancied a change of