50 Years Ago Today
In 1965, I signed for Celtic whilst still an undergraduate at Glasgow University. My early career path in football coincided with the arrival of Jock Stein, arguably the greatest of all British football managers.
For the next seven years, my life would be wrapped up in football, playing for Celtic and Scotland, with and against some of the greatest players ever to grace the game.
I built friendships that would endure way past our time as team-mates and colleagues. I even found a wife and soulmate as a direct consequence!
Football and Celtic gave me all of that, and the good fortune to achieve successes that schoolboys will only dream about. It also wedded my name and identity to a football side which is still a unique Scottish institution; The Lisbon Lions.
I am enormously grateful for that good fortune, and I want to tell the story of that helter-skelter seven years in detail, match by match. Personally, I think it is a worthwhile endeavour for the sake of posterity. I plan to tell the story from the perspective of my role as a major participant, but also in the context of the world as it was when I played football.
The 60s was a time of great success for Scottish football, but it was also a time of great social change which we, as footballers had to negotiate like everyone else.
Football was a microcosm of the politics of the day; the gender gap, the generation gap - although I never saw the soccer equivalent of the summer of love!
I hope that fans and friends will engage with this work, which will peak in May 2017 and will end in 2022, the 50th anniversary of when I took my family away from Celtic and Glasgow to settle in South Africa.
I seek support for this project because I think it is enormously worthwhile and I want to complete it. I hope fans feel the same.
All of my work on Byline is included in my wider project, which can be found at www.football50.uk