Aug 062010

By David Innes

Aberdeen Football Club in the Scottish Qualifying Cup by Chris Gavin. Published by AFC Heritage Trust. 76 pages. £5.99


Published under the auspices of Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust, this first historical book in a planned series is an excellent start and sheds light on the early days of the Dons and their struggle to attain status as a senior club.

Chris Gavin’s approach to telling the story is unusual in that he has chosen to reproduce verbatim the local press reports of 1903 and 1904 as the then Black and Golds began to build their reputation. This ensures that it’s an unusual read, but all the more illuminating and entertaining as a result. He modestly claims that he is the “compiler” rather than the author.

Long before fitba clichés became the staple of match reports and decades in advance of bland, empty, interchangeable interview “gafferspeak”, Edwardian journalists drew on their muses to fashion predictions, reports and summaries which are sometimes almost poetic, at other times naïve or occasionally just plain baffling.

With no back catalogue of stock blandishments and platitudes to inhibit their prose and no tabloid-led, lowest common denominator consumers to read it and dimly regurgitate it, these are football and social commentaries evocative of simpler times displaying far superior writing standards to those on most of today’s sports pages.

Congratulations to both Chris and the Trust for drawing this fascinating history together and for being brave enough to try a different and altogether more authentic approach to documenting this great club’s fascinating early history.

Copies can be bought at Waterstones, Aberdeen, via the AFC Heritage Trust website ( post free) and with all proceeds going to AFC Heritage Trust Funds.

Aberdeen Football Club Heritage Trust’s homepage is