When this review was written in March 2021, Kenny Ross held the positions of Chairman of the Dundee FC Supporters Association and Official Club historian. These posts and his support for the Dens Park club since childhood has seen his love and knowledge for his beloved Dark Blues produce a number of books including, Dundee: Champions of Scotland 1961-62, Dundee FC On This Day: History, Facts & Figures from Every Day of the Year, Dundee Legends and Dundee’s Hampden Heroes. Additionally he was co-author with Jacqui Robertson for, It’s All About the Memories, an account of the traumatic, yet ultimately inspiring, 2010/11 season when the club went into administration. Ross has added to his catalogue with, Dundee Goalkeeping Greats published in September 2020.
This glossily produced book pays tribute to the men who have donned the Number 1 jersey for The Dee, from the clubs very first goalkeeper in their founding season 1893, Bill McKie through to Kyle Letheren from the Scottish Championship winning squad of 2014/15. Twenty six ‘keepers make it into the book, with a short chapter dedicated to each, detailing their careers and the reason for inclusion. The book is completed with a nod to the times before substitute goalkeepers were permitted and a chapter on those outfield players who has the dubious pleasure of ‘going in nets’ and lastly a comprehensive statistics section, which makes interesting study.
For fans of The Dark Blues, the various custodians will no doubt bring back memories and reflect the highs and lows of the clubs history down the years. So readers will find within the pages of the book, the inclusion of Pat Liney, who kept goal when Dundee won their only (to date), top-flight Scottish League title in 1961/62, Bert Slater who performed heroics in the run to the European Cup Semi-Finals in 1962/63 and Rab Douglas who won the Player of the Year trophy on three occasions and was inspirational on and off the pitch in that clubs dark period of administration in 2010/11.
For this Englishman, who admits to a limited knowledge of the game North of the Border, this was a really interesting read, with great snippets informing of Dundee’s formation, the Scottish game in general and the players and managers who have graced Dens Park. For example, it was a surprise to learn about Bob Shankly, brother of legendary ex-Liverpool manager, Bill, Julian Speroni who had three years at Dundee, before his time in the English Premier League with Crystal Palace and Scottish International Bill Brown who spent a decade between the posts at Dundee before becoming part of the Spurs ‘double’ winning side in 1961/62 and the European Cup Winners Cup victorious side the season after.
The best books are produced with passion and interest in the subject matter and Ross has undoubtedly achieved this with this great tribute to Dundee’s goalkeepers down the years.
(Kenny Ross. September 2020. Paperback 114 pages)