Inside the Divide: One City, Two Teams . . . The Old Firm

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9781847678386: Inside the Divide: One City, Two Teams . . . The Old Firm
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Since 1888, Rangers and Celtic football clubs have been locked into an intense and frequently explosive rivalry: Rangers the product of West Scotland's Protestant establishment, Celtic the team founded to raise money for the Catholic underclass of Glasgow.

On 2 January 2010 the two teams met in the Old Firm's New Year Derby, a fixture that had been banned for ten years because of the trouble it brought with it. Richard Wilson puts that game at the centre of a book which delves into the history and widens out to the cultural resonance of the fixture within Scotland.

Starting as the fans begin to arrive in Glasgow, and ending as the long night following the match stretches out ahead, Wilson talks to the fans, the players, the backroom staff, the referee, the ferry staff, the stewards and the paramedics to create a panoramic view of a cultural institution. It addresses the role football plays in working-class life, the social aspects of the game and why it is part of its surroundings in a way that no other sport is.

Inside the Divide is more than just another football book. A rich mix of close-up observation and big-picture thinking, it has the insight, understanding and depth to make it a modern classic.

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Review:

"It is an intensity that has frequently scarred Old Firm collisions with the violent and the reprehensible. But the Rangers-Celtic rivalry is so deep in the bones of so many Scots that - amid a football culture transformed beyond recognition by the wholesale importation of foreign players - it effortlessly remains a focus of mass emotion." (Hugh McIlvanney)

"There were times when we might as well have played the first 20 minutes without a ball. The match would commence and the fans would hardly notice." (Sir Alex Ferguson, former Rangers player)

"I'd heard a lot about the Old Firm game over the years and of the rivalry that exists between the Celtic and Rangers supporters, but it's only when you live in the city and see it up close that the true extent of the bigotry and hatred hits home. The fans were frothing at the mouth and at each other's throats right through the warm-up. When we marched out to kick off, it REALLY got intense." (Tony Cascarino, former Celtic player)

"Richard Wilson, more than anyone in recent years, has told us why Celtic and Rangers matter and why their adherents have little of which to be ashamed and much of which to be proud. I salute him." (Observer)

"Wilson is a writer of uncommon ability and he deploys his skills to produce a balanced book that engages critically with the topic in a sophisticated manner so often absent from much media commentary" (Scottish Review)

Book Description:

A fascinating investigation into the rivalry between Glasgow's two biggest football clubs - Celtic and Rangers - and how that rivalry affects the whole of Scottish society

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