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Published History

ayr_storyThis page gives a review of the published history of Ayr United from many sources put it down in print.  Authors include a friend and a school mate this sites webmaster in Duncan Carmichael and Gerry Ferrara. 

During their jubilee year of 1960 'The Ayr United Story' was published by the Ayr Advertiser reporter Billy Hannah under the name of 'Carrick Hill'. The 52 page booklet, which covered the years from the formation of Ayr United until the end of the 1959/60 season, was printed on shiny paper with small black and white type with a scattering of pictures included.Texaco 2

Texaco 4There was a joint foreword by Chairman Matt Pollock and manager Jack Cox.
Texaco 5The publication has been out of print for some time although more recently some copies have come up for sale at auctions.

Ayr United enjoyed some measure of success in the 1970s which included entry to the Texaco Cup and Anglo-Scottish Cups in the early 1970s to entry to the new Scottish Premier League in 1975. 

It lead to them being profiled on a number of national magazines and publications. 

Texaco sponsored the Texaco Cup competition and to highlight the new competition they published a magazine to show all of the Scottish clubs who may gain entry to the Cup competition. 

Ayr United were proudly profiled in a 2 page spread.

BOF 1Other national football magazines picked Ayr United as a team of interest due to their success at that time such as the

BOF 2When Ayr United won the 2nd Division Title in 1988, Jim McSherry, former Ayr United player and journalist with the Ayr Advertiser published a magazine entitled ‘How the League was Won - The Full Story of 1987-1988:  A Glorious Season for the Honest Men of Ayr United’. How_The_League_Was_Won_87_88

The title was nearly as long as the publication which was 40 pages long and contained a detailed examination of United’s Title winning season in picture and story.  Well worth the 2.50 for any Ayr supporter at the time. 

The publication was under the auspices of the Ayr Advertiser.                              

Local football historian Duncan Carmichael then wrote a second history of the club which was published in two volumes - Volume 1 in November 1990 covering the years of 1876 to 1939, and Volume 2 for the years covering 1939 to 1990 in November 1992.

a_tn_vol_1Both volumes were published in both hardback and softback and both were introduced by Robert A. G a_tn_vol_2Loudon, Chairman of Ayr United at the time.   The books are a superb record of Ayr United’s fortunes over these years with much insight into some of the backroom wrangles and they are rich with pictures of players, managers, league tables and views of Somerset Park.

Volume 1 contains 232 pages with a blank page at the back for autographs.  Volume 2 contained 318 pages.

The history was well written and researched by Duncan Carmichael which launched a long career in writing Ayr United’s history from many angles. 

This publication has sold out and is not available to purchase.  Once again second hand copies may be available through the auctions (ebay) and second hand bookshops.

However, Duncan Carmichael was not finished there and his new ‘History Of Ayr United’ was published in August 2001.  This book is a superb compilation of pictures from the archives.

Another publication during this period was a second magazine type history, 24 pages in length published by Ayrshire News Limited.tn_black_and_blue

The publication entitled ‘Black and Blue’ was an excellent history and contained narrative, statistical and pictorial (black and white pictures only ) coverage of ten 'famous' derbies between 1970 and 1992 each covered separately

The magazine was very well priced at 1

book_Classic_AyrIn 2002 Ayr United historian, Duncan Carmichael was at it again with another exciting book. The book depicts Ayr United's 50 best matches, a subject which formed many hours of conversation in Ayr pubs. 

The cover has a now very familiar picture of Yogi's celebrations after Ayr United's 2002 League Cup semi final win over Hibernian, although Duncan is quick to explain that the book was in the pipeline before Ayr United’s bold cup deeds of 2002.  He does explain that the only problem he encountered whilst writing the book was that he was spoiled for choice and found it difficult to select only 50 matches. 

The matches selected covered the period from September 1913 when the first match took place until the 2002 League Cup Final against Rangers and the Scottish Cup semi final against Celtic the week before.

For fans watching the Honest Men from the mid 50s until the time of the publication it was particulalrly relevant as most matches occurred during their lifetime and memory.  Also it contained pictures of the matchday programmes which many collectors found an interesting link.

The 128 page  book, published in September 2002, was well priced at 12.00 at the time.

Another Classic from Duncan Carmichael.tn_Greatest_Games_Book

The irrepressible Duncan was soon at it again.  Two more classic publications followed in very quick succession in 2004 and 2005.

In 2004, he published a book which included the definitive view of a long held debate within the Ayr united fraternity.  Who were the 100 greats ever to grace the black and white of Ayr United? 

Duncan revealed all this in another 128 publication from Tempus Publishing entitled ‘100 greats - Ayr United Football Club’.  This provided full page portraits of the greatest 100 players ranging from the legendary Peter Price, Jimmy Smith, Jackie Cox the more recent Cutty Young and Henry Templeton. It covered the legends of the 1870s such as Alex Ingram and Davie Wells, the irrepressible George McLean and the tragic Jphnny Doyle.

 12.99 was again the price of a now revered book.

tn_Pictures_Of_Sport_BookDuncan, and Tempus Publishing, continued a short while later with a pictorial history of the club with a publication entitled ‘Images of Sport - Ayr United Football Club’.  This again was 128 pages long and a bargain at 10.99.

The book contains some excellent pictures from the past and present requiring Duncan to find some 200 black and white photographs from the various era’s in Ayr United’s history.  The highlights of the book include match action from Ayr United’s first ever season and Ayr becoming champions over the years. 

Legends such as John Doyle, Peter Price, Johnny Crosbie and Norrie McNeil.  The pictorial account of the heritage of Ayr United will evoke many Ayr United Miscellanymemories to fans.  Copies can still be readibly be found on sites such as EBay.

You would think that having written many books already there would be nothing new for Duncan Carmichael to write about his beloved Ayr United.

But his latest imaginative ‘Ayr United Miscellany’ has explored a wealth of interesting facts and occurrences which have presented themselves during the football exploits of the club and superb story’s steeped in social history throughout the ages.

The book is well written and researched as you expect from a man well steeped in the Honest Mens history.  It is creatively split into various sections Walking Down the Somerset Roadrelating to all aspects of footballing endeavour with extreme examples of heroism, or otherwise contained under the heading of Scotched myths, interesting coincidences and interesting stories headed as 'The Victorians'.

‘Walking down the Somerset Road’  is quite simply the most comprehensive book ever published on the Honest Men written by none other than Duncan Carmichael.  It starts with the period before the formation of Ayr United when Ayr FC and Ayr Parkhouse became leading members of the Scottish League.  Following a historic merger of these two clubs Ayr United was formed in 1910, creating a new force in Scottish football.

Every season in Ayr United's history is covered in detail right up until 2006. The index is highly informative and, at 7,500 words, one of the most detailed in any of the Ayr United football books.

The legendary players and managers, the great matches, the off-the-field dramas such as United for Heathfield. 

There are also sixteen pages of colour photographs with stunning images of legends like Ally MacLeod, Hyam Dimmer, Peter Price, John Murphy, Alex Ingram, Ian McAllister and John Hughes.

One Honest ManA new author and a new perspective comes in 2012 in ‘One Honest Man, Four Different Perspectives’which  takes the reader on the journey with a fanatical Ayr United supporter, detailing his fascination with football from the day of his birth right up to the conclusion of the 2011/12 Scottish football season.  The story encapsulates the full range of emotions of a young boy and his football obsession, his dream to become a top player and the roller-coaster of emotions he experiences through his life as a supporter, a coach and a referee. 

Author Gerry Ferrara became hooked on Ayr United in 1967, as a twelve -year-old on his first visit to a league match at the hallowed ground that is Somerset Park, Ayr, and embarks on a dramatic and emotional  45 year journey that comes to a climax as the now fifty seven-year-old in 2012, surrounded by his family, friends and tribal colleagues at Hampden Park in Glasgow, the national stadium, witnesses the latest attempt at glory and a new chapter in the history of the Honest Men.

The story offers something different from the usual football yarns, biographies and statistical accounts. It provides an insight into the thoughts of a provincial club supporter from four different perspectives, with his passion for football and the contrast of bitter disappointment and laugh out loud humour evident throughout in the numerous anecdotes taken from each of the different angles of a diehard follower of Ayr United, a football player in school, youth, amateur and pub football, a coach, manager and chairman in grass roots football and as a qualified referee in amateur and youth football.

AU at WarDuncan Carmichael was back in action in 2014. 

The centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in 2014 was the prompt to complete this study of the social and playing impact on Ayr United - and the clubs in the family tree - of the Boer War, the Great War, the Second World War and Afghanistan.  Published in March 2014, ‘Ayr United At War provides stories of the Ayr FC club doctor stationed at a concentration camp in the Boer War and the old player who carried out a civilian commando raid in the same conflict are mixed with the humour in the account of the Provost of Ayr being the only person in the town who knew that the Boer War was over, but not bothering to tell anyone. A Season

The Great War brought local chaos with shortages and strikes in the town, and players killed or wounded in action. The film "Escape To Victory" has roots in a barely documented chapter of history from the Great War, including a key character destined to manage Ayr United.

And why did Ayr Town Council urge the people not to celebrate VE Day? The tales of the soldier who preferred Afghanistan to Kilmarnock, and the arrival of a most illustrious visitor in that same theatre of war, bring the story up to date.

Gerry Ferrara was at it again in 2014 when he published ‘ A Season with the Honest Men’ when he behind the scenes at Ayr United.  During season 2013/14 On This Dayhe gained access to the  manager's office, the team bus and into the dressing rooms of every  club they visited. Player pranks, dressing-room bust-ups, flaring tempers  and flying missiles encapsulate the range of emotions as the lads aimed  for promotion.

Team talks, motivational speeches and post-mortems were  all part of the matchday experience in a rollercoaster season.  Illegal  betting charges against striker Michael Moffat and the outrageous  behaviour of kit man Alan Kerr are just two of the season's sideshows - while manager Mark Roberts provides a wonderful insight into the  loneliest job in football.

Tension mounts as the business end of the  season approaches.  Will the Honest Men pull it off and experience the  glory that comes with promotion? Or will the campaign end in failure,  consigning the club to yet another season in the lower reaches of  Scottish football?  Great read from Gerry.

You don't need to have an obsession with dates to enjoy this blend of statistics, player photographs, archive programmes and other football memorabilia. Duncan Carmicahels latest publication does what it says on the book cover. 

It tells what happened ‘On this Day’ in Ayr United’s history.