This 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.
When 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’.
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.
Both volumes were published in both hardback and softback and both were introduced by Robert A. G Loudon, 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.
Another publication during this period was a second magazine type history, 24 pages in length published by Ayrshire News Limited.
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
The cover has a now very familiar picture of Yogi's celebrations after Ayr United's 2002 semi final win over Hibernia, 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 writting the book was that he was spiled for choice and found it diifcult 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 occured during their lifetime and memory. Also it contained pictures of the matchday programmes which many collectors found an interesting link.
Another Classic from Duncan Carmichael.
The irrepressible Duncan wasn’t finished there. 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.
Duncan, 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 memories 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 relating 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.
A 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 becomes 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.
Duncan 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.
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 he 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.
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