A Beggar for a Miracle: A Fan’s Life in Football

This was a talk for the footballing purist – a no-frills, brief chat with two of the footballing world’s most renowned authors. Taking place at St Andrew’s and St George’s West, the talk included Tom Maxwell, author of the critically acclaimed The Lone Rangers: An English Club’s Century in Scottish Football, and Ron Ferguson, author of what was dubbed “the best Scottish football book ever”, Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil.

Ron Ferguson was undoubtedly the star of the whole show.

The talk was a mixture between questions from the chairman and extracts from the two author’s books, with Maxwell being the first to be questioned. His still relatively young life as a football fan was an interesting one, especially considering the oddity that is Berwick Rangers FC, the only club in Scotland that is actually in England. His answers to questions were certainly relatable as a fellow football fan and gave a great insight.

Ron Ferguson was undoubtedly the star of the whole show. The extracts from his book were masterfully read and his life, both as a fan of Cowdenbeath FC and as a Church of Scotland minister, was brilliantly brought to life by his excellent storytelling ability. Ferguson, a native of Cowdenbeath gave vivid descriptions of the old mining town, and paralleled the town’s personality with the quality of the football on show.

This was not a bad talk, but it did feel slightly out of place within the whole Fringe, and by not taking away anything from him, the inclusion of Maxwell as a panellist was probably unnecessary as Ferguson would have easily held his own for the whole hour.

Despite both panellists talking at length about their time as football fans, the questions posed by the chairman often felt too formalised, as if he was missing the point. The fact that the Q&A session was supposed to happen downstairs one-on-one over refreshments rather than onstage, was also a disappointment. 

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The Blurb

Join Ron Ferguson, author of the cult classic Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil and Tom Maxwell in an hour of angst, passion and love as they discuss their relationship with the beautiful game. Tom Maxwell is a journalist and author whose first book The Lone Rangers (about his beloved Berwick football team) received huge acclaim. His second football book The Fabulous Baker Boys is published in paperback in August.