Footballer autobiographies. Rarely written by the player and rarely read by anyone except for 5 minutes on Christmas day, their only redeeming feature might be their awful pun titles. We at Dear Scotland openly embrace the pun so today we look at the best and worst Scottish football book puns, and propose some alternative titles.

Billy is away this week, probably lost or in a taxi somewhere between Yokohama and Oslo, so I’m having a go at Scottish football today and Scottish football autobiographies in particular. Generally it seems there are three ways to go when it comes to naming your football books.

The first and most common is to have the player’s name in big letters on the front, with “The Autobiography” or even “My Life” underneath. For example “John Greig, The Autobiography”,  “Craig Brown, The Autobiography”,  “Gordon Strachan, My Life in Football”. Boring. Repackage and give to Uncle Henry next Christmas.

The second choice is to use the player’s nickname as the title eg “The Goalie – Andy Goram” “Sharpy – Graeme Sharpe”, “Jinky”, “The Saint”, “The Tin Man”, “Charlie”,  “Fergie” etc. Which is fine, but it’s really an opportunity missed.

Because by far the most entertaining option is the pun title. Dear Scotland’s readers seem to appreciate a good pun (eg “Jesus, It’s Nazareth“) so with that in mind, we now present the top 5 best Scottish Football Autobiography pun titles, along with our alternative suggestions.

Scottish Football Autobiographies – The 5 Best Puns

At #5. Alan Rough – the summary:

“Never one to hold back, Alan Rough tells outrageous stories of the extra-curricular activities of his fellow players, all related with the wit and intelligence that have made him so popular.”
The title:
“The Rough and The Smooth” by Alan Rough
(Amazon, new copy for £0.99)

Dear Scotland’s alternative title – “A Bit of Rough”

At #4. Willie Miller – the summary:

“The book gives a unique insight into professional football during Willie Miller’s era, what it was like to be the first successful captain in a team managed by Sir Alex Ferguson – including their European Cup-Winners’ Cup victory over Real Madrid on May 11, 1983.”

The title:
“The Millers Tale” by Willie Miller
(Amazon, used copy for £2.34)

Dear Scotland’s alternative title – “Dour Willie”

At #3. Alex McLeish – the summary:

Well, not much information available for this book about Alex McLeish, other than the fantastic multi-layered pun title referencing both The Godfather and McLeish’s time at Aberdeen.

The title:
“The Don of an Era” by Alex McLeish
(Alibris, used copy for $13.08)

Dear Scotland’s alternative title – “By ‘Eck”

At #2. Frank McAvennie – the summary:

“Frank McAvennie knows all about scoring – goals, women, drugs. He’s an expert. A cult figure on the streets of Glasgow and London, the original and lasting lads’ hero footballer, McAvennie’s life is peppered with sporting highs, beautiful women, outrageous acts, the company of stars, court appearances and imprisonment for drug dealing.”

The title:
“Scoring : An Experts Guide” by Frank McAvennie
(Amazon, used copy for £0.01)

Dear Scotland’s alternative title – “Burds. Aye. Pish Mingers”

And at #1….John Wark –  the summary:

“In this riotous autobiography, packed with funny boottroom stories, 80s football legend John Wark tells the story of his career with Scotland, Liverpool, Ipswich and Middlesbrough. Crammed full of incident and a dash of laconic Scots humour.”

The title:
“Wark On” by John Wark
(Amazon, new copy for £10.07)

A simple yet effective pun by the moustached utility player. He played for Liverpool. His name is Wark. He walks. Brilliant.

Dear Scotland’s alternative title – “Tash Talking”

And the 5 worst pun titles…

5 John Brown – “Blue Grit” (just sounds like something that might be used to clear snow of the Ibrox pitch)
4 Paul Hegarty – “Heading for Glory” (presumably because there is a picture of him heading a ball on the cover)
3 Arthur Numan – “Oranje and Blue” (I think this is a pun on black and blue but either way it’s bad)
2 Gary McAllister –  “Captain’s Log” (unless he is a secret Trekkie, this is just rubbish)
1 Jim Mclean – “Jousting with Giants” (is that even a pun?)

Can you do any better?

You’ll be glad to know that Billy will be back next week.



  1. Willie Miller had a book called “The Don” too so clearly he was claiming godfather status too. Not sure who was first.

  2. Well isn’t this a co-incidence. Two nights ago I finished reading Obama’s ‘Dreams from my Father’ (a very poor attempt at a pun from the Future US President – Dear Scotland, please suggest an alternative) and scanning the bookshelves I was overcome with a desire, after almost a two decade break, to revisit ‘The Miller’s Tale’.

    Two 30 minute sittings in and I am almost finished the enthralling and insightful memoirs of the greatest defender to have ever lived. So far my favourite memory is of the time they stopped in the Station Hotel in Perth on the way back from the winning the Scottish Cup at Hampden. The hotel had prepared a ‘Winners Menu’ of Steak and Prawn Cocktail. Willie was doubly pleased that day as he was very partial to a bit of Prawn Cocktail. I kid you not. Fascinating stuff.

  3. Would it be too much of a stretch for Arthur “Gary” Numan to use “Are Friends Masonic?”

    Jim McLean or Paul Hegarty – Tangerine Dream (this has *surely* been used by an Arab already)

  4. I didn’t think anyone ever read these books except for maybe the glossy pictures in the middle, but that sounds like an excellent read. Does he tell a similar story about how they beat Bayern Munich and how he enjoyed some Schnitzel on the way home?

  5. James – Following your musical theme, how about for Hegarty “The Boy With The Arab Offside Trap”?

  6. I have either missed or not reached the in depth analysis of that particular game however there was an intriguing insight into how the footballing world has changed beyond all recognition as well as highlighting a serious incident that almost ended Willie’s career before it started…..

    Before he became a regular Scotland pick he found the summer holidays really used to drag on so he took a job with a mate helping to renovate a house. He was working on the roof when one of the fans recognised him and shouted up that Billy McNeil was his new boss. He almost fell off the roof. But thankfully he didn’t. A close shave I’m sure you’ll agree.

  7. I don’t get the prawn cocktail reference – was the man gay? Wouldn’t think so but that’s all I can think it could mean, not a problem if he is.

  8. I can exclusively reveal that Gary McAllister was partial to a jobby before big games and therefore “Captain’s Log” is an appropriate choice of title.

    It is not well-known but he was constipated for the 36 hours prior to his worst appearance in a Scotland shirt, when he was booed by the Tartan Army and substituted against the Czech Republic at Parkhead. To this day, Gary maintains his morning triple espresso shot that day was a decaf planted by a relative of Scot Gemmill.