Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil.

A Chronicle of Coal, Cowdenbeath and Football. Written by Ronald Ferguson, published by Famedram Publishers 1993.

While reading “Can we have our football back?’ on holiday, I researched the author which led me to a quarterly Scottish Football magazine ‘Nutmeg’ which talked about the Blue Brazil?

To my amazement in Oban Oxfam shop I found this book which is all about Cowdenbeath F.C. a la ‘The Blue Brazil’.

There are many anecdotal reasons where the name came from but although touching on it that is not what the book is about.

The book takes you on a journey through Cowdenbeath F.C’s tumultuous season of 1992-93 and how it’s fans, players, manager, owner and other board members played their part.

This is though only one aspect of this multi layered book that takes you on other journeys in the town’s history, local coal mining, the Labour party, the church, the co op, the author and some I have missed. Page 121 gives a good insight into why the Labour Party lost its hold on its congregation.

This is a great social history book and I have seen it described as a cult classic but for me it is an Icon. With so much passion and skll in Scottish Football that ouzes from the pages in this book and has been shown by Sir Alex Ferguson, Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly, ‘Hooky Leonardd to name only a few I cannot understand why they fail so dismally at a higher level. Perhaps it is held back by the administtators in the game who fined Cowdenbeath ¬£500 at the beginning of the Second World War for not fulfilling a fixture due to a large proportion of the team signing up, an injustice that still hasn’t been rectified.

A quote from early in the book: “Myths and dreams and pies and bovil may not mean much to the sophisticated who crowd into the hospitality lounges of big clubs several minutes before the half-time whistle has even gone; but if wee clubs are squeezed out, more than football will suffer”, shows Ron Ferguson’s deep rooted feeling and concern for football.

The author now lives on Orkney where at one time was Mister of St Magnus Cathedral. Even from there he has followed his beloved Cowdenbeath despite an inhospitable ferry journey and endless road miles.

I try not to make recommendations on what to read but this is a must, you will not be disappointed and you will follow Cowdenbeaths results for ever more.

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