As The Willow Vanishes - Richard Young

28 Mar

Richard “Siggy” Young states his new publication, “As the Willow Vanishes,” is a personal journey, and his unique background permeates throughout, weaving a web to hold the engaging narrative together, but it’s much more than that, it’s a well-researched, eloquent deconstruction of the seemingly forgotten influence of that most colonial of sports, Cricket, on the social and economic background and development of western Scotland.

Spanning almost 200 years, Young leads you on a journey from the merchants and businessmen of the City of Glasgow, their philanthropic endeavours and achievements, through banking collapse and social revolution to the current day and, as he is often heard to say, “to understand the present, one must look to the past.”

Who knew that “big house” cricket was so prevalent in Glasgow and western Scotland that it aided the building of schools and public facilities, the provision of sport and exercise for those who were fuelling the modern age, and was a vital component in the negotiations and business deals which ultimately established the “Second City of the Empire,” and, for a time, it’s premier sport, Cricket!

The chapters explaining how a major banking collapse and the need for land to build industrial Glasgow are particularly fascinating, and he offers an erudite narrative to show how the most popular sport the world has ever known, “The Beautiful Game,” of association football, came to predominate, built on the backs of numerous, and to this point, sadly forgotten cricket clubs.

The book is adorned throughout with fascinating images of a different age, adverts for sporting clubs, pictures of organised sport from the earliest days of photography and a range of colour reproductions of 19th Century football kits that stimulate the imagination and add sparkle to a unique period in the history of the games of cricket and football.

Young’s story culminates in a photograph of an extraordinary occasion at the author’s sporting spiritual home, Titwood, in the summer of 1967, already an iconic year in Scottish sport.  Not only is the photograph a rare image of the Young family all together in one place, it is also the pictorial record of a cricket match in which some of the greatest names cricket has ever known appear, the great families of Glasgow are in attendance and the link back to the foundations of modern industrial Scotland and the influence of a seemingly obscure sport are revealed.

“As the Willow Vanishes,” is launched on April 4th, fittingly, at the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park. It is a thought provoking book that undoubtedly surprises and informs in equal measure, while at the same time, a forgotten and fascinating epoch of Scottish social and sporting history is brought back to life for a 21st Century readership to enjoy.

“As the Willow Vanishes” has now gone on sale on Available on Amazon HERE

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