St Johnstone emerged from the morass of local clubs formed when football became an organised sport in the last quarter of the 19th
century, to be the focal point of the Big County's sporting interest. They were comparatively slow in making their mark
nationally - joining the Scottish League as late as 1911 - and it took until the mid 1920's before football talent from the rest of
Scotland was attracted to Perth, to establish the club in the top division.
In common with their fellow town and county clubs,
Saints flirted with greatness for brief spells in each decade. They fielded internationalists in the 1930s, reached a
League Cup Final in the 1960s quickly followed by European football in 1971/72, but the sale of Muirton Park and removal to Britain's
first purpose-built all-seated football stadium in 1989 provided a platform for the club to aim higher, more often.
In 1997 Alastair
Blair and Brian Doyle filled a gaping hole in Scottish football's bibliography with the publication of "Bristling With Possibilities",
the Official History of St Johnstone FC from 1885 to 1997. Their 300 page book set a new standard for Scottish football
club histories. In the ensuing 18 years, the club has experienced good years and bad; far more of the former in recent times,
culminating in Saints' first major national trophy success in 2014 when they won the Scottish Cup.
That event sealed the inevitability
of an updated version of the book, and MANIFEST DESTINY brings the story up to 2015. It is to the huge credit of
both authors that this is no mere addendum. Further depth has been added to the distant years by two decades of continuing
research, and the additional content is manifest in the new book's noticeably smaller typeface. Sensibly, the extensive interviewing
which gave the original book so much authority has been retained, and indeed extended into the detailed coverage of the last two decades.
text, liberally interspersed with illustrations, mixes several themes to good effect. The historical narrative is interspersed
with extracts from the club's minute books and is enlivened by quotations from contemporary newspapers. As the story progresses
through the 20th century, first hand reminiscences from players, managers, supporters and club officials lend authority and insight.
Events and decisions which changed the club's destiny, several of them contentious, are analysed in depth; and if opinions bring the
commentary to a conclusion they are invariably voiced by those who were closely involved, or central to, such pivotal moments in the
Space is given to reminiscences from a number of the club's supporters, but the entire narrative is soaked in
the reverence of their beloved club by the two authors, which provides a warmth and charm which greatly enhances the reader's enjoyment.
sum of these parts is a comprehensive, authoritative, but never dull story of one of Scottish football's major clubs.
The first book was notable for its detailed, match-by-match, statistical appendix, which has been updated. Some earlier gaps
in the facts and figures have been filled, and the occasional omission or inaccuracy corrected.
This new book has not only updated
and improved upon one of the very best football books, it stands in its own right as an indispensible aid to the understanding of
Scottish football history.
350 A4 pages, softback, £25 plus £5 p&p from St Johnstone FC, ISBN 0-905452-79-8
Scroll down for links to the FOOTBALL BOOKS & DATABASES
we have for sale.
THE LEGAL BIT. This site and its contents are the Copyright of John Litster 2015.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from John Litster is strictly prohibited.
Excerpts and links may be used, provided that the following attribution is displayed: Taken from Scottish Football Historian magazine Issue
No. [as appropriate, plus date of issue]
Here is a list of the books and databases
we have for sale.
Click on the title to obtain further details,
and how to buy.
You can also click on the Book Cover illustrations