All the Best, review by SFTB


The latest football book from the ever expanding CQN publishing stable is a long awaited blast from one of the many world class players who were part of the Lisbon Lions of 1967. Celtic’s best ever left back has collaborated with Alex Gordon, a vastly experienced sports writer, to produce a rollicking tale from a football life that was full of adventure, just like Tommy’s own playing style and that of the team that made him famous.

Entitled “All The Best”, the title reflects the fact that Tommy offers these wishes to all his readers, that he is giving of his best in the writing of the book just as he did on the field, with candid comment and surprising views, but, mostly, because Tommy has taken the stable diet of the football memoir- “Who were the best players that you played with and against?”, and taken this to another level

He has listed nine “Best Of” teams in the course of the book: the Lions (of course), Tommy’s best Scotland teammates, the best Celtic players apart from the Lions, a World Football 11 Tommy’s played against, his best teammates from both Nottingham Forest and Dundee, as well as two generations of great Celtic players Tommy has watched as a spectator.  There’s even a nod to his time as Albion Rovers’ manager.

Now, those of you used to the lazy format of a football book where not much thought, insight or honesty goes into the exercise, will be very surprised at the level of honesty, brutal in some cases, that goes into the pen pictures of those selected and some who just missed out. Tommy turns an honest spotlight on himself, you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, once you’ve recovered your breath, that is.

For this is a breathless read of a football life lived to the full. The forthright opinions on managers, even those he admired, are very revealing about the amount of dishonesty involved in football. You will be astounded at how these world class football players conducted themselves. If you are expecting to find tales of clean living, utmost professionalism on and off the field, and modern collegiate management, you will be very disappointed in this book. However, if you are looking for searing honesty, interspersed with several hilarious tales, then this is the book for you

It is not the polite memoir of a senior citizen glossing over the bad behaviour of his younger days, it is the “warts and all” tales of a more innocent time, when despite the absence of modern techniques, Scotland managed to rule the world and produce a Golden generation, for a brief period of time. Some of the opinions expressed are candid to the point of scurrilous-ness but the humour that is present in every chapter and every pen picture takes the edge of some of the more boorish behaviour which is recounted. There is no hiding place in sport. Everyone has an opinion and is keen to share it. Add booze to the picture and bad behaviour will inevitably follow,

It is fair to say that, even though I thought I was well acquainted with the details of Tommy’s life and career, there were many incidents that I was hearing about for the first time. Tommy’s description of one of his early team mates at Celtic who made life difficult for him will, first of all, shock you and then have you biting the carpet with laughter. His tale of transfer negotiations with the legendary Jim McLean and with a Ranger’s Director will also have you smiling broadly as Tommy does not miss and hit the wall.

From the Foreword by fellow Lisbon Lion, Bertie Auld, through to the final section, where Tommy fields some cheeky questions from the posters on the Celtic Quick News site, genuine laugh out loud humour is not far from the surface. This is a very funny book and captures the banter that still flows between these football legends.

It is a difficult task to combine such humour with frank honesty and then to maintain readability. In the 12 chapters of the book, you will find details which surprise, shock and amuse you. If you are a Celtic fan of a certain age, you will smile in reminiscence as long forgotten events are re-lived from an insider’s perspective. If you are a football fan at all, you will get an insight into the world of football from the 50s to the 80s from a practitioner and into modern football of the past 3 decades from an informed observer. If you just like to read a good book, this one will make you laugh out loud at many points.

Tommy Gemmell gave all his best for Celtic and Scotland while he played there. He continues to give us all his best in this publication. This is the best football memoir I’ve read in a long time. I am still remembering pieces and chuckling as I type this.

For a short period only you can add to the bundle Tommy is dedicating and signing (below) from the button at the bottom of the page.

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  1. maestro-number8 on

    Can’t wait until my book arrives.



    Well done the CQN team on getting Tommy on the blog so soon after Yogi.



    Looking forward to big Billy being next.



    Hail Hail

  2. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Has john Fallon ( the original holy goalie ) ever written a book



    I’m thinking not as I know he would have sconed me on the head with a copy by now



    I also think the other holy goalies memoirs would make interesting reading



    And … Not that I would even contemplate buying a copy but … Le petit merdes story might hold some peoples attention although I’m not sure if either celts or zombies would buy one . What would the title of that book be ?


    My best wishes go to Tommy on the completion of his Magnus opus.



    I sincerely hope-and believe-that anyone who loves Celtic,anyone who loves The Lisbon Lions,anyone who recognises what Tommy and his pals have given us,will buy this book.



    I,like many others,have friends who know Tommy well. Others will have closer ties than that,some none. All speak very highly indeed of him,and no wonder.



    Anyone remember the name of the shop in the TV series ‘ELLEN’?




  4. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on




    Hay there’s nowt wrong with a stable diet


    Blinkin’ flip,post 13.



    Saved me a tenner since I might as well not put my lottery on tonight after that.



    Bit of luck,actually. GIRUY ya treski aw folk that are scared of thirteen.

  6. traditionalist88 on

    League season starts on 9th August – is the likely date of the first home league game on the weekend of 23rd Aug, due to CW games?











    Thirty pieces of silver.






    Why I’m a piece of s…



    Hey,not snappy,but true.

  8. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on





    Naw you’ve got me … What was the name of the book shop ;)




    Was that Ellen the generous who was in that series.



    If you bought a book from that store and you weren’t happy with the purchase … Would you sue Ellen ?

  9. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Mairzy doats and dozy doats


    And liddle lamzy divey


    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?


    Yes! Mairzy doats and dozy doats


    and liddle lamzy divey


    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?




    DBBIA/Burl Ives CSC





    CW games?



    Are we all heading to Millport for their famous CW weekend?



    Btw,don’t. Sidney Devine wannabes everywhere.

  11. maestro-number8 on

    TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels ……………………..





  12. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    Leftclick 11.47 – thanks for posting that wonderful clip. I remember seeing that programme at the time and was blown away at the modesty of the surgeon and at the positive feeling towards Celtic. Now I have that clip forever – thank you again.

  13. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Sftb and Bmcuw



    Judas seems obvious but I like the 30 pieces of silver



    How’s about : how I helped the rangers go bust while pissing off the entire population of Glasgow







  14. Setting Free The Bears..






    Yep.. Yer Review , hit the Sweet Spot.. Kid.



    Ye Certainly Sold Me!











    I wisnae trying to catch you or anyone else out,mate-honest.



    The answer is




  16. re the postcard protest..do they not usually end up in a box too?:-))




  17. TBJ – Funny you should say that. Alex Gordon said to me at the weekend that he’d like to speak to John Fallon as he is just about the only Lion he’s not written extensively about. We should get them together!



    As for your other suggestion. That’s a horrible thought!



    PS Hope you read the Seville book I gave you on Saturday!

  18. Sftb


    Ha, I just love it when our most erudite posters are found to be human and make an error. ( though I accept it was probably a typo or auto correct in your case). Makes the less literary types (or typos) amongst us feel normal:-).



    I should also point out that in the case of my most recently flagged up cuddies, it’s quite obvious they have been feasting on the ole dog food…Winalot.



    I’m sure normal service will be resumed soon enough and my four legged friends highlighted as investment opportunities will perform in a manner which makes it clearly obvious they are on the “McCoist” diet.

  19. tbj



    Oddly I asked the same question re John Fallon only 1 week ago. The boy I asked ( a well known relative of the holy goalie) indicated it was unlikely to happen. Shame. I could see the title already…. ” the 12th lion”. Maybe he’ll change his mind……

  20. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on



    Ok ok … I will buy the book




    Just give me the name of the shop she worked in ;)






    I thought I explained to you all on Saturday that I’m dyslexic ;))))



    Big john is a real character and a legend of a Celtic man . I meet him often and a bigger Celt you will not find .



    I’ve saw loads of old pics on FB recently which I have forwarded to him and as it happens one team shot showed TG saying something to john as the camera clicked



    We had some laughs at what that comment might have been about …

  21. Some Ragers fans are apparently going tonto as “their” seats have been allocated to other Ragers fans who have divvied up.



    Will this beautiful death dance never stop giving?

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