HEARD the one about two of the game’s greatest ever managers, a club record goalscorer who set his wedding in line with racing pigeons and how one of their most popular captains received his long-standing nickname?

It would be reasonable to assume that you haven’t and, if that’s the case, you can read all about it in a collection of tales that are knitted together by the common thread that is Dunfermline Athletic.

A new book – ‘Heroes of Halbeath Road’ – has been penned by fan and author Mike Gibb to raise funds for the Pars Supporters Trust, while providing some “potted histories” in a “light-hearted” manner of some of the club’s most recognisable faces throughout its history.

From 1960s icons Jock Stein, Charlie Dickson, Bert Paton and Sir Alex Ferguson – who, in his foreword within the book, stated that “those three years at East End Park were a period of utmost excitement, I loved being a player there amongst a galaxy of the best players I had the privilege to play with” – to the likes of Jim Leishman, Scott Thomson and Stevie Crawford, it is set to make for a glorious, nostalgic look back through black and white glasses.

Mike, who although originally an Aberdonian – and Dons fan – began supporting the Pars in 1989 after his son was captivated by the singing of visiting fans during a losing Scottish Cup replay at Pittodrie, previously produced children’s books ‘Where’s Sammy? The Mystery of the Missing Mascot’, and ‘The Name’s Sammy ... Sammy the Tammy’ for the club, and explained that working on another project had inspired him to put pen to paper.

He was sponsored by the Doric Board – which aims to promote Doric “as an integral part of the (North East) region’s heritage, identity, and cultural life” – to write a book entitled ‘Forgotten Heroines of the North East’, and it was from there that he contacted PST chair, and director of the football club, Drew Main, to set the ball rolling.

“It’s about five women from very different walks of life, and it got me thinking, I wonder if this could be adapted into something else,” Mike explained.

“I did the two Sammy books for the Pars maybe four, five years ago and I got friendly with Drew Main at that time. I got in touch with him after I had finished this book I had been working on, and said I’ve been thinking about another book to raise some money for the Pars Supporters Trust.

“It was him that came up with the suggestion of the Heroes of Halbeath Road. He came up with about five names, and then we added another couple to bring it slightly up to date, and just went on from there.

“The idea is they’re potted histories of the people – they’re not a biography. This is like 20-25 pages perhaps, going off at tangents as well, because I didn’t want a book that just said, ‘In the next game, they played and won 2-0’. I thought, try and get to the people, and get things like when I did Charlie Dickson.”

Dickson, who in 2004 was inducted into the Dunfermline Athletic Hall of Fame, starred at East End Park between 1955 and 1964 and, in addition to winning the Scottish Cup in 1961, became the club’s record scorer with an astonishing 215 goals in 340 games.

He died seven years ago but, with help from his daughter, Mike found out about another of his passions – and how it affected his wedding.

“She ended up telling me stories about all his racing pigeons,” he continued.

“Apparently, he was obsessed with racing pigeons, and she said they (Dickson and his wife) booked their wedding day to avoid the racing pigeon season!

“We got into that sort of feel and, with that, in his chapter I went to George Peebles and Harry Melrose and gave a wee bit about their story.

“As you know, Fergie’s done the foreword for us, but that was really because in the Bert Paton time, Fergie was the big-scoring centre forward, so he came into that chapter.

“Although I’ve focused on the seven people – and I’ve started the book by saying before you write into complain, check the title – it doesn’t say the greatest heroes of the all the heroes. It’s just seven that we’ve chosen and we’ve tried to get it through the ages.

“Stevie Crawford’s in there and Scott Thomson, who goes back maybe another 10 years before that, is in there as well. We’ve tried to do it like that so we’ve covered a wide range of the last 60 years of Dunfermline.

“It’s not intended to be a heavy book, or a very clever book of every fact and figure about these people, but it’ll maybe just jog a few memories of people going along.”

Mike, who is also working on a book titled, ‘A Stepping Stone to Stardom’ on Dyce Boys Club, which has produced players down the years such as Scotland star Stuart Armstrong and former Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson, said: “I did an interview with Scott Thomson and I never knew why he was called Nipper, so we got all the story about how he was known as Nipper.

“One of the stories I liked from Scott was he got spotted playing in an Aberdeen international football festival for a boys’ club, by Shrewsbury Town, and the guy said to him, ‘Do you want to come and join the Shrewsbury youth’? He said, ‘Yeah’, asked all the questions and then, the very last question was ‘Where’s Shrewsbury?’ He says he hadn’t a clue where it was, and that’s where he ended up as a 16-year-old!

“We’ve tried to get these wee stories into it. A lot of it is quite light-hearted rather than a serious football book but the other side of the coin is that, obviously, Norrie McCathie was a very serious chapter but it also went off to Gary Riddell on that because that was part of that same era.

“Drew’s been great; he’s a super guy to work with and has kept me right a few times. It was a labour of love but it was very enjoyable. I came down and interviewed Scott, and Stevie Crawford, and they were all very helpful.

“I’ve always had a feel that it’s a very friendly and accessible club.”

‘Heroes of the Halbeath Road’, by Mike Gibb, is priced £6,99 and is available from the club shop, on ebay, at Waterstones in the Kingsgate, or by emailing Drew Main at andrew@dafc.co.uk.


Press Sport have teamed-up with the football club and PST to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the ‘Heroes of Halbeath Road’ signed by some of those featured in the book.

For your chance to win, simply tell us: Who is Dunfermline Athletic’s record goalscorer?

Please send an email titled ‘Heroes of Halbeath Road’ Competition, complete with your answer, name and a contact number, to sport@dunfermlinepress.co.uk, by Wednesday, November 25.

Three of the correct entries will be chosen at random.