Graham McColl is an experienced writer and journalist, based in Glasgow, where he lives with his wife Jackie and young son, Joseph. He has been a regular contributor to The Times since 2003 and has written 11 books on football since 1995, including Celtic In Europe (Mainstream); United We Stand – The Oral History of Manchester United (Carlton) and, as co-author with Tommy Gemmell, Lion Heart: The Autobiography (Virgin Books).
Books by Graham McColl
How to Win the World Cup
It is biggest sporting event in the world, watched by billions, in a game played on every scrap of land on the planet. It is every boy’s dream to win it. Yet just seven countries, from only two continents, ever have. Why? And, most importantly, how? “How to Win the World Cup” takes apart all the previous 18 editions of football’s pre-eminent competition to look at the sporting DNA as well as the vital statistics of winning teams. It debunks myths and turns accepted truths on their heads in search of the essence of victory. Home advantage helps, surely? Only once in the past three decades. Well, the best team wins, then; it’s only seven matches, after all. Not since Brazil in 1970 – and don’t ask a Dutchman. By going beyond tactics and teams to examine factors as diverse as team spirit and the choice of captain, media hype and public expectation, the political climate and even the weather (luck, penalties and cheating play a part too, of course), Graham McColl has produced a World Cup book unlike any to have gone before it. And at the end of the day, he looks at what the 32 nations who have qualified for South Africa 2010 are bringing to the table, and if they have what it takes. Did England have the recipe for success? Nope.
World Rights: Transworld
From Gretna Green to John O’Groats, wild celebrations ensue for the following week. Rubbish is not collected; post isn’t delivered; trains and buses don’t run; grass remains uncut at the height of summer; fish is not landed at the harbours. Nobody cares. It is as if everyone’s birthdays have all come at once; as if two-dozen new years had been rolled into one; as if Scotland had beaten England 6-2 in the final of the World Cup at Wembley Stadium…
The natural home for the World Cup trophy is in Scotland. Every Scotland supporter would agree that this is where, in a fair and equal world, the great prize truly belongs. International football was born in Glasgow and Scotland has produced more talented players per head of population than any other small country – think of Denis Law, Kenny Dalglish, Jim Baxter and Jimmy Johnstone – while Scottish supporters have shown in huge numbers how much they enjoy being at the World Cup finals. The deserved rewards for such a blend of talent and devotion are to be found in this tale of Scotland achieving World-Cup success, putting them on the same level as the great footballing nations – Brazil, Italy and Germany. This alternative version of Scotland’s World-Cup history is truly the stuff of which dreams are made.
World Rights: Hachette Scotland
Official Biography of Celtic: If You Know Your History
The past 120 years of Celtic’s history have been a rollercoaster ride which only the true fans have been able to stomach. Constituted in a church hall in 1887 to help alleviate the poverty of Glasgow’s East End, it was just two years later that they reached the final of the Scottish Cup. But they had to wait until 1892 to take home the trophy to their new ground Celtic Park. This was the start of a great club, and one which has now taken home close to 50 home and international titles. All the characters, good and bad, old and new, are here: Jock Stein, Billy McNeill, Lou Macari, Fergus McCann, Kenny Dalglish, Martin O’Neill, Henrik Larsson, Gordon Strachan, Jinky Johnstone. And of course, not forgetting some of the less famous characters who have helped shape Celtic and make it the family club it is today. A lifelong fan and previous author of books on Celtic, Graham McColl is ideally placed to bring the character of this great club to life.
World Rights: Headline
78: How a Nation Lost the World Cup
A collision of circumstances made the 1978 World Cup the most significant ever for Scottish football. It was a tournament that threw up a colourful cascade of characters and incident, unmatched before or since. A backdrop of hysterical Scottish nationalism added to the compelling nature of the drama. Only Scotland could take a squad that was potentially the strongest in the tournament to a World Cup finals and appear to treat the experience with as much professionalism as a Sunday-morning pub-league team. Typically Scotland to have a player expelled from the tournament for using banned stimulants, whilst another contributed a goal considered one of the greatest of that or any other World Cup. Only Scotland, rich as a nation in history and achievement, could view a World Cup as the ultimate test of national self-worth only to turn inward in mass self-loathing when results went the wrong way. Typically Scotland to have had a manager such as Ally MacLeod, the perfect master of ceremonies for a festival of Scotch-kitsch, and a kilted musical-hall shaman, Andy Cameron, performing a ditty on ‘Top of the Pops’ that brazenly promised Scotland would win the World Cup. Well, we didn’t Mr Cameron. And this is how …
‘Written with the utmost tact and good humour, ‘78 is an enjoyable account of a painful episode’
‘An enjoyably masochistic read that is full of pathos…this is worth the money for oldies, and also for young enthusiasts who need to be taught about the great perils of hubris’ – Scotland on Sunday
‘Never again would Scotland be touted as potential World Cup winners, and this excellent book sheds new light on why it still haunts them 28 years later’ – FourFourTwo
‘this breezy and enjoyable account of Scottish football’s equivalent of the Culloden massacre, with Ally cast in the role of the hopelessly misguided Bonnie Prince Charlie offers some plausible explantions as to why the 1978 team now has assumed a marketable kitsch value and inspire not a little misty-eyed reminsiscing among the less youthful followers of the national team’ – When Saturday Comes
World Rights: Headline
One of Britain’s greatest ever footballers, Bobby Lennox epitomises an era in which Celtic were the best and most successful football club in the UK. In May 1967, he and his fellow Lisbon Lions achieved footballing immortality when they lifted the European Cup—the first British side to do so. Lennox’s 300 goals for Celtic and Scotland make him the second-highest goal scorer in Celtic’s history and the highest since the Second World War. With the Scottish national side, Lennox famously scored the second goal in Scotland’s stunning 3-2 victory over England at Wembley in 1967, when the Scots became the first country to defeat the then world champions.
In this definitive autobiography, Lennox recounts with his famous dry wit and openness his part in these extraordinary achievements and reveals aspects of his career which until now he has never previously made public.
World Rights: Headline
Graham McColl is represented at Jenny Brown Associates by Stan -firstname.lastname@example.org