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75-year history of Highland Football League Cup chronicled in new book

By Niall Harkiss

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A NEW book documenting the history of one of the most prestigious trophies in Highland football hits the shelves this week.

Written by Ian Davidson and Robert Weir, "The History of the Highland League Cup Final" has been released to celebrate the first 75 years of the historic trophy.

Co-author of "The History of the Highland League Cup Final", Ian Davidson hopes that the new publication will bring back fond memories for supporters and players alike.
Co-author of "The History of the Highland League Cup Final", Ian Davidson hopes that the new publication will bring back fond memories for supporters and players alike.

The product of twelve years of painstaking research and fact-finding, the 320-page publication features match reports, facts and figures, and a plethora of photographs from every Highland Football League Cup final to have been played since its introduction in 1946.

The book's author hopes that it will serve as a reminder of fond memories for Highland football supporters and players alike.

Mr Davidson said: "Pre-order sales have gone well and I have had several enquiries from people looking to obtain a copy now that it is out. I hope that everybody that reads it gets a lot of enjoyment out of it."

But Mr Davidson, a long-time statistician and football historian, explains that it wasn't always the plan for the book to coincide with the competition's 75-year anniversary.

He said: "I have always kept statistics and I've amassed a lot of photographs and match reports from the cup over the years. I had always had designs on doing something on the history of it, but it was never the plan for it to coincide with its 75th year. I had originally planned to release the book a few years back, but several things got in the way. We had a hiatus about five years ago and the project was put on the backburner for a while. Then, at the start of lockdown, my wife said to me, jokingly, what are you going to do with yourself?

"It came to me that I might as well continue with the Highland League Cup stats project. I would sit for hours piecing through bits and pieces of information and spent a long time at Inverness Library pouring through the microfilm records of the Courier.

"After a while I contacted Bob again, who was a great help in cross-checking everything and putting together lists, and facts and figures relating to the competition. From there, we were keen to see how far we could take it. We pulled everything together for a book and I began speaking to designers and putting a plan together to get it published.

"We realised the anniversary of its 75th year was upon us, and that gave us fresh impetus to get it over the line in time for this year."

The detailed history includes a "from the archives" match report retelling the story of every cup final, along with a line-up of the players involved, complimented by an A to Z of every player to have participated since 1946.

A former secretary with Inverness Caledonian F.C., Mr Davidson says that the book was produced with the help of many people across the football landscape, including several Highland League club secretaries and supporters – and not least, family friend Alex Main, who wrote a foreword for the book before his passing in 2018.

Mr Davidson added: "I was given confidence to use the foreword from Alex by his son. That is the only downside for me in producing the book, that Alex didn't get a chance to read the finished piece. I will be eternally in debt to him for providing the foreword.

"The design for the cover was produced by a chap named Al Knight. I think it is a real stand-out cover and it does a lot for the book itself. I thought it would be prudent to have a design that is a throwback to the history of football from back in the day, when many of the finals took place. Many match programmes from the 50s or 60s looked like this.

"I couldn't be more delighted with the finished product. It is a superb publication."

The book is currently available for online orders via PayPal at hlcf-book.co.uk or in person at Mailboxes on Church Street, Inverness. Orders are also being accepted via email to davidsoni1@btinternet.com.

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