Willie McGuire has come a long way since the days when he used to nip home from work on a Saturday, wolf down a piece and square sausage with brown sauce and then head for Brockville Although, he is still working at the same cash and carry in Airdrie.
The winger was popular from his time as a Bairn in the 1980s and is hoping to re-visit his Falkirk fans next month at the Falkirk Supporters’ Society’s big breakfast.
But since Brockville, McGuire has become a published author and achieved national attention with his trickery with a ball again, only it’s a small chocolate one.
“I couldn’t believe the commotion over the Maltesers thing, when the TV called, when the newspapers thought it’d go to Soccer AM. It was good because it gave me a chance to mention the book, but it still didn’t get me a publisher.”
That book is a mystery novel, Missing, but the tale of how he came to write it was too far fetched for the former winger.
“Writing a book is something I’ve always wanted to do. Everyone thought I’d write about football, I played under Jock Stein and Ally McLeod. They were some men, John Lambie too. There are stories there, but everyone does the memoirs and they don’t write it. All the mistakes in my book, start to finish, it’s all me.
“I had a bag snatched in Barcelona. On the final day in the city we got talking to a cafe owner whose husband ‘loved Scottish people and one especially’. I was listing famous Scots, then she said ‘McGuire’. It was amazing. I told her it was my name - William McGuire - and she said ‘Oh no, it is William Wallace’.
“We left the cafe, walked 50 yards and it began to rain. We turned back, and the cafe wasn’t there. We couldn’t find it. That was enough to concoct a story. I’m fairly sure our bags and the lady were connected somehow thats how the name McGuire was in her head - the cruise tickets were in it. But that was too far fetched - even for the story.”
Willie is keen for Falkirk fans to read his tale, rather than give much away about the plot – though did agree to a short synopsis which can be seen on www.falkirkherald.co.uk. – and he’s looking forward to reminiscing with Bairns fans over the good old days in the 1980s when his goal helped the club seal promotion to the Premier League.
“I hated the Premier League it was designed for money, not football. I had to play football, that was my stature, but it wasn’t for footballers - they were the first guys out the team. You were going places looking for a draw and they set their teams up in such a manner.
“A home game at Brockville was a different story but going to Dundee, Ibrox, Parkhead or Pittodrie, that was just trying to get something from anything – I hated that.
“I was stereotyped as a winger because I’m a wee guy, but I had to have freedom... they call it playing in the hole now, so I’d just float.
“There were plenty of shouts from the supporters but they were great, and we had a really good season, the whole of Falkirk was great. The board and the club was great too, even when I left.
“Dave Clark, the manager, came to training, and I sensed it. He moved me over to players who had just come in and said to me afterwards I’d be going to Aberdeen with the reserves on the Saturday, and tried to soften it by making me captain, but I told him I didn’t want to – the writing was on the wall from then on.
“Dave Clark liked big guys in his team and I never played another game - I asked for a free, didn’t get one but at the end of the season the board gave me one.
“And because I’d given the board a turn I wasn’t as out of pocket as I could have been. They gave me a wee clock too which was a really nice gesture. Every team I left turned pro afterwards – Airdrie, Falkirk, Partick then Dumbarton.
“My Saturday routine was work in the cash and carry in the morning, home, piece and square sausage, shirt and tie and off to Brockville. I left with a real soft spot for Falkirk.” Missing is available on Amazon. Tickets for the Bairns big breakfast are still available from FSS members.
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