Danny Malloy might have been raised in modest circumstances in Longcroft but he still went on to achieve legendary status in football.
A tough-tackling centre half, Malloy is still spoken about in reverential terms in South Wales thanks to his time as captain at Cardiff City.
He was the backbone of the Bluebirds side that won promotion to the English top flight in 1959-1960, an achievement no Cardiff team would match until May this year.
Now a new book, written by Malloy’s son Andy, tells the story of this rugged footballer and his remarkable career.
Born in Longcroft, near Bonnybridge, in 1932, Malloy began his career at Camelon Juniors and turned professional at Dundee.
He made 72 appearences for the Dens Park, which at the time was dominated by the presence of Billy Steel, then the world’s record signing, and a man who was born just along the road from Malloy in Dunipace.
Danny would make his own mark in football when he was signed for £17,000 by Cardiff City in 1955. He would go on to play 225 times for the Welsh club, and despite being based many miles from his home, he would still encounter some old Bonnybridge faces.
“I heard familiar shouts from the terracing at Stamford Bridge one December afternoon. ‘Durty Bonnybrig! Durty Bonnybrig!’ It was a familiar saying back home among the locals. Bonnybridge was very much an industrial town. When I heard the shouts, I turned around to see Will Ritchie, an old friend I’d forgotten was working in London.”
Malloy had a reputation as being scared of no one on the football park, and in one notorious incident during a game against Middlesbrough in 1958, he flattened Brian Clough in an off-the-ball incident after the pair had exchanged some choice words.
Malloy left for Doncaster Rovers in 1961 following a pay dispute with the Cardiff board, a decision he now regrets.
“I had gone from the prospect of another season in the top flight of English football, lining up against the likes of Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea, to visiting places such as Workington and Rochdlae.”
Now aged 82, and suffering from ill health, Malloy was still thrilled to hear that his old club had finally managed to achieve promotion back to the top flight.
By sheer conicidence, his son Andy was already working on a book that would tell the story of his dad’s career.
“I’d heard so many stories about football from my dad,” said Andy. “I’d had a couple of crime thrillers published and one day, while I was trying to think of a plot for my next thriller, I began to put two and two together.
“I needed a new project to work on and decided to take a break from the crime and start jotting down some notes about my dad’s life. At first I was concerned that I would not have enough material for a book. After a week or so I realised that there was more than enough.
“I think my dad knows everybody in Central Scotland, Dundee and South Wales, During every family holiday he always met someone he knew from his footballing days. It could be Morecambe or Miami, he’d always manage it.”
‘The Danny Malloy Story - Memoirs of a Hard Man’ is available from the Falkirk High Street branch of Waterstones.