In 1967 Celtic manager Jock Stein stepped from the tunnel of Lisbon's Estadio Nacional and took up a position pitch-side as his team of home-grown journeymen trotted out to face Inter Milan, the charismatic superstars of Italian football, in the European Cup final. Celtic were a team forged in Stein's own image, steeled with a relentless industry and integrity by their inspirational manager whose character had, in turn, been honed by the horrors of the deep dark of the Lanarkshire coalfields. Martin Greig and Charlie McGarry's extraordinary novel delves to the very heart of that incredible season through the eyes of Stein - as he plots and plans and drags his team to the very pinnacle of European club football - and those of Tom, an idealistic young fan from the East End of Glasgow, whose dreams of life beyond the decaying slums of the Gorbals are inextricably tied to those of his heroes. The Road to Lisbon is a novel of hopes and dreams, of self discovery and triumph over adversity - and of an unerring love with an institution that represents so much more than just a football club.
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Jock Stein is a central character in this wonderful novel, which tells the story of Celtic’s 1967 European Cup triumph. The novel has a twin narrative – the story of a group of Celtic fans from the Gorbals who take a road trip to Lisbon for the final, and that of Jock Stein in the build-up to the biggest game of his life. The book offers a different perspective on a familiar story, and each narrative is equally captivating, due in part to having two authors, with each responsible for one part of the story. This novel is certainly in the Champions League of football fiction.
- Paul Cuddihy
Martin Greig is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer. He lives and works in Glasgow. Charles McGarry is a freelance subeditor and designer for various national and local newspapers. He lives and works in Glasgow.