History for me is a deeply personal business – my profession, but also my passion. I couldn’t imagine it being any other way. I have written on this site already before about other family members: books belonging to my grandfather William Power, and my grandmother Sheila’s brother, Paddy Neary. This post is about another relative – my paternal grandfather’s brother, Willie.
“The club director is the person in whom the fanaticism of the terraces and the urge for authority fuse. He is imbued with a desire to manage, yet is activated principally by his partisan local involvement and the moral approach he brings to the wider issue. ”
– Arthur Hopcraft , The Football Man (1968), p. 140
Arthur Hopcraft was writing about the game in England when he penned those words, but he might well have been talking about the directorate of any of the League of Ireland’s clubs in the same era. Hopcraft’s book was published in 1968, the year Manchester United became champions of Europe for the first time. When the draw was made for the first round of the competition in 1968/69, a small city on the south-east coast of Ireland, with a long footballing tradition, recently crowned champions themselves at home could hardly believe their luck when they were drawn against the mighty European champions from across the Irish sea. Neither I’m sure could their board, including a relative of mine, Willie Toms. Continue reading “The Football Man: Willie Toms, 1910-1983”