'ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE' by Jim Wilkie

By Nottingham Arab
Last updated : 16 October 2002

This book has a sub-title of ‘A History Of Professional Football In Dundee’, and indeed its focus is on history with a capital ‘H’. Anyone, like me, who is more interested in events from 1970-ish onwards, ie my lifetime, has to wait until chapter 16 of 25 to begin coverage of ‘recent’ events.


Wilkie's book lacks pictorial content


It’s a facts-laden tome too. Every directorship change of both clubs is covered from day one until present, and I have to say that reading that J Bloggs replaced D Bloggs as director in 1923 etc etc makes for a read something akin to reading the minutes of a meeting at which you were not present. The book struggles to find a flow too, and whilst it’s depth of research is self-evident, there seems to be little in the way of form, which makes the book difficult to read, and practically impossible to absorb as the reader is simply bombarded with fact after fact after dry fact. It is also difficult to use the book as a reference tool, as there is no index. I feel the author missed out here, because the book’s major useful function could have been something to dip into to get that result from 19-oatcake, or the signings from a certain period etc. There are also no pictures other than the one on the front cover!

It’s not all bad news though. Both teams are covered impartially and fully, and it can be fascinating to read about Dundee FC signing Billy Steel, or why McLean joined United from ‘across the great divide’, so there’s certainly plenty in there for the anoraks amongst us.

In summary, the facts are presented in a chronological style, in prose, and I feel either an index, or simply a ‘facts and stats’ section would have been more useful, eg, league tables from each year, players in and out etc.

I bought my copy, after ordering, from Waterstones in Nottingham, so it’s not difficult to get hold of – it’s even available online here.

If you have an interest in knowing the history of what happened and why then this is a must for you, but as I said, don’t expect an easy read!!

Nottingham Arab.

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