Ayr United Miscellany by Duncan Carmichael is a thoroughly enjoyable journey though some of the eccentric or even bizarre happenings that have taken place during the long and distinguished career of Ayr United FC. The book will, obviously, be of more interest to supporters of Ayr United and to residents of Ayr: but what emerges from between its covers are stories which are likely to be of wider appeal. Many will certainly have resonance for anyone interested in the development of the "beautiful game", or who spend their time supporting a local football club for the sheer love of it.
Duncan Carmichael has written a number of previous books about Ayr United, including a two volume official history and collections of images. You get the feeling, though, that Ayr United Miscellany is the book he always wanted to write: and certainly a book he'd have been unable to write without years of immersion in the subject. On the evidence of this book and his other titles, if Duncan Carmichael appeared on "Mastermind" his specialist subject of choice would doubtless be Ayr United. He'd equally doubtlessly do very well indeed: after all, the question setters would in all probability be referring to his own works for ideas.
Some of the stories that emerge are fascinating from a historical perspective. We read, for example, about the game played between Ayr Academicals (Ayr United's predecessors) against Glasgow University on the evening of 7 November 1878. The match was intended to give the new-fangled idea of electric floodlights its first test in Scotland. All went reasonably well until the second half, when it began to rain. The generator drive belts started to slip, and the experiment, and the match, came to a premature end. Also mentioned is the 1901 away match in Aberdeen. Fans travelled by special train, and on their return were burdened by fresh fish purchased on the quayside: before the days of the coolbox. Elsewhere we read of the club's greatest goals; of characters among the fans; odd coincidences in the club's history; popular myths; and stories about managers and players.