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New ball game as sports broadcaster Archie ready for a novel experience

Archie MacPherson made his name on the airwaves detailing the travails and occasional triumphs of Scottish footballers.

MR WRITE: Archie Macpherson is surrounded by football souvenirs at his home in Bothwell, but his first novel is not about the game. Picture: Colin Mearns
MR WRITE: Archie Macpherson is surrounded by football souvenirs at his home in Bothwell, but his first novel is not about the game. Picture: Colin Mearns

Now the veteran broadcaster has turned to the written word for his latest project and is due to release his first novel.

Titled Silent Thunder, the 200-page thriller tells the story of two teenagers in modern-day Glasgow who become caught up in a plot hatched by mysterious foreigners.

And the former BBC, STV and Eurosport commentator, who revealed last year that he is recovering after contracting cancer, said he had steered clear of football despite the old adage about novelists writing about what they know.

Macpherson said: "It is about two boys in Glasgow who become involved in some sort of turmoil with two foreigners who come to the city.

"It is not set in Glasgow - that is just the starting point - and after that the plot leaves and moves out to other places.

"It is an adventure story. My publisher says it is in the spirit of John Buchan, although I am not going to compare myself to him."

He added: "It's not connected to football. The boys are interested in football but it's not part of the plot. One of them wears a Lionel Messi Barcelona top, but that is as far as it goes."

Macpherson, who lives in Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, revealed that writing the book had brought his career full circle as he first put pen to paper to write fictional short stories rather then sports reports.

He said: "I had always wanted to write a novel, and wrote short stories when I was an impoverished teacher to make extra money.

"I would submit them for publication, and at first the rejection letters would come back like ping pong balls. This was in the 1960s and I used the pseudonym Alan Marshall, although I can't remember why.

"Eventually, one called The Law Of Averages was accepted by the Evening Times, which ran short stories in those days."

Following this success, he began contacting other publishers and media outlets, eventually writing for BBC Scotland. And a decision to read one tale aloud on radio was heard by broadcasting bosses, sparking a career as a commentator that would last for more than 40 years.

He said: "They accepted one of my stories and got an actor to read it for the radio. It was about a boy helping an Indian salesman selling brushes in a village in Lanarkshire, and I got the idea looking out the window of my classroom one day.

"The BBC kept accepting my stories and, in my arrogance, I thought I could read them better than the actor. I couldn't, but it was accepted anyway. They knew I was interested in sport and the broadcasting and commentating followed on from that."

Macpherson is the author of six non-fiction books, including a biography of Celtic manager Jock Stein and a memoir of his time following the Scotland team.

Silent Thunder is due to be released by Glasgow publisher Ringwood on May 15.

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