ALLY Begg is a well known name in the Football Broadcasting world having established himself at MUTV and Celtic TV en route to his Production role at BEIN Sports in Qatar.
He is also a fellow Aberdeen fan, who followed me on Twitter when I started blogging where I returned the favour, and he never hides his love for the Dons, occasionally blogging himself and doing podcasts for bytheminafc, speaking so passionately on how he wants to see his team approach again.
Ally has also written a book called Begg To Differ. He takes pride in posting reviews from his readers who’ve spoke kindly about it, including Aberdeen defender Andrew Considine, and I always promised to buy his book and see what the fuss was about. It took me a while, such is life with a toddler who is much higher in the priority list, but eventually bought the book and found the time to read it – and I wasn’t to be disappointed!
Ally talks about life growing up as a Dons fan during the halcyon days of Sir Alex Ferguson. The tales of how his dad always kept him sweating about getting Cup Final tickets and delivering, being soaked to the bone before that famous Cup Winners Cup Final in 1983, how he couldn’t concentrate at school ahead of a big European game he’d go to or listen to and the typical emotions he went through whenever Aberdeen scored or won a big game.
Having been brought up through the glory years, it must’ve been a culture shock to Ally to come to terms with Aberdeen going through two decades of mediocrity, from being regular title winners and Cup Final attendees to being content with a top four finish and suffering the odd cup upset and flirtation with relegation. Even though he was busy with his varying work commitments, he still made time to follow the Dons and always kept up to date, the act of a true fan.
Ally also talks about his brief music career with Bad Boys Inc and it was refreshing to see someone acknowledge the flip side to the public persona of an entertainer, where people perceive them as rich and happy. He speaks of how uncomfortable he found life as a pop star, to the extent where fans were camping out on his parents lawn just to get pictures of autographs with him at a point he wanted privacy. He also revealed that the band members didn’t make a lot of money during the three years they were together and that the majority of the cash went into the producers pocket rather than the people who gave them the top ten hits. It goes to show that life in the limelight isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be and Ally was big enough to admit he wasn’t comfortable with the publicity.
What I found really fascinating about the book was Ally’s constant reference to his late father and his undeniable gratitude to the man who brought him up, along with his mother of course. The Dons poem he’d written for an Aberdeen match day programme was brilliant and Ally speaks with pride every time his dad is mentioned, whether it’d be tales of games they went to or how he’d be there at a time where Ally was down to put his arm around him, such as the Bad Boys Inc experience.
I can relate to Ally in many ways. He supports Aberdeen, a very family orientated guy, played football (until a bad leg break ended that for him) and does the occasional writing when he can. The only difference is he’s managed to fulfil a career in the media, partly because of people he knows in the industry giving him the opportunity but mainly because of his talent, passion and determination to make something for himself. I would’ve loved to have had a career in football journalism, unfortunately I didn’t get the breaks but enjoy what I do now and I’m pleased to see Ally do so well and not forget his roots along the way. The book was thoroughly enjoyable, spoken from the heart and no bullshitting along the way. I’ll also add there is a touch of class in that he’s not naming people who’ve caused him grief along the way in his professional career, shows he’s not dragging himself down to their level.
The fact that Sir Alex Ferguson himself agreed to Foreward Begg To Differ says it all about how well respected a person Ally Begg is to the Football Media Industry!
Great book Ally, Merry Christmas to you and your family!