11 years ago I suffered a catastrophic leg break. During my rehabilitation time I read many a book on my favourite topic – Aberdeen FC.
The Club was in the midst of celebrating an existence of exactly 100 years and one man and his dog had released a book but I was yet to read one from a fan’s point of view. To kill my downtime I decided I would put pen to paper and tell my tale – a fan’s tale!
Fast forward to the present day and my book for reasons only known to my dearest publisher is away to hit the shelves and online shopping stores, it’s been a hell of a journey!
I have given my best not to turn this book into an autobiography but to some it may read like this, my own perception of this book from concept to realization is a journey through life following a football club and all the stories that go with it.
I suppose I am extremely fortunate and some may argue blessed to have lived an interesting and varied life which has all added colour and drama to my tale.
My companion though throughout has been my club, Aberdeen FC.
From the very early days growing up just outside Aberdeen to moving to London where my path unintentionally shifted to the Far East where my life very much began to take shape I now find myself in Qatar working as a Senior Football Producer for beIN Sports producing the Channel’s Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and FIFA 2014 World Cup coverage.
In this book you will read tales of my late Grandfather, John Begg, who up until he died many years ago was a much loved and hugely respected football journalist based in Glasgow. Sir Alex Ferguson who very kindly wrote the foreword for me has a very special place in his heart for my Grandfather, a tale I have elaborated on in the book.
The early days supporting Aberdeen for obvious reasons play a major part in my book for all the incredible experiences one was able to enjoy first-hand as League Titles, Cup triumphs and unforgettable European games filled my childhood. As well as the good times I have openly shared the bad ones too as means of inspiration for others.
At this point my book somewhat changes pace and does become more autobiographic as I attempt to discover why we become fans, be it football fans or boy-band fans! To help explain this odd juncture I am not arrogant enough to believe that you the reader was aware that from the years 1992-1995 I was part of a relatively successful boy band called Bad Boys Inc! I have no idea even 20 years later how this happened and more important why it happened but I have told my tale and attempted to give a football spin to the story. The whole experience was like being trapped in a never ending tornado, a rollercoaster of emotions if you like but I have attempted to use the story to show people that with will, determination and forward thinking it is possible to achieve anything in life.
I was forced into reinventing myself and seek an alternative career when at the age of 22 I was left to fend for myself after the band split and the lads and I went our separate ways but like before football saved me from falling into a very deep hole.
One was able to achieve this mainly thanks to some crazed Dundee fans who at the 1995 Skol Cup Final at Hampden abused me throughout the match to the point where all my frustrations, disappointment and deep-rooted rage came to the surface and I was almost arrested for starting a riot.
In a few seconds while sobbing uncontrollably my late Father held me tight to his chest and assured me all would be okay. At that moment I believe my life shifted and the person I am today started to develop. From there on in I picked myself up and fate very much played its hand when I managed to forge a career in sports broadcasting.
From the early days at Manchester United Television where I learned my trade to the giddy heights of Sky Sports News and Celtic TV I have told many a tale.
Upon leaving Glasgow and heading east to Singapore more obstacles was placed at my doorstep but overcame them mainly thanks to my wife and self-belief. Stories from Pittodrie continue to flow throughout this part of the book but I hope above all else some will use my tale as a means of inspiration.
Begg to Differ is out on 1st October 2014 priced at £12.99 – you can pre-order it now via Amazon and keep up with everything Ally is doing and talking about via his twitter account @ally_begg