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Home / Latest News / Review: Memoirs of a Hard Man, by Danny Malloy with Andy Malloy

Review: Memoirs of a Hard Man, by Danny Malloy with Andy Malloy

Timing is an essential quality for a defender in football, but none of Danny Malloy’s many tackles in a career principally with Dundee and Cardiff City was delivered with the precision of his autobiography.            

It was published three days before Cardiff City achieved promotion to the top flight of football.            

The last time they had achieved that – when it was known as the First Division rather than the Premiership – was on April 16, 1960 – 53 years before to the day.            

Malloy was then the club’s captain, escorted from Ninian Park by the police as the pitch was stormed by many in the jubilant 52,364 crowd after a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa had earned Cardiff City promotion.            

“Our feeling of pure relief was only matched in its intensity by the reaction of the Cardiff fans,” writes Malloy, 82who will be 83 in November.            

“In seconds every square inch of the pitch was taken up by supporters as they chanted each player’s name in turn.            

“I ended up being escorted off the pitch by two burly policemen and, along with the rest of the team, was encouraged to say a few words. I admit to being unable to recall any of what was said that night.            

“The main thing for us all was that we were back in the big time. At the time of writing, it was the last time a Cardiff City team gained promotion to the top division.”            

The draw against Charlton Athletic this week that took Cardiff City to the Premiership marked a bittersweet season for Malloy with Dundee already doomed to finish at the bottom of the Scottish Premier League.            

What shines through in Memories of a Hard Man is the affection he has for both clubs.            

Malloy was born in Stirlingshire and left school when he was 14 to work in the iron foundry where his father was employed.            

In 1948, he was signed by Dundee, although he had to serve two years’ national service before starting his career with the Dens Park club where he quickly established himself as an uncompromising centre-half, unfortunate not to be capped by Scotland. At the end of 1955, he was sold to Cardiff City for £17,500.            

Dundee needed the money and, in an era before motorways and cheap domestic flights, it meant there would be no quick trips back home.            

Malloy’s book, which he wrote with the help of his son, is a comprehensive review of his life and career, rich in detail and anecdotes and rekindling memories of an era when football was more uncompromising and honest than it is now.            

Malloy recalls his many battles with Brian Clough when Cardiff City met Middlesbrough, once punching him to the ground off the ball after intense provocation.            

“Some people think Clough was a misunderstood genius: I just think the man was an egotistical, arrogant assessment,” is the Scot’s blunt assessment.            

One year after leading Cardiff City to the First Division, Malloy was on his way to Doncaster after being turned down in his request for a £10 a week pay rise was turned down. a few seconds pay for a top footballer today.            

His career fizzled out and the Bluebirds were relegated, not making it back until this week.            

Memoirs of a Hard Man, Danny Malloy with Andy Malloy (Vertical Editions, £11.99)                         

Review by Paul Rees

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