Putting Harry Hood on the shelf

Those who know me, to any degree, know that I hate to repeat myself. Let me emphasize this loudly for those in the back who may have missed it: I hate to be redundant.

So there.

In bookstores soon, but don’t let that stop you from pre-ordering an autographed copy here. . .

But even after writing about Harry Hood’s American tour of duty with the San Antonio Thunder in an earlier blog post, this post bears repeating because Matt Corr — Celtic historian and author, master of Celtic European travelogues, and Celtic Star colleague extraordinaire, among other accomplishments — has written a definitive and official biography of the man they said was “twice as good,” and hence part of the title.

Corr’s previous efforts with Celtic Star Books have been outstanding. “Invincible” outlines in great detail the first of the Quadruple Treble seasons where Celtic went unbeaten (and, in a truth-in-advertising moment, I’ve also written about it here). And I have to admit to being remiss in not mentioning earlier how great his other book with Celtic Star Books is — that being “Walfrid and the Bould Boys” that he wrote with David Potter and Liam Kelly — in which the trio plumbs the depths of Celtic’s infancy to outline the foundation of the club we support today.

With the holidays right around the corner, I have to confess that getting an Ange Postecoglou black sweater/jumper is on the top of my list for Santa, but second definitely would be Corr’s book.

But for those of you who may want to forego the Ange sweater/jumper — because, unlike me, you may not share the Aussie gaffer’s physique — you can pre-order the book from The Celtic Star Bookstore already at this link. Bear in mind that pre-orders come with an autographed copy of the book once it’s delivered to you.

As an aside, in this upcoming holiday season, what could possibly be better than Elf on a Shelf?

Wait for it . . . Hood on the Wood.

Ba-da-bum.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress . . .

Mon the Hoops!

Harry Hood: Bringing the Thunder

Celtic star Harry Hood took a break between his final playing days at Celtic and his return to Scotland to play for Motherwell by doing a short stint for the San Antonio Thunder of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1976.

The wave of Europe’s and South America’s best players coming to America in the mid-1970s to play in the North American Soccer League was supposed to be just that: a wave. The idea was to integrate top-name players — albeit players who may have been past their prime — with the local up-and-coming football talent to mesh into a product with which American sports fans could identify.

The wave, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective, turned into a tsunami, and the new American soccer fans were deluged with a crop of highly talented, if not slightly “high-mileage,” football stars, mostly from Europe and primarily from the British Isles.

Like Jimmy Johnstone, who enjoyed a short stay with the San Jose Earthquakes around this same time, another Celtic star that found a home — albeit a temporary one — in the United States was Harry Hood.

Hood played a season for NASL’s San Antonio Thunder in Texas in 1976. The Thunder that year was stocked with players from England and Scotland: Captain Bobby Moore brought his experience from leading England in the previous decade while joining countryman Bob McNab on the squad, and Hood joined fellow Scots Bobby Clark, Tommy Callaghan, Neil Martin, and Jim Forrest to make up the team playing at Alamo Stadium that season.

As an aside, Johnstone might also have been one of Hood’s teammates in San Antonio, as the Thunder was bidding for his services. However, Jinky ended up in San Jose that year in a minor contract squabble between the two clubs.

Hood made an impressive start that season, contributing to the team’s four-game unbeaten streak. He scored twice against the rival Los Angeles Aztecs in a game on July 3, 1976. However, San Antonio foundered during the rest of the season and finally finished out of a playoff spot in the Southern Division of the Pacific Conference.

But it was not for lack of trying: Hood’s score line for the season was 10 goals in 20 games in the sweltering Texas summer. As the NASL awarded players two points for a goal and one point for an assist, Hood finished that season in 19th place overall in NASL scoring. It is worth noting that he finished ahead of fellow “import” Geoff Hurst.

One season in the U.S. was enough for Hood, who returned to Scotland for the following season to play for Motherwell and Queen of the South, before embarking on a short managing stint and a career as a succesful businessman.

And while his on-field exploits at Alamo Stadium came nowhere near rivaling what transpired when he wore the hoops — there were no hat tricks against rivals like the Aztecs — Harry Hood did manage to bring the Thunder to San Antonio, even if it was just for one season.