It may be a miserable Edinburgh night, but that does not deter a decent sized-crowd filling up the Spark Theatre to see Ex-Rangers legend Mark Walters talk about his autobiography Wingin’ It: The Mark Walters Story.
The weather is actually so bad our host, Pat Nevin, gives us a warning of circumstances the power may go out. He reassures us though they are happy to chat in the dark. Walters doesn’t seem so convinced.
Inevitably the bulk of the interview section of the event focuses on Walters time at Rangers and the terrible racist abuse he faced at the time. It is hard listening to stories of the kind of abuse he suffered. A timely reminder of how bad racism in football was at the time and how far we have come and how far we still have to go.
Particularly disturbing was a story of him being unable to take a corner due to all the coins been thrown at him at Tynecastle. But, despite the racism, it is clear that Walters has great affection for his times at Rangers and talks warmly about his teammates and admits you wouldn’t get away today with what they did then in terms of the drinking culture.
Before the question and answer section, Nevin talks to Walters about his time at Liverpool and the twilight of his playing career where he played for some unlikely lower league teams such as Dudley Town. Telling all these tales what shines through the most is Walters undimmed love for the game, and it makes for fascinating listening. Equally fascinating though are the more emotional moments such as discussing his relationship with his estranged father.
At this point, it opens up for questions which once again focus mainly on racism and the advice he would give current players. His philosophy seems to remain to stand up against it and continue to play your best football, and he sees little value in walking off the pitch. Although he concedes this may stem from his old school mentality. He also adds there needs to be more education from youth level up.
The event end on a lighter note with an audience member asking what it was like wining the title with Rangers. “It was great”, Walters beams much to the delight of the predominantly Rangers supporting audience.