The Bear Hunter is the fascinating and unlikely seven-year story of one football fan's devotion to his team. In 2009, John Irwin began a mission to track down every one of the 86 players who featured in Rangers' nine league title wins between 1988 and 1997 and have them sign his favourite strip. From legends such as McCoist, Laudrup and Gough to journeymen, loanees and youngsters who only turned out for one match, John vowed to find them all.
His obsession took him around the world. From a nightmare trip to Ukraine and a whistle-stop tour of Dubai, to a mayor's office in America and 13 trains across Holland, the number of John's adventures was equalled only by the miles clocked up. Whether it was a fire station in Sheffield or a shortbread factory in the Highlands, amateur detective John left no stone unturned to find each of his heroes.
On the 20th anniversary of Rangers' greatest achievement, this is the nine-in-a-row squad then and now – seen through the eyes of one super-fan who turned Bear Hunter to meet his heroes.
In the famous lyrics of the Rangers anthem, 'Follow Follow', John Irwin went everywhere and anywhere to track down his heroes. His obsession took him around the world and provided him with adventures and memories he’ll never forget, such as:
- The overseas journey to hell that left John lost, alone, penniless and fearing for his life
- The whisky dinner with an ex-striker that caused John to pass out and wake up in another country
- The important medical operation John postponed in order to meet a player who featured in just one nine-in-a-row game
- The fans’ favourite who invited John into his beautiful American home for a Sunday roast dinner with his family
- An airport security scare in one of the most conflict-heavy countries in the world
- An epic diversion that started with a drive to Great Yarmouth and ended in a five-star Dubai hotel
- The tale of a phone book, perseverance and a helpful sister that led to a meeting with a genuine football icon
- A return trip to hell to secure the final signature, but would John’s health hold out as the stress became too much?
Click here for more information, or to read a sample from The Bear Hunter