Gordon Prentice
Gordon Prentice

Is visiting famous gravesites weird? The burial sites of Karl Marx and WG Grace are popular with communists and cricket fans. I visited Davie Cooper’s gravesite, a Scottish footballer buried in the same cemetery as my father and my mother’s parents, and brother

Many people I know consider me downright weird. What is weird? Some might say it is liking Donald Trump. Others might think Harvey Weinstein is a hero. Both might be considered left-field opinions. But visiting graves as a form of tourism? You’d hardly be surprised if your nearest and dearest called for people in white coats.

I’ve done it twice. Once in 2000 to lay a Rangers shirt on the grave of Davie Cooper, soon after I buried my father. He was a Scottish  footballer who made Ruud Gullit’s all-time XI. We were both born in Hamilton (Scotland). His funeral service was held in the church I was baptised in. And he’s buried in the same cemetery, just metres from my father.

Is that weird? I don’t think so. Davie Cooper played a seminal part in my upbringing. He made me believe things could could happen, no matter how dire the circumstances.

In 1985, Scotland were 29 minutes from going out the FIFA World Cup. Big Jock Stein brought on Cooper as a substitute. He scored a penalty with nine minutes left. Scotland manager, Jock Stein, died minutes after the final whistle.

Jock Stein was another Hamiltonian, the first British manager to win the European Cup. It’s only right that I paid Davie a very person thanks. And big Jock too, although he was cremated.

The last time I visited Coop’s grave when I took my fiance to my father’s grave. The tears still flow.