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The Dinwoodie Interview

MICHAEL Stewart is not your average former footballer. He may have become an on-screen sporting pundit, but there the resemblance with most of his former fellow players ends as he has been prepared to wrestle not just with questions about the offside laws, lone strikers and wingbacks but the big political issues of the day.

He left Edinburgh at 16 to join Manchester United, a period of teenage exile which proved to be his political awakening, and when injury foreclosed his playing days and he had returned to his native city he plunged into the Yes campaign in 2014. He was then in contention for being selected as an SNP candidate during the landslide of the following year’s General Election, and his television and radio performances analysing matches recently earned him the accolade of Scottish Football Supporters’ Association pundit of the year.

Stewart recalls a wonderful childhood growing up in the Edinburgh suburb of East Craigs, kicking a ball about “morning, noon and night” with his big brother Rory. “It was a great place to be brought up, a very enjoyable childhood”, he recalls. His father was a civil servant working for the Accounts Commission, his mother was an office manager and it was not a political background. He has a vague memory of his father expressing the view that Scotland could not afford to become independent “but he’s a massive Yes supporter now, as are all my family.”

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March 2018 Issue number 39 The only independent Pro Scottish magazine on sale today