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Publication Date
03 April 2014
Available as an eBook only
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Birlinn Limited

The Glasgow Curse

My Life in the Criminal Underworld
by William Lobban - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

'In his engaging “no-holds-barred” autobiography, The Glasgow Curse, Mr Lobban tells the story of his life within the Scottish crime milieu with wit, skill and unflinching honesty' – All Things Crime (blog)

This is the story of one of Glasgow’s most notorious criminals. In his own words, William Lobban tells how he was born in Exeter Prison to a violent, schizophrenic mother. His upbringing in the East End of Glasgow was just as bleak, and he ended up in care, destined for a life of violence and insecurity.

Aged only 15 he masterminded a daring break-in to a Glasgow pub, and many years of armed robberies, dealing class A drugs and gang fights followed. When he wasn’t causing mayhem on the streets, Lobban was serving terms in various young offenders’ institutions and prisons, where he was involved in some of the most serious prison riots of recent years.

In the course of his criminal career Lobban became closely associated with the infamous Paul Ferris, who was later to incriminate him as the murderer of fellow gangster Arthur Thompson Jr. Police also believed that Lobban was the man behind the brutal double killing of Bobby Glover and Joe ‘Bananas’ Hanlon, but none of these charges was made to stick. In this searing exposé of the Glasgow underworld he reveals the true facts behind those crimes which he really committed, and those of which he is falsely accused.

Read the first few chapters here:


William Lobban, after a harrowing upbringing in Glasgow, embarked on a life of crime which is detailed in this book. Released from prison 14 years ago, he has turned his back on crime ever since. He now lives in the Highlands of Scotland.


5 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Jan 9, 2014
The detail in The Glasgow Curse is so rich in detail – lived experience from writer William Lobban – that kept me glued to the pages. I had heard a bit about Glasgow and its criminal underbelly but I've never been there (despite having lived in London for six years!). It is hard to believe the violence of the city and its people but Lobban's brutal honesty and descriptive writing makes it come to life for the reader. It left me wanting to know more. Gripping.
matt mccusker
Dec 1, 2013
I am related to some of the Manson family and have witnessed some extreme violence myself, William Lobban's upbringing is shocking, but I hope he continues to turn his life around
Nov 19, 2013
At last a book that shows the grass, Ferris, as he really is.
Malcolm Archibald
Nov 10, 2013
'The Glasgow Curse' opens with the author's tragic birth and childhood, where William Lobban explains, in a no-holds-barred fashion, exactly what boyhood was like in a Glasgow crime family. Anybody expecting to read of the romance of crime will be disappointed: this is stark reality where alcohol and violence control lives and children are confronted by horror on a regular basis. Lobban puts no gloss on Glasgow life; he does not try and hide the brutality of existence where life was ruled by a code of silence and murder was nearly accepted. Interwoven with the uncompromising words is a sense of sadness as the young life of Lobban is viewed by the mature man: there is a sense of paradise lost, a feeling of what could have been as a parent looks back on his own childhood.

'The Glasgow Curse' has the feeling of a book written by a good man who wishes that his life had been something else. It is certainly not a book in which a convicted criminal gloats over his exploits; more a warning to others of what could have been.

Strongly written and powerful, it is a book to make the reader think.
Brook Rodger
Nov 6, 2013
I find myself reading it with a smile on my face, trying to imagine the good old days in the streets of East Glasgow, folk selling mussels in the lanes, the kids out playing in the streets, and the horse a cart man. Then within a paragraph I am casually reading about a robbery at a Bingo hall with a sawn off shotgun and a meat cleaver.

William finds the humour and joy where it was able to be found and clearly he soaked it up. He describes the emotional connections with the good things going around the estate and the casual way he discusses armed robbery in the same paragraph as a day-trip to Largs in fancy motorcars with his Uncle Billy is exactly how the reader should connect with the author. It makes me truly understand that this is the life he was born into; a life where sawn-offs are as real and as common to William as day trips to Largs… moreover it's as normal to him!

I look very forward to reading more, and truly hope this humorous, yet chilling, book achieves its goal of helping others in Glasgow and beyond avoid the Curse!

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