Ae fond kick as Selkirk FC hire poet in residence

Garry O'Connor scores a penalty kick, in a pre-season friendly against Hibs. Picture: Grant Kinghorn
Garry O'Connor scores a penalty kick, in a pre-season friendly against Hibs. Picture: Grant Kinghorn
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FOOTBALL fans have long known their was something poetic about the beautiful game – so much so that one Scots side have made a poet one of their summer signings.

Lowland League side Selkirk are the first club in Scotland to hire a poet in residence and it is hoped that his works will inspire the team to the league title.

Scottish Cup runs are the real stuff of poetry

Thomas Clark

Award-winning writer Thomas Clark, 35, will be their resident wordsmith for the season, with his poetry appearing in match day programmes and an end-of-season anthology.

A former footballer himself with clubs ranging from Hamilton to Hawick Royal Albert, his published works include “Intae the Snaw”, a collection of Chinese poetry rendered into the Scots tongue, and a Glaswegian retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Clark, from Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity.

“Selkirk are the oldest football club in the Borders, one of the oldest in the country, and I’m looking forward to delving into that fascinating history through my poems.

“I’m very excited to have been appointed here.

“There are a few clubs down south which have poets in residence, but Selkirk will be the only club north of the border to have one.

“It really demonstrates what a forward-thinking club Selkirk are, on and off the pitch.”

Clark, who works as a librarian at Hawick High, hopes the team can build on their early form with a run in the Scottish Cup - one of the oldest tournaments in world football - which he feels could inspire some poetry.

He added: “The quality of football they aspire to at Selkirk is fantastic, and things like the recent win against Spartans are literally history in the making.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a great year to be involved with the club, and I’m delighted to be playing a part in recording it.

“Cup runs are the real stuff of poetry. It would be great if Selkirk could go on a wee run in the Scottish Cup this year.

“But the Lowland League is never short of drama, and I’m sure that, whatever happens, there’ll be plenty to write home about.”

Clark is also former footballer, having previously played for Hamilton Academical and Hawick Royal Albert.

In August 2014, Selkirk made headlines when they signed former Hibernian, Lokomotiv Moscow and Scotland forward Garry O’Connor

Selkirk chairman Ross Anderson has admitted that he’s a stranger to Keats and Yeats, but he is looking forward to reading the stanzas of the club’s latest signing. Mr Anderson said: “Thomas was in touch with us a little while ago and we started talking about what we could do together.

“I believe we’re the first Scottish club to have a poet in residence and I can’t wait to read his work.”

Last year, the current Hamilton midfielder Tony Andreu revealed that he likes to unwind away from the game by writing poetry.

Poems by Thomas Clark

Take Shelter

It’s Scottish Cup day in Selkirk

An aw things are richt;

The redness on the leaves like yon,

The shinin on the watter like yon.

Och, it is a perfect day,

A joke for the guyin o the cynic an the pessimist

Wha woke up sure it would be comin doon;

An no a clood in the sky, nor a drap on the breeze,

Hints at the troubles aheid.

The Timin o the Run

Leavin the pub at hauf past two is plenty,

Take in the fine delights

O the river’s stroll tae Philiphaugh.

How quiet it is. How the leaf-lined streets

Barely betray a passer-by.

Even when the rugby boys are at hame,

An their grund is dotted wi blue an red,

Whit guilty pleasure! Walkin on by their gate,

Like passin a rival kirk en route tae mass.

An so we dawdle, in oor watch-checkin way,

Pickin up pace as three comes near,

Turnin the corner at the cricket club

An steppin intae Yarrow Park;

An as the ref blaws his whistle

An the captain claps his hauns,

It’s as if the Souters

Have been stood there aw day,

Waitin for you tae show up.