August 23 2017

The ‘Beautiful Game’ will be celebrated like never before this weekend as three Scottish football poets take part in a unique competition in the Scottish Borders.

Selkirk FC’s Poet in Residence Thomas Clark will join his Dumbarton & St Johnstone counterparts Stephen Watt and Jim Mackintosh to compete for ‘The Poetry & Penalties’ Cup on Saturday 26th August at the Stowed Out Festival. The competition is being sponsored by the Nil by Mouth charity as part of its campaign to celebrate the positives of Scottish football.

The three poets will fuse recitals of their prose with a special penalty shoot out to determine the winner of the trophy in front of an audience of festival-goers.

Thomas Clark became Scotland’s first footballing ‘Poet-In-Residence’ in August 2015 where he spent the season chronicling the ups and downs of life at Lowland League Selkirk FC. Stephen Watt is Dumbarton FC’s poet in residence and his work regularly appears in the club’s programmes. St Johnstone fan Jim Mackintosh was appointed as his club’s official bard in 2016 and is the editor of ‘Mind The Time’ a collection of football poetry with profits benefiting Dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers across Scotland.

The Stowed Out festival runs across the 25th & 26th August and aims to showcase a diverse line up of music, spoken word and art that is sometimes challenging but always entertaining.

Thomas Clark said:
‘It’s fantastic to finally get all three of Scotland’s bards together in one place, and there can be no better occasion for that than a bit of friendly competition. Every young lad grows up dreaming of lifting the cup, and – let’s face it – the Selkirk FC trophy cabinet isn’t exactly bursting at the seams. But win, lose or draw, it will be an event to remember, and that’s what football is all about.’

Jim Mackintosh said:
‘Being the poet in residence of St Johnstone is a privilege and has provided me the opportunity to become involved in Football Memories Scotland and through that produce ‘Mind the Time’ – an anthology of football related poetry which has led to this weekend. I’ve been training hard and I’m ready. This is a not to be missed opportunity to promote poetry, lift St Johnstone’s first trophy of the season whilst at the same time demonstrate maturity and experience can overcome the honourable yet exuberant verve of Messers Clark and Watt.’

Stephen Watt said:
‘The lads should be anxious. I’ve had my 4 year old niece and puppy stand between a pair of training-goalposts, using a ‘Frozen’ inflatable ball for practice. That’s how serious I am about winning this.’

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘We are delighted to be involved in what we believe is a global first poetry and penalties competition. The three poets are all smashing guys and we have been following their work closely over recent years. Our charity seeks to use football as a vehicle to bring people together and to remember the things we have in common and this is such a unique way of celebrating the joy the sport can bring to millions of people each weekend.’