Ossett Town FC welcomes its first poet laureate

Ralph Dartford: New resident poet at Ossett Town FC. Ralph is aiming to produce an original piece of poetry for inclusion in every match day programme for the 2013/2014 season.'w309c332
Ralph Dartford: New resident poet at Ossett Town FC. Ralph is aiming to produce an original piece of poetry for inclusion in every match day programme for the 2013/2014 season.'w309c332
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A local wordsmith will make his mark on Ossett Town FC’s fixtures this season by providing original poetry for the club every week.

Ralph Dartford, a member of the Ossett Observer arts collective, has become the club’s first poet-in-residence.

He’ll provide original football-themed poetry for match programmes, and is hoping for a chance to perform the poems in the clubhouse, on Prospect Road.

Mr Dartford, who also works for Arts Council England, said he was a big fan of Ossett Town.

He said: “It’s a really good club and they do splendid work in the community. I’m a big fan as well, and thought it would be nice to do something really positive for the town.

“Hopefully I can do some readings in the clubhouse.”

Mr Dartford said he was partly inspired by local writer Ian McMillan, who made a name for himself as the poet-in-residence at Barnsley FC.

Neil Spofforth, marketing manager at Ossett Town, said: “When someone from the local area has a talent to showcase we are only too happy to support them. We’re sure we’re one of, if not the first, club at this level to have a poet and we look forward to sharing Ralph’s work.”

Mr Dartford’s work was on show for the first time last Friday, when Ossett Town took on the Leeds United under-21s.

And his first poetry book, called ‘Cigarettes, Beer and Love’ is now available on www.ossettobserver.co.uk

An excerpt of his football poetry is as follows: 

Mexico 1970

“There were rumours

of decimalisation.

A new decade in modernism

at South Ossett Junior school.

It was the summer of 1970.

Of Esso World Cup coins.

Fools gold for heroes.

My Dad didn’t own a car.

My best friends name was Zolly.

He had a brand new colour TV.

A yelping dog called Bugsy.

A Jewish bosomed mum.

And Rosa taught me to dance,

eat a pickled herring.

She wore the world in beauty.

Just like Pele’s final pass.”