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:
“There were rumours
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.”