By David Knox
SCOTLAND’S first football poet in residence has turned his pen to fiction.
Thomas Clark published an anthology of verse last year, Selkirk FC vs the World, after taking up residency at Selkirk’s Yarrow Park.
The librarian has now released his first novel, Your Pal Andy.
And again he’s based his words around the Lowland League club.
Thomas told the Border Telegraph: “Folk are always talking about how easy footballers have it nowadays, but that’s far from the reality for most people in the professional game.
“For most players, professional football is a constant struggle to find a club who’ll take you on, to keep your head above water financially, and most of all to elbow your way into the first team.
“I wanted to write a book that was true to that side of the game, the struggle players face if they’re not a Messi or a Ronaldo – but at the same time, I wanted it to face that struggle with the characteristic good humour of the Scottish football fan.
“I’m hugely grateful to Selkirk FC for giving me the opportunity to write, and I hope it gives readers a chuckle or two.”
Clark is a former footballer himself, with teams ranging from Hamilton to Hawick Royal Albert.
He was appointed poet-in-residence at Selkirk FC in 2015.
His work to date, which is always written in Scots, has been praised by such writers as William McIlvanney, Ian McMillan and Matthew Fitt.
Your Pal Andy charts the comic misadventures of former Selkirk FC midfielder Andy Fairbairn as he struggles to make the breakthrough into the big time.
Packed full of hilarious glimpses into the world of the struggling player, the book is already being described as ‘the funniest novel ever written about Scottish football’.
Selkirk FC’s real manager Ian Fergus said: “We are hugely fortunate to be home to Scottish football’s first ever poet-in-residence, and we are delighted about the publication of Thomas’s first novel – hopefully the first of many!
“Not many clubs can boast a poet-in-residence, and we hope Thomas will stay with us for ‘a guid mony years tae come’.”