Your Pal Andy

EbookcoverI’m very excited to announce that my first novel, “Your Pal Andy”, is coming out this month. Written during the second year of my writing residency at Selkirk FC, it follows the misadventures of former Selkirk player Andy Fairbairn on his tortuous road from Yarrow Park to the big time.  I have always wanted to write a football novel with no obvious market or commercial appeal, so huge thanks to Selkirk FC for making my dreams become reality. Sneak preview below!

 

March 18th

Well Joe old Donaldson named the squad for this Satterdays game and I am in it. I guess that is a little bit of vindicashun for all my hard work sints I got back and it just goes to show Joe that you shoud never give up on your dreams altho of coarse Joe it is not true for everybody and for some people it woud probily be best to reign in your expectations a bit and not hope for too much and that way you wont be so dissappointed.

The game is away to Ross Country and is a twelve noon kick off so we will be travelling up on Friday night and sleeping in a hotel. The other lads dont like staying away from home and they were all mumping and moneing on acct that they will miss there familys etc but we are not away for long and at lease when they are home they have got their wifes to look after them but I do not Joe and hotels are the only chance I got to have someone else take care of me for a change.

So I am looking forward to it Joe even if they are not and the only down side is that the club are too mean to spring for a room each so we are haveing to share and my roommate is a lad the club just signed from France and his name is Vidian. Apparently he plays for Guadeloupe Joe which goes to show you what the standard of football is over their as he does not know what direction we are shooting ½ the time altho that is maybe on acct he does not speak any English. But it takes all sorts as they say Joe and he has not done me no harm and in fact he never says anything to anybody so I will probily be able to get threw the whole weekend without even noticing he is their and I guess he will be glad to have me as a roommate too instead of 1 of these other loud mouths that has always got so much to say for themselfs.

Burdon has got a room to himself of coarse and Brady says it is because no one else will room with him but to me Joe it is just pure favritism and it is old Donaldsons way of letting me know that I am still person non grata round this club and that he is only keeping me in the squad on acct that the owners woud scream blue murder if he left me out.

I do not know if I coud ever get a job as a scout Joe on acct that I do not have a face like a burst melodian but if I did I woud be prity good at it on acct I can look at any player in the world and tell you why they are no good. Now that I am back training with the 1st team I have been able to have a good look at this Burdon guy and for all the talk of him being a wonder kid and a golden boy etc Joe I can read him like a book and the only reason he is able to get by in this league is because people buy in to the hype and they have not got the sents to see threw it all like I have eg whenever he is on the right hand side he goes to cross with his right foot then faints and cuts inside. Well Joe our players is so dumb that he coud have a thought bubble comeing out of his head with a picture of him cutting inside in it and they still woud be none the wiser but once he comes up against 1 of these big guys at the proper teams they will go right threw him the 1st time he tries it and they might not even wait until then if they happen to here him speaking first as he is a proper no user Joe and you can take that from me.

For example Joe at training this am I had a chance to put 1 in to the near post and so I took it and as usual no one was on the same page and it went strait in to the keeper and Burdon threw his hands up in the air and said I am right here why dident you cut it back and I told him I dident see him and he said you woud have seen me if I had been between 2 slices of bread and then he says I know you are desprit for money but we dont get goal bonuses for training and I told him it was a pass not a shot and he said I coudent tell the diffrents which I guess goes to show you how much he knows abt football Joe.

Well I have got a prity good read on old Donaldson by now Joe and I already know that I wont be starting the game agenst Ross Country but he will put me on with 15 minutes to go just so he can say afterwards well I gave you a chance in the 1st team and you dident take it. Well Joe whenever you see 1 of these supersubs or impact players or whatever they are called all it reely means is they have got no football brane at all and it doesent matter to them what point of the game it is as they are just going to do the exact same thing irregardless. But a player like me that actually thinks abt the game needs time to feel things out and probe at the other teams weakness etc and it is no good throwing us in with 15 minutes to go and if you were fighting against an alien invasion Joe and you had Steven Hawkings in your team it is obvious you woud have him involved from the start makeing plans and working things out etc and you woud not just wait until the aliens had almost landed and then shove a rifle in his hands and push him out the door.

Well Joe I will try and let you know how we get on but by all accts Ross Country is a prity small place and you can only get on the Internet their when your phone is plugged in to the wall so you might not here from me until Sunday but the game is on tv Joe so I am sure you will be tuneing in anyway to see your old pal Andy back in action and make sure the Selkirk chareman puts the game on in the clubroom Joe as if it was up to him their woud be nothing on any tv channel in the world exept horse racing and Diagnosis Murder.

Your pal,

Andy

Till Houletgless an the Messenger o God

Farm-Art-

Mony’s the holy man wha wad be gled tae absent hissel fae this marounjous warld an aw its coorse realities, but it coud niver be said that the Bishop o Dunkeld wis yin o them. Yon messenger o God wis a man o action; an whenever there wis tithes tae be collectit, or dens o ill-daein tae be leukit ower, the bishop wis shuir tae be richt in there wi baith his sleeves rolled up. He especially liked distreebutin the alms, if that’s whit ye wantit tae caw it, and that wis jist whit he wis daein in front o the kirk yon sunny Monday morn.

“Here!” he shoutit at some aumous auld wumman, “Ah’m jist efter giein a penny tae yer man – is this you cadgin yin as weel? Whit, dae ye think ah’m made o money?”

The bishop had lang syne makkit alms-giein intae a kind o game wi hissel, wrastlin tae see hou mony gaberlunzies he coud turn awa empty-haundit, an hou mony o his pennies he coud manage tae hing ontae. But he’d had a sair couple o weeks o it in the kirk, whit wi wan thing or anither, an this Monday he wis airtin tae beat even his ain record.

“Aye, weel, tell yer faither ah dinnae care hou seek he is, he comes alang himsel or he gits naething. Ah’m no giein ony pennies tae ony bairns.”

“Awa wi ye! Ah’d be as weel giein yer penny straucht tae Tam the tavern-keeper an cuttin oot the middle man!”

“You! Ye’ve a cheek! Gin ye can affuird that egg ah saw ye ramshin Seturday past, ye needna ony catter aff o me!”

An sae it went, until the hale sorry munge o them had been sent awa yin bi yin, an the bishop wi eneuch siller still in his pootch tae mak a cantie jingle. But as he turnt back taewart the kirk, the bishop’s hert sank tae see yin mair body waitin there, leanin wi his rig anenst the doorframe o the kirk. The man’s airms wir foldit thwart his chist, his richt cuit crossed ower his left.

“Faither,” the chiel said, noddin.

Tho the man had cam tae toun anely a fortnicht afore, the bishop awready kent Till Houletgless for a smatchet an a God-left wratch. It wis weel-kent that he’d nae suiner lowpt doun aff his mare than he’d been oot cuitlin the laubourers no tae pey their tithes tae the kirk, as weel as a hantle o ither ongauns for which there wis nae proof but plenty o suspeecion. The bishop ee’d Till waurily as he climt the staps.

Yer Grace tae you,” the bishop said, “An ah’d hae thocht a chiel that knaws the Guid Beuk as weel as you mak oot tae wad ken eneuch tae ken that.”

Till smirlt an noddit his heid in greement.

“Aye, ah must hae misst that bit,” he said, “Mynd, it wis awfy haird tae concentrate on ma readins the morn wi the laundlaird pappin aw ma stuff oot the windae.”

“Aw aye?” the bishop said wioot meetin Till’s gaze. Till unfoldit his airms an crosst them again.

“Ah dinnae faut the loun, ken. Telt us the guid fowk o the toun had been pushin doon on him. Noo ah’m no shuir wha the guid fowk o the toun are, but ah’d howp tae ken them when ah saw them.”

The bishop said naething, but glenced nervously at the sliver o space atween Till an the doorwey.

“Sae onywey, faither,” Till went on, “That’s me rooked. Ah’d gied the fella the next week in advance, an shuir ah’m no gittin that back again. Ah’d ride on if ah coud, but ma wee dun mare’s needin shoddit, an ah hinnae a penny tae ma name. Sae when ah heard fae a carlie ye were dolin oot siller the day, ah thocht ah’d come doon an see for masel.”

The bishop, suddently sensin a shift in the balance o pouer, strauchtened hissel up.

“Ask an it shall be gien ye,” he said importantly.

Till thrust oot his haun an leukt at him.

“Weel, here’s me askin,” he said.

At the sicht o Till’s empty palm in front o him, the bishop’s ain fist clencht ticht aroond his hantle o pennies. They crinched aroond in his pootch like a haunfu o gravel.

“Ah didnae mean ask me,” he snashed, “Ah’m jist the messenger. Ah meant ask the Laird. Aw things are in his boonty. He giveth…”

“An he taketh awa,” Till said, staunin up. “Aye, it’s got the lot, that beuk. Weel, ye’ve gied me plenty tae think aboot, faither. Ah’ll see ye later.”

An Till Houletgless dicht his hauns aff an walked across the square.

**

When the letter fund its wey intae the messenger’s hauns the next morn, he didnae ken whit tae mak o it. There wis some unco airticles cam his wey, makkit oot tae the maist unlikely addresses – but he’d niver yet tae deleever a message backit oot tae ‘God’, an he wisnae shuir at aw whit tae dae wi it. Wi nae sma embarrassment he scleusht alang tae the kirk an haundit the letter tae the bishop.

“Ah ken it’s no for yersel, yer Grace,” he yammert, “But ah couldnae think wha else tae…”

The bishop wheesht him wi a wave. The letter wis unsealt, an its attercap haundwritin furlt oot alang a pagefu o inkblots an stourie fingerprints.

Dear God,

Ah howp this message finds ye weel. Ah’ll no fash ye wi aw the uisual havers, as ye’re nae dout a busy man these days, an ah ken ye ken wha ah’m ur.

Listen, ah’ll tell ye whit it is – ah’m needin a wee tap o a penny tae git ma mare reshod, an when ah asked yer freend the bishop for it, he said ah shoud apply in writin directly tae yersel. He micht no hae said writin, tae be fair, but ah tried shoutin an that didnae seem tae wirk. Onywey, ye ken yersel, when ye ettle at tellin a thing in person, it ayeweys comes oot wrang.

Weel, ah’m no wantin tae pit ye on the spot, but ah coud dae wi yon penny suin as ye’re able tae spare it. Ah seem tae mynd ye’re no awfy keen on usury – or is that some ither body ah’m thinkin o? – but ye’ll hae yer money back in full bi the end o the month.

Thanks again. Ah’m an awfy big admirer o aw yer wirks, especially the trees an aw that. Brilliant.

Aw the best,

Till

The bishop’s mynd wis racin as he read the letter, yinst an then a second an a third time. On yin haun, he didnae want tae gie a faithless skellum like Till Houletgless onythin mair than a guid lounderin. But then, on the ither haun… Tae send a haithen sic as Till an actual message frae God, an breeshle him oot o toun intae the bargain – yon wad be veectory sae hale-an-hauden as tae mak the bishop’s heid birl jist bi thinkin aboot it. Efter hummin an hawin ower it hauf the mornin, the bishop finally wapped up a haufpenny in an orral o paper an haundit it tae the messenger.

“Tak this tae the scoondrel yon letter was frae,” he said, “An mak shuir he thinks it’s fae God.”

The messenger left, an for the lave o the morn the bishop idly imagined a newlins repentant Till ridin slawly oot o toun on his wee dun mare. Sae vogie a thocht wis it that anely nou an then did he think tae rue the loss o his haufpence.

**

When Till Houletgless did quit toun, the bishop wisnae there tae see it – it wis a Monday, an he wis still sleepin things aff. But frae the clip-ma-clash he wis shuir it wis a chynged an chastened Till wha had troddelt aff intae the distance that morn, wi hardlins a wird or a backwart glence. The througate Till had set aff upon wad tak him tae St Andrews; a fact which gied the bishop nae end o satisfaction, as the Archbishop there had lang syne owed him some siller fae a caird-game. Tae hae got shot o his ain scourge bi dumpin it ontae his enemy seemed itsel like a blissin direct fae the Awmichtie.

It wis wi a licht hert an a lichter purse that the bishop went oot that efternuin tae dish oot the alms. He wis in the mood for a celebration, an he wis in that much o a hurry tae get back inby for a swallae that he even let gan a couple of bawbees he micht itherwise o hung ontae. In nae time at aw the croud wis skailt awa, an the bishop turnt back tae the kirk anely tae find an unco man leanin anenst the doorframe, waitin.

The bishop speelt the staps huily an fairly, no leukin up. When he raxed the tap, the man finally spoke.

“Ah ken it’s no fir yersel, yer Grace,” he said, “But ah couldnae think wha else…”

The bishop opened the letter. It wis in the same spidery script as afore, wi the same tentless merks aw ower it.

Dear God,

Muckle thanks for yer help wi the siller. It wisnae eneuch tae pey for the shoddin, but the blacksmith widna tak ony catter fir it onywey, so it aw wirked oot in the end. Wad ye credit it? Ah guess that’s whit fowk are gettin at when they say that ye wirk in mysterious weys. An there’s yon blacksmith thinkin he wis jist daein me a guid turn.

Onyroads, here’s yer money back. Aw howp ye wirnae ower pushed wioot it. Let me ken if ye’re ever needin a lend yersel.

Aw the best,

Till

P.S. No wantin tae tell ye hou tae gan aboot yer business, but the next time somebody asks ye for a haun, cut oot the middle-man an gie it them direct. Yer messenger stole the hauf o whit ye sent me.

An doun in the letter’s bottom corner, aneath a muckle reid daud o sealin wax, the Bishop o Dunkeld carefully peeled aff a bricht an shiny penny.

HawickFest

I was hugely proud to have been involved in organising the first ever spoken word at the first ever HawickFest. Seemed to go over pretty well – our poets were very happy, anyway!

HawickFest

My old pal and Scots scriever extraordinaire Rab Wilson wrote a very nice piece about the event over at The National – you can find it here: https://t.co/m0kOlWtFUZ

Stowed Out up next!

 

Ongauns.

Couple of things I’ve been up to which are surfacing in the next wee while:

The current issue of Gutter includes some Scots translations of mine, this time from Kafka. They are some short-short stories which I translated before starting to work on “Metamorphosis”, as a kind of test run. Plus there’s always plenty of good stuff in Gutter, and this issue is no exception.

That’s out already. Plus, upcoming: next month’s issue of Nutmeg has an article I’ve written about football culture in the heartlands of rugby. Wee sneak preview below:

Bordering

Scotland Writers FC

I’ve been away with the Scotland Writers football team twice over the last couple of months – first to “the most Scottish town in Italy”, Barga, and then to London to play England. Both great weekends, both defeats (unfortunately). No doubt more on this to follow, but if you’re interested in finding out a wee bit more about what life as an international footballer isn’t like, the Scotland issue of “The Football Pink”, just published last week, has an article by me about oor jaunt tae Italia. You can get it here, as well as many other fine vendors.

The Chynge

Because what the world is clearly crying out for is a Scots translation of Kafka, I’ve decided to write one. This is the first wee bittie of the first wee bittie.

The Chynge

It wis yon mornin, when Gregor Samsa awauk frae oot wanrestfu dreams, that he fund hissel transformt in his bed intae some kind o tairible beastie. As he lay there on his haurd, sheel-like rig, he raised his heid an leukt at the broon bumphle o his roond belly, sindert oot intae sections bi lang airches. Sae big an brent his muckle-kyte had growen that his blanket wis hairdly able tae hing ontae it, an wis ready tae slide aff awthegither. Compared wi this wappin bouk, his mony legs leukt peetifully shilpit as they flichtert daelessly afore his een.

“Whit’s the story here?” he thocht. This wis nae dream. His room wis still a warldlike human room, quate atween its fower fameeliar waws. On the table lay a range of saumple claiths – Gregor wis a traivelin salesman – an abuin there wis a pictur he had newlins cut oot o an illustratit jurnal an set in a bonnie giltit frame. It wis a drawin o a lady in a fur hat an a fur scaurf, sittin upricht wi a girthie muff o fur kiverin her gairdie, that wis liftit taewart the viewer.

Gregor turnt his glance taewart the windae, but the dreich wather – raindraps stottin aff the metal windaesill – made him feel awfy glumph. “The hicht o nonsense, this! Hou’s aboot ah get a wee bit mair shut-eye an forget aw aboot it,” he thocht tae hissel. But he couldnae manage it, for he wis used tae sleepin on his richt-haun side, an the wey things were richt noo he had nae chance o winnin tae a comfy poseetion. Nae maiter hou haurd he bunged hissel doon ontae his richt, suin or syne he’d whammle straucht back ontae his rig. He must o tried it a hunner times, shuttin his een so’s no tae leuk at his sprauchlin legs, an he gied up anely when he stairtit tae feel a dowf, fremmit stoondin in his side.

“Och, man,” he thocht, “This is some line o wirk ah’ve got masel intae! Day in, day oot, ayeweys on the road. Ah’d much raither hae ma ain wee shop at hame. Whit a nichtmare! The traivel, the trains, the misst connections – ye’re lucky when ye get a bite tae eat, an it’s aye rotten. Niver settin een on the same body twice, niver getting tae ken onybody, niver makkin a pal. The hell wi it!”

He felt a wee kittle up on his belly then; pusht hissel slawly up on his back taewart the headboard, the easier tae lift his heid; locatit the itchy spat, saw that it wis spreckelt ower wi a laid o peerie white plouks he kent naethin aboot; an went tae touch it wi yin o his legs, but resiled awa immediately fae the oorie shidder it gied him.

He sliddert back doon tae ontae his rig. “It’s nae guid this, up at the crack o dawn,” he thocht, “It maks ye doitit. A man needs his eight oors, ah’ve ayeweys said that. Yon ither salesmen! They’re livin the life o Riley, them. Pit it this wey – when ah gan back tae the guest hoose in the mornin tae copy oot the orders, wha’s anely just sittin doon tae brakfast? Nae prizes for guessin! But then, if ah wis tae pull somethin like that wi ma boss, ah’d be oot the door in double-time. An wha kens, mebbe it’d be aw for the guid. Ah mean, if it wisnae for ma mither an faither, ah’d hae jacked it in a hunner times ower bi noo. Ah’d hiv maircht richt intae the heid yin’s office, so ah wid, an telt him a few hame truths. Man, he’d faw richt aff his desk! Wha sits on their desk, onywey? Ah dout it’s meant tae mak ye feel smaw, gittin talked doon tae; an it’d wirk anaw, if he wisnae that deif ye’ve tae sit mare or less on his knee or he cannae hear ye. Well, there’s howp yet. Yinst ah’ve got the money thegither tae pey aff whit ma faither owes him – five years, eh, mebbe six – ah’ll gie him a piece o ma mynd. Aye, there’ll be some big chynges then, ah’m tellin ye! But ah suppose in the meantime ah’d better get up. Ma train’s awa at five.”

An he leukt ower at the alairm clock tickin awa on the caibinet. “Name o God!” he thocht. It wis hauf past six – naw, worse – the hauns had creept forrit nearby tae quarter tae. Had the alarim no went aff? He coud see fae the bed that it wis set for fower o’clock as uisual; it must hae rung. Aye, but then, hou coud onybody hiv slept throu aw that dirdum, lood eneuch tae shoogle the hale room? His sleep had no been tranquil, true, yet it had been aw the mair deep for that. But whit wis he gonnae dae? The neist train wisnae until seiven; an he’d be hilter-skilter even tae catch that, wi his saumples no packed up an his heid still full o mince. An even gin he managed that yin, the boss wad still be on the rampage – the office assistant was ayeweys there tae see the five o’clock train in, an his report on Gregor’s absence wad hae been in a lang time ago. Yon wis a richt wee souk, fair-fleggit an uncharitable. He coud ayeweys report nae weel; but Gregor had no had a day aff seek in the hale five years on the job, an it wad leuk awfy suspicious if he suddently took yin noo. The boss wad turn up wi the doctor fae the insurance company in tow, indict Gregor’s paurents o haein a guid-for-nothin son, an cut aff aw objections bi referrin tae the doctor, tae wha every ailment wis a seemple case o skiveitis. An it wad be a soond diagnosis, since Gregor, apairt fae bein a wee bit drousie fae sleepin that lang, felt awthegither hertie, an had even wauken wi somethin like an appeteet.

He was still thinkin aw this ower at howdie haste, no able to mak his mynd up tae get oot o bed, when – just as the alairm clock hit a quarter tae seiven – there came a tentie chap on the door near the heid o his bed.

“Gregor,” the voice cawed – it wis his mither’s – “That’s quarter tae seiven. Shoud ye no be awa?”

Yon gentle voice! Gregor was startelt when he heard his ain voice in reply, sae unalike it wis tae the voice he’d had afore. It cam fae somewhaur deep doon inside him, an wis blanded in wi a pynefu, undevaulin squeakin soond that left his wirds unnerstaunable anely at the instant they war spaken, afore drounin them in echos. It wis a voice naebody coud be shuir o hearin richt. Gregor wantit tae answer, tae expleen everythin, but unner the circumstances he had nae choice but tae say “Aye, thanks mither, that’s me getting up noo.” The widden door must hae misgysed the chynge in Gregor’s voice, for his mither seemed satisfeed wi this an shauchelt awa. But throu the peerie conversation that had taken place, the ither members o Gregor’s faimily war made awaur (tae their surpreese) that Gregor wis still at hame, an afore lang his faither cam knypin at the door, quately, but wi his fist.

“Gregor!” he shoutit, “Gregor! Whit’s gaun on?” A wee while efter he shoutit again, this time in a voice deep wi wairnishin.

“Gregor! Hoi! Gregor!” Meantime, at the ither side door, cam his sister’s plaintive cry.

“Gregor! Are ye no weel? Are ye needin onythin?”

Gregor directit his answer tae baith doors at yinst. “Ah’m awready ready!” he cawed, tryin haurd tae take the stryngeness oot his voice bi pronooncin every syllable as carefu as he coud, an leavin lang pauses atween the wirds. His faither went back tae brakfast, but his sister whispert tae him, “Gregor, please, ah’m beggin ye – open the door!” But Gregor had nae mynd at aw tae open it, an insteid he lay there congratulatin hissel on his carefu prattick, whit he had picked up on his traivels, o ayeweys lockin aw the doors at nicht, even when he wis at hame.

Edinburgh Book Festival

Some stray observations on speaking about Scots language and Flemish immigration at the Edinburgh Book Festival this week.

1)      People are a lot more interested in the influence of Flemish immigration on Scots language than you would think. The event at the Garden Theatre was sold out, despite my earlier, gloomy prognostications. (Apart from three seats near the front, ostentatiously reserved for “Alexander”.) Interestingly, not many of the folk in the audience wereThomasEdinburghFestivalStage of Flemish ancestry themselves, which means that either A) people were there just because they were genuinely intrigued, or B) Patrick DeWitt, who was on at the same time, had sold out.

2)      I also met Scotland’s newest Flemish immigrant, who had just moved here on Saturday. He was very nice, and a much better argument in favour of Flemish immigration than anything I might have said.

3)      An hour is a lot less time than you think. From having assumed that the event would incorporate a good half-hour of staring silently, pleadingly into the audience for somebody to ask a question, we went on to overrun by quite some time. The questions were very good, very interesting, and I learned quite a few things myself – someone suggested a possible connection between the French word “drache” and the Scots word “dreich”, and another audience member speculated about a possible Flemish/Dutch influence in the ThomasBookSigningHawick pronunciation of the word “mei”.

4)      The Book Festival would not be the Book Festival without my getting a bit carried away telling someone how much I liked their book. This year’s victim was the aforementioned Patrick DeWitt, who I spotted in the Authors Yurt and proceeded to gush to about The Sisters Brothers until I was literally dragged away. (For a photoshoot, I should point out.) If I’d been permitted to stick around for a little longer, instead of having to go away and talk about Flemish or something, I might even have bumped into Gordon Brown behind the scenes, although I haven’t read any of his books so I’m not sure what I would have said to him. Something about how well Raith Rovers are doing, probably. I wouldn’t really know what to say about the prime minister stuff.

Thanks to everybody at the Festival for looking after me, and for inviting me in the first place, and also to my fine partners for the event, Roger Mason and Willie Kelly. Roger is spearheading some fantastic work in the field of Scots-Flemish relations at St Andrews, and I look forward to reading the fruits of his labours in the not-too-distant future!

Selkirk FC vs the World!

Selkirk FC Vs The World CoverWith the new Lowland League season kicking off today, Selkirk Football Club and myself are awfy pleased to announce the publication of “Selkirk FC vs the World!”

“Selkirk FC vs the World!” is the end result of the first season of my poetry residency at Selkirk Football Club, and collects together twenty-five poems and short stories I wrote for the club throughout the course of the year. From a Subbuteo league in post-apocalypse Glasgow to the 1930 World Cup Final, these pieces are, I suppose, a wee mind-map to what I think about when I think about football; or, in other words, the whole book is a kind of 200-page paean to the act of being grimly resigned.

Not that I’m done thinking about football just yet, or writing about it, for that matter. But the residency has been a fantastic platform to write about the things I’m really interested in (i.e. post-apocalyptic Glaswegian Subbuteo leagues) and also to learn a bit more about how lower league football (i.e. the vast majority of football played in this or any country) actually happens. Huge thanks to Selkirk FC and everyone involved with for that.

You can pick up a copy of the book here – you can even review it, which would be lovely and make me feel as if I’m not just banging my head repeatedly on the dangerously low overhang of the Selkirk dugout. It’s nicer than macaroni pies, better for you than Bovril, and cheaper than actually going to a game. Best of all, if you buy it this weekend it’s completely gratis. There’s not a lot in Scottish football nowadays which is free, Kris Boyd apart. So you can’t really say much fairer than that.