Away games

Nearly a year ago, I had a conversation in a hotel bar in Toronto with Graham Joyce about his experiences playing in goal for the England Writers international football team, a collection of novelists, poets, playwrights and publishing types who play matches against teams from other countries. Brilliant fun, he said. On the back his mention that England were playing a new Scotland team, I went along last St Andrews Day to watch the game…and to register interest in taking part if they were ever looking for players for future games.

Because, you know, the chance to pull on a Scotland jersey in a competitive game… it’s what you dream of as a wean. Whatever the level, it’s special.

Hey, I’ll never claim to be skilful on the ball, and these days I’m far from the fittest, but it’s fitbaw isn’t it. It’s one of the most colourful threads in our national narrative.

Anyway, the call came, so I’m off this weekend to Gothenburg and next weekend to Vienna to huff, puff and hopefully not make too much of an arse of myself in the name of national pride.

It’ll be fun though, that’s for sure. Brilliant fun.

Thanks, Graham!


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