Football and poetry don’t usually go hand in hand, but the appointment of a new Poet in Residence at the Club has gone some way to breaking down the barriers between the two pastimes.
Sarah Wardle, a 34-year-old lecturer in poetry at nearby Middlesex University, has taken over the new role for the remainder of the season and has already been busy putting pen to paper to produce some Spurs verse.
As part of our continued support of our local community in and around the White Hart Lane area, it is hoped Sarah’s appointment will inspire others to start writing.
“From the Club’s point of view, this is another project working with the community, and from my own personal perspective, I’m absolutely delighted to be working for Spurs,” says Sarah, a previous winner of Poetry Review’s New Poet of the Year award and whose recent book, Fields Away, has been shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
Sarah comes from a long line of Tottenham supporters and is a lifelong fan herself, while her love of writing developed when she was at school. The fact that she is now able to combine her two biggest passions in life gives her tremendous satisfaction.
“It will be a wonderful experience for me, I’m very excited about it all,” she says. “ My family are all Spurs fans and I’ve been in to poetry for many years. I enjoyed it while I was at school, but I actually gave up doing English at A Level, and then went back to it when I did an English degree at Sussex University in my mid-20s.
“I think the fact that I studied English through choice in the end is why I’m so passionate and enthusiastic about reading and writing now, it’s always harder to enjoy things when you’re forced into them.”
Sarah was at the Lane to watch us against Chelsea, her first match since her Poet in Residence appointment and she admits it was a great occasion for her, even if the result didn’t go the way she had hoped.
“It was great to get a feel of the place, there was such spirit and it gave me plenty of writing material,” Sarah explains. “When you can write with real detail, it makes your poetry more realistic and allows you to reach a wider audience.
“There is definitely a poet in all of us, it’s just a matter of how you see it. I see poetry as something fun, a hobby. Others think that poetry is a bit ‘ivory tower’ but it’s not at all, there is such a vibrant poetry scene and this residency will help promote that.”
During the next few weeks, Sarah will be judging a poetry competition for our JSMs which she hopes will attract plenty of entries. “Hopefully I can be the inspiration for some of Spurs’ younger fans to pick up their pens and write their own poems,” she says.
By Jon Rayner, programme editor
And did those boots in ’61
run upon Wembley’s turf of green,
and was our Danny Blanchflower
on Wembley’s hallowed field seen,
and did goals from Smith and Dyson
nab silver for N17,
and did we see Tottenham
crowned as London’s winning team.
Bring on Defoe, who West Ham sold.
Bring on Taricco’s hot desire.
Bring on the Spurs. O goal unfold!
Bring King Kanout’, who’ll never tire.
They’ll put the reds and blues to flight,
nor shall the ball lose them a game,
till we have seen Tottenham
bring home success to White Hart Lane.