Play up, Pompey! Richard and Chris issue writing call-out to Portsmouth football fans
Two Portsmouth football fans are celebrating their club’s 125th anniversary by becoming the club’s creative writers in residence for next season. Long-standing supporters Richard Williams, pictured right, and Chris Perry offered their services earlier this year to co-ordinate and capture the writing of fans and people of Portsmouth on the theme of Portsmouth FC and Fratton Park.
Working with Pompey in the Community, Richard and Chris aim to encourage writing by fans and residents of Portsmouth about the club and how it affects life and their personal lives in the city.
A book of poetry and prose is planned as part of the 125th anniversary activities. Richard Williams, who has worked on several similar projects in the past, said: “My first game at Fratton Park was a 0-0 draw against Reading in 1980 and I’ve been hooked ever since. This club really is unique, and Fratton Park such a special place. I have written about it often.”
Richard has written poems about his team in his collection Landings. As well as being a prominent poet in Portsmouth, he has also appeared several times at Write Out Loud Woking on Zoom open-mic night.
He added: "Football transcends boundaries, countries, and cultures around the world. I’m excited by the opportunity to write more about Pompey and football in general. More importantly, this project will encourage others to do the same, and use creative writing as another way of expressing themselves about this fantastic club.”
Chris Perry, a teacher by profession, who also has an MA in creative writing, said: “Snowy away games at Accrington on a Tuesday night; a lucky orange ball at Wolves away one December afternoon in 1995, meaning we could not lose, despite being 2-0 down; stuffing Spurs at Wembley, although bound for relegation. All are examples of what it means to be a Pompey fan. There are so many stories to enjoy.
"Richard and I want to hear your views of life with Pompey so we can include them in a unique collection next year.”
The project is open for first-time writers, established writers and anyone in between. Details of the project events, activities and opportunities to submit poems and stories will be shared on social media and via Portsmouth’s matchday programme throughout the 125th anniversary year.
Portsmouth fans can contact Richard and Chris with their ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s one of Richard’s recent poems about Portsmouth, written after a former players’ day:
AT THE REUNION
by Richard Williams
He holds out his hands,
says they are sore every day.
Old knuckles so swollen,
he’s never worn a ring.
No protection like now,
gloves thinner back then.
Those stitched leather footballs,
weighted with rain.
Yet recalling his history
he smiles at the past,
a life fully lived,
in all its victories and scars.
Joining other players
on this anniversary date,
for wide grins and laughter,
for memories replayed.
For John Milkins (Pompey goalkeeper 1960-1974)
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