PHOTO: Jim C Mackintosh was appointed St. Johnstone's poet-in-residence in March this year, a first for a Scottish professional football club.


what matters most is not the sleeping in the days before the first game, it’s the worry, the stress now creeping into my mind, the question What’s in a name?

the hot pins of agony and thunderous spills of glory jostling for room in my head making space for another story

then I wake up, the season walks up like the orange Tango Man, but blue, all freshened up with a smug expression slapping my forehead with its planned impression of the games to be, the poems to do seeming to know everything but knowing nothing, so you boys the new boys - I need to know, boys I need to know

I’m in a daze, on the plays stressing on the days and months ahead - all fixtured with dates circled in red: here we go again, boys here we go again - you’re champin’ at the bit gettin’ fit, you’ve beeped and slumped, ice bath steeped and dumped the aches and pains, now steady and ready, boys now for the friendlies, endless in the fierce and in the drag of weights and sunshine fading of pre-season nightmares - it’s in the bag, boys it’s in the bag

Me? I’m always ready to wear the blue, better for the break, my luck’s been rested I’m head the ba’ ready trapped and chested ready up for it, let’s do this - it’s in the net, boys dinnae fret boys although I’m sure of old places, of memories still fresh still pure, so pure but not so much of new faces, and new bonds, not so sure trust and loyalty not yet sealed of new names, not yet appealed so what’s in a name? we need to know, boys we need to know we cannae praise, confess or apply the stick, unless - so we need to know

we’ve CupTies, and Andos, and Midgeys and Throws we’ve Spoonys, and Muzzas and Maccas and loads of others but what do we call you, the newbies before you become our brothers?

are we to be a’ Samba cool and run the rule over Alsto, Coulso, Watso and Pato or do we sing of Alsty, Coulsy, Wats and Paits or daft wee nicknames of so so defined by daft wee traits? we need to know boys, we need to know

I’ve been writing around in circles and haven’t got the answers more concerned you’ll leave it to us, your adopted bunch o’ chancers so what’s in a name, boys what’s in a name? everything, boys everything, in the game when we sing, we praise, we jeer or cheer and more the same - we need to know, boys we need to know

it cannae be hard but if it helps, write to me I’ll help you out new names to nicknames or trust me, boys trust me, up goes the shout it’s answers on a postcard

don’t risk that boys we’ll not take your complaints once they’re picked, they’ll stick so help us out boys C’mon the Saints!

that’s you now, boys you’re one of us now you know that boys? you’re one of us now you’re now of St Johnstone you’re Apprentice Legends

so when the Season walks up that’s what’s in the name, boys that’s what’s in the name

poem by Jim C Mackintosh, Poet-in-Residence at St. Johnstone Football Club