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Fae the scheme tae the first team

6 July 2021

In today’s society, fitbaw is a product sold to consumers. Commercialism is sucking the soul out of the beautiful game. Television deals, merchandising, sponsorships and partnerships dictate what sport and entertainment we consume in the 21st century. Football Clubs are brands. We see global companies such as City Football Group redefining ownership of the beautiful game as billionaires capitalise on supporters all over the globe every chance they get. Ka-Ching, jerseys lined in cash. “Play for the badge”. What badge? Dafabet or the four leaved clover?



” Fae the scheme tae the first team “ is a reminder of the heart, soul and passion of the grass roots of football.

It all started playing on red ash.
No sponsored jerseys
lined with cash.
Grazed knees
And nae referees
Jumpers as goal posts
Big hopes and big dreams

This wee verse was written on Buchanan Street, Glasgow City Centre, in sheer rage of the UEFA banners in the build-up to the Euros plastered with billions of pounds worth of sponsors. Tiktok, Coca Cola and Qatar Airways to name just three. We see it everywhere, I know. Big screens, pitch side adverts and social media. I know, I know. This moment struck a different chord. Where is the culture?

” Wee mans no playing.
He’s saying,
Well it’s my baw.
So we’re no playing “.


The narrative of the poem was inspired by my Dad and reflects his childhood. Born in 1975, My Dad grew up in Whitecrook, Clydebank. Concrete pitches, graffiti goal posts and not a phone in sight. Line ups formed from whoever was out to play in the street. Half time called fur piece ‘n’ crisps. Nae rules and nae referees. This is football. Nostalgia that many auld fitbaw Da’s can relate too. I’m a millennium baby, born in the year 2000. I live in Maryhill. A working class and humble area in the North West of Glasgow and home to the Jags. Do I see street fitbaw? Do I see waens out in bikes and scooters? It’s a rare sight.

Globalisation is changing hearts and minds. I’d be lying if I said I wisnae feart but it’s a fitbaw poets’ job to express this and to start conversations. Recently I was live on BBC Scotland Radio ranting away. A working-class voice broadcasted on national radio is significant in its own wee way, let alone shining light on capitalism and commercialism as we approach the Euros.

Enjoy the rest of the Euros and keep fighting the good fight! Here is my wee poem, “ Fae the scheme tae the young team”.

Fae the scheme tae the first team

 Fae the scheme tae the first team
the buzz the passion the pride
tartan in oor veins
under saltire skies

we’re aw just…

one big young team
geein it the big yin in the Euros

And y’know

It aw started playing on red ash
nae sponsored jerseys

lined wae cash
grazed knees
and nae referees
jumpers as goal posts
big hopes and big dreams

Wee mans lost the dressing room
He’s saying

“It’s my baw
so we’re no playing ”

First touch left fit
in the pouring rain
tackle after tackle
nae fear in this game

Now despite TV deals and sponsors
killing the dream

a digital atmosphere
Chanting echoing through tweets
it appears that Scotland

ye’ve still got a baw at yer feet

Fae the scheme tae the first team
streetlights as flood lights
Davie Marshalls winning save
carried oot by the wains
in playgrounds and parks
fae the Clyde tae the Tay


we’re one and the same
No ambition

fur a million-pound wage
no fame
No ties and suits
but dirty auld fitba boots
heart soul and passion

We’re come far
From calling full time
for losing yer baw

under a parked car
Half time called

fur a piece ‘n’ crisps
in tenement closes
bins as dug oots
penalty shoot outs
till the sun goes down

Fae the scheme tae the first team
This is our home ground

We’ll keep a baw at oor feet
keepy uppys as a nation
cause no matter the score line
this is oor beautiful game
we’ll keep it the same as it was
before money and fame

The roots of the game

Erin Boyle is a poet from Glasgow who is currently studying Journalism and Media at university. She has a love for theatre and is passionate about working with young people and helping to empower marginalised voices in the arts. Her love for Celtic is echoed in her poetry and her earliest memories are dancing around the living room to ‘ Four Leafed Clover’ and ‘Let The People Sing’, while browsing through her Dad’s jersey and fanzine collection. Inspired by her Dad she joined the Kano Foundation, a charity set up by fellow Celtic supporters, where she plays an integral part in taking deserving kids groups to Celtic Park to sample the match-day experience.

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