The results are in!
Delighted to announce that my poem 'John Barnes', from my sequence of Kopite Sonnets on Liverpool FC Legends, has won The Pride and the Passion: Offside Stories, a competition celebrating the best poetry and prose about the beautiful game.
The poem centres on Barnes' incredible flair and ability as a player, but also the racist abuse and intolerance he suffered and - to his great credit - rose above, during his incredible career for Liverpool and England.
Especially chuffed since the competition was judged by poet, broadcaster and all-round good guy Ian McMillan, alongside Derby County FC captain, Shaun Barker. Here's their verdict on the poem:
"a truly accomplished piece; packed with craft and hard work and revealing the way that football can be a prism of history and, yes, a conduit of passion and pride."
Carol Farrelly was overall winner in the prose category, for a fascinating and gripping-sounding story that brings to life the tragic events of the Hillsborough disaster. I'm really looking forward to reading it when the anthology of shortlisted and winning entries is published later this year.