Written for The Offside Rule (We Get It!)
Barnsley are on the brink of breaking into the League One play-off places. Laura Jones asks whether this is bringing the joy back to the town and club.
When Ian McMillan became Barnsley FC’s poet in residence in 1997, he wrote a poem every week about what it was like for a town such as Barnsley to be in the Premier League. At the end of the season an anthology was published called It’s Just Like Watching Brazil and although the Premier League football didn’t last beyond that season, there is an air of joy about the poetry.
In McMillan’s book, there is a photo of a supporter dressed how he imagined a Brazilian dresses. He’s wearing a sombrero, has an inflatable parrot and is holding a bottle of pop that he’s written the word ‘tequila’ across. His representation was innocent in its cultural stereotyping and also innocently inaccurate. What does come across in the photo is that for that season Barnsley were seen as important and worth dressing up for.
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