Black armbands for a hedgehog and goalies eating chips: Just some of the spoof letters a fan sent to dozens of top football clubs
A fun-loving football fan is in a league of his own after writing a book featuring his crazy correspondence with clubs.
In one loopy letter, Fraser Syme writing as his alter-ego Struan J Marjoribanks, asked Scottish club Morton FC if players could wear black armbands in memory of a hedgehog he ran over on his way to a match.
The club politely declined the request but sent details of a “specialised hedgehog unit at a local wildlife rescue centre”.
In another, he offered Celtic youth players work experience in his soup factory – “to show them where they would end up if they don’t work sufficiently hard at their game”.
The club replied: “Your idea of accepting our youth players on work experience in your soup factory has some worth but we are unfortunately not in a position to move forward with this at the present time.”
And he had archivists at Hearts scratching their heads when he asked them to investigate the distant memories of an elderly aunt who claimed a goalie from the 1930s once took to the field eating a bag of chips.
The club’s historian wrote back: “It is a very interesting story but I cannot confirm that it actually happened.
“I took the opportunity to ask my Archives Group members and one or two supporters who are into everything ‘Hearts’, again no one had heard the story.
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“All we could come up with was that our goal-keeper at that time – Willie Waugh – was considered a bit of a rebel.”
Timewasting civil servant Fraser, 36, who lives near Paisley, Scotland, said: “I think humour is a massive part of British football.
“This started out as a bit of an email joke between me and a friend when I was really bored in a job at an investment bank in Glasgow a few years ago.
“I started sending out the letters – or rather Struan J Marjoribanks did – sometime in 2008 and I’ve been doing it on and off ever since.”
In one letter to Chelsea, Marjoribanks said his team of chefs had produced a smoked eel and fennel broth which he proposed should become the club’s “official soup”.
He received a reply which said his letter had been “passed on to our head of catering, who will be in contact with you should this be of interest”.
Fraser said: “The replies vary a lot. Some clubs obviously just felt obliged to reply and sent back a stock response but others really went along with it.
“The correspondence from Hearts is brilliant – the archivist came back with all this info about Willie Waugh, a goalie from the 1930s, on the basis of one bogus claim from my made-up auntie claiming to have seen a goalie running on to the field with a bag of chips.”
But Fraser’s cover was almost blown when he wrote to Dundee FC, asking if his auntie’s budgie’s ashes could be scattered over Dens Park.
He said: “The club came back and said they were quite happy to comply and even offered to send a representative round to pick up the ashes. I had to say Auntie Jess had changed her mind.”
‘My Book of Absurd Letters to British Football Clubs by Struan J Marjoribanks’ will be published by Cargo next year.