The Beautiful Game in Poetry from Porto & Workshops

We are once again undertaking football poetry workshops this year.The Football Poets have undertaken recent workshops for communities , schools and prisons in Ascot, Birmingham , Bradford, Gloucester, Hull, London, Morperth, Porto, Stroud and Wales. Also at the following clubs : Charlton Athletic, Chelsea FC, Everton FC, Fulham FC, Northampton Town, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City and West Ham United. For information on workshops contact Crispin Thomas on crispin@ctmuk.freeserve.co.uk
or phone 01453 757376 & 07837 798463



On March 16th & 17th ,Crispin Thomas of The Football Poets was invited by the British Council to share and create football poems about The Beautiful Game – Jogo Bonito, with 140 students at schools and within the Council Offices in Porto, Portugal.

” It’s a small world indeed. Departing from Heathrow in chilly temperatures of 3 degrees, my last sight is a giant José Mourinho billboard reminding me, sensibly , that I can’t manage without my mobile. Little surprise then that the only huge billboard outside Porto airport on my arrival , in a welcoming 19 degrees, is the very same billboard and the man himself – again !

Porto is a beautiful old town lined and graced with countless ancient buildings . Here are streets and alleys full of characture and history , museums, bookshops and cafes ,speckled everywhere with fine blue tiles .And everywhere..a love for art. A place of fading gothic charm where terracotta roofs line the sky-line . What is most refreshing about Porto however , is that it is still largely unspoilt by the usual trappings of tourism. No big Macs, lattes or cappuccinos in sight, with menus here in Portuguese only.

Everywhere, on cobbled streets or tree lined parks with peacocks , the people of Porto are so welcoming and friendly. All are proud of Mourinho and what he has done for their city and country. Here in Portugal, José is a winner . My taxi driver and I speak in broken English of a time before, when Portugal was still under dictatorship. A time when great players of the Benfica and Sporting Lisbon of my youth , Eusebio and the like, were forbidden to leave and play in another country…. and let’s face it back then, on the football platform of Europe – who had heard of Porto? That night in my hotel room, I watch Benfica go out of the Taca Cup surprisingly at home to lowly Guimares, thwarted by a crazy, and at times eccentric Brazilian ‘keeper named Nilsson.They like crazy ‘keepers here I am to discover. As we begin the early morning football poetry sessions , the students, boys and girls of 16 and 17 are a little bemused by me at first with my rattles, scarves, blow football ,whistles and bits of memorabilia .Who wouldn’t be ? Soon though , they open up , talking as one and sharing their thoughts excitedly in fine English on the Beautiful Game. I even learn a few words like Mergulhos (diving!) The schools themselves are a delight. I am shown an incredible museum of fifties school relics.They’re all here.The daunting leather horse we used to use in gym, the little wooden desks with ink holes and that huge scratchy old blackboard. Teachers here are working hard to encourage good food, re-cycling and awareness of the body.

I am made to feel so welcome everywhere and the kids and hospitality is fantastic. One guy even looks incredibly like Paulo Ferreira! .I work in both schools in 3 hour sessions and in two extended classes at The British Council, a great home from home itself. It’s a lively and vibrant place where students meet for regular English classes and to check out books, DVDs and their e-mails. Writing football poetry in a completely different language from their own..with passion and joy.. their poems follow here.. Crispin

Big thanks to
Mark Howard ,Fitch O’Connell, Joe Mendes and Paulina Silva at The British Council and especially Ana Maria Silveira Texeira of Escola Secundaria Joaao Goncalves Zarco (Matosinhos) and Teresa Pinot de Almeida of Escola Secundaria Carolina Michaelis.


Football is an amazing show
When a player reaches that goal
So wake up now and realize
The beauty of football is always…. surprise

Cheer and sing
With passion and heart
Wherever you are
Be a part ……..of football!

Tatiana Monteiro, Manta Condido Joco Mota ,Ana Sousa, Elisabeth Manzacubi
11 Escola Secundaria Carolina Michaelis –Porto



Play it right play it wrong
The ball is your friend when you play it strong

When you have the ball
You fly like a bird
The sound of the crowd
Is the loudest you’ve heard

Play it right play it wrong
The ball is your friend when you play it strong

And me as a fan
I’m shouting to you
“C’mon you’re the man
Do the best you can do!”

Play it right play it wrong
The ball is your friend when you play it strong

Renato Peneda, Pedro Carvalho, Mariana Matos, Joana Marques & Keston Brás – 11 Escola Secundaria Carolina Michaelis –Porto



football is …
adrenalin money and excitement
football is about team strategies
and people running after a ball to score a goal

football is entertainment and football is magic
because people want to see who will win
football is about dribbling
emotion …competition and fairplay
football is jogo bonito …the beautiful game

football is …challenging
it can be a passion … it can mean suffering
and football is perfection for the sport
which joins humans in the world

football is the best kind of art we can see
outside of a gallery
because football is standing up and speaking up
supporting your team…
even if you are alone
among the other team’s fans

football is is like a dance competition on grass

and even though football is just a game
with players and balls and weird feelings
football is something that hypnotises many people –
but football is also a machine which makes millions

for many football is stupid…and for others fantastic
football is like a party
a little surprise box of all nations
getting together
embracing with skill
because football is union –
thousands of people
screaming in a stadium
at two teams running after a ball
and that’s why football is something
that everyone loves or hates

football is eccentric players
making a show for 90 minutes
and receiving a large salary for it!!
football is on top
and football is magic
when sometimes the ball seems to be attracted by the lines

football is when men cry
watching with emotion
‘on top of their skin’ –
for football is the blood
pumping around our body
and around the planet
and like it or not..
football is like a novel…
where the goal is the climax

Pupils of Escola Secundária João Gonçalves Zarco. Matosinhos.Portugal.

Why is football the Beautiful Game?
Because it is a game of passion
Because it is attractive
even though sometimes
it is like a friendly war

Football is beautiful because it entertains
it’s a belief
it amazes and unites
and because
even though it is only a game
it is something you can see and play
anywhere and everywhere!

Football is the Beautiful Game because
it is international..a religion
and because it is also the first game that boys play!

Football is the Beautiful Game because
It beaks the laws of physics
And is a way of forgetting everything
Football just is

Football is beautiful because
It’s big , full of emotions
And it bring recognition world-wide

It is the rhythm of the ball
and a challenge for people
all over the planet
because wherever you are
Football focuses your deepest feelings
to make you fell euphoric….

If only for ninety minutes!

FC British Council.(Friday Club Students.)



He sees Cantona preparing the kick
The crowd erupts into life
Higuita now starts feeling sick
It will slice the net like a knife

He jumps into the air
To make the save of the day
The crowd roars like a bear
It’s been an awesome play

FC British Council 2.(Friday Club Students.)

*Remember Higuita ..the crazy Columbian keeper who did that amazing scorpion back flip save? Funnily enough Cantona picked him recently in his all time best team in 4-4-2 .


JOGO BONITO’ (The Beautiful Game)

Jogo Bonito – The Beautiful Game of football
connects people –
it’s a big party
and a way of joining us all together
in a wonderful physical performance!

the Beautiful Game is the accomplishment of all your goals
and something that makes us show our feelings..

football is an adorable experience
a way of spending time
football attracts thousands
football makes people scream for their team
and for some it is merely an opportunity
to gloat at the oppositon’s fans..

football is all of these things
and even though
football is the biggest business in the world…
the Beautiful Game today
is still about love heart and skill
because whoever whenever
however and wherever you go

football is a way of life!

FC British Council 2.(Friday Club Students.)

Do you know when you feel
A shiver down your spine?
Do you know when you feel
Warm deep inside?

There are no words
No words to describe
For this is just football
And football is life

FC British Council 2.(Friday Club Students.)



Once upon a time
An alien came to Earth
He came to learn of football
So we started with its’ birth

He told us of his planet
A world all full of rocks
His planet’s name was Crispin
And his people loved their socks!

We spoke to him of passion
We spoke to him of style
“What is Football ? “ was his question
He listened for a while

So we taught him about football
We showed him how to play
With just a ball in any place
Or any time of day

Bernado Roscira, Catarina Pinto, Joao Basios, Duaemr Oliveira,
David Hering & Migule Pratinha



This is a poem about football
How are you expecting it to sound?
We can tell you…. Ole Ole Ole
‘Cause football makes the world go round.




F ootball
C an be a
P ermanent thing
O r just a
R eminder
T o enjoy every day
O ne day at a time

C hampions are made of
H eart
E nergy
L ove and
S kill….
E veryone can be
A champion …if you believe!


Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/2006/03/21/the-beautiful-game-in-poetry-from-porto-workshops/