A Welcome in January 2010

A Welcome to the decade even!

In January 2010, we welcomed the following new contributors to this site :

Tarquin Calver (welcome Tarquin – the first new contributor of the decade!)

Glyn Roberts

Derek V Parker

Paul Hatt

Ronnie Goodyer (do explore his website, Ronnie is an accomplished poet and produces anthologies, the latest of which I am enjoying)

Click on the names above to see that person’s poem(s), or browse some selected first efforts below :

Sky Blue Obsession

I blame my father.
At six years old, the smell,
no, pure essence of hot meat pies
on a frost-cold night,
quick breaths when a bite taken,
to ease the burning gravy.

Took me all those years,
all those damp trips to Huddersfield
and other faraway places with
odd-sounding names. The Sky Blues,
becoming my team, my obsession.
Terrace white-coats later, my father
no longer here, alone with our tribe.

Through the suffering of too many
defeats, the boredom of damp girl-friends,
the fear of ‘crews’ from bigger teams
rushing to where you wear the sky-blue.
Through the trip to London to see my
obsession defeat the Mighty Spurs
and win the F.A. Cup, and the noisy
drunken coach where we could all
have died then and there, happy in our heaven.

Now, Highfield Road demolished,
the mighty Ricoh Arena poised for success.
But we’re still mostly rubbish.
But always my rubbish;
my immaculate disappointments

Ronnie Goodyer

A lifetime love affair with Coventry City FC

Empty Seat

During a lull in the second half
with the match coming to a close,
a melancholic thought occurred.
“This could be the last time
I sit next to this man at a game”.

This is the man who back in the seventies,
held me by the hand and showed me where to go.
He made sure I had the right money
and found me a space where I could see.
Now I’m the one guiding him to his seat.
“Are you warm enough?”
“Can I get you a tea?”

We’ve been to grounds all over the country,
in all sorts of weathers.
League games and Cup games,
Friendlies and the like.
But you know what I remember most?
It’s the security of having you there,
sharing the joy and the despair.

When I look at that empty seat.
I’ll not forget.

© Paul Hatt

Written for my father who took me to my first game in 1972. I’ve never shown him it, perhaps I never will.

A Claret and Blue Sestina

Up stands the claret and blue choir. Up stands
The centurions, as sentries forthwith,
Taunting the enemy upon the shore
Who, unlike Spartacus, cry with fear “Halt
Your steps for your backs are against the villa”
But replied the throng, the old and the young,

“You fashion skill and your army is young,
Perhaps too young, for experience stands
Against youth. Imagine Ricky Villa
Skating through the box, or a Peter Withe
Soaring above them all before the Holte
End, or wobbling knees before Shaw.

Players such as these turn men to rickshaws,
Burning up their thighs when some men are born young,
Turn quickly into hobblin’ pops, then halt.
McParland and McGann, none could withstand,
Regardless of your thighs being iron with
Steel bolts, if you’re facing the Mighty Villa!

It would take Saint Theresa d’Avila
To pray the Villan tide away from shore,
Or a papal edict from Rome with
Psychological messages by Jung
And even then, it would not prevent the stands
Erupting; hark: Trinity and the Holte!!

Look at the tables – by the 50s halt,
United, Liverpool and Spurs tied Villa
To League wins. The ones who understand
This know the ebb and flow of sea and shore,
And time’s resigned to crack the eggs of young.
To restore the unforgiving minutes with

Untold seconds and hours. Who can know, with
The youth springing forth, who now can halt
The vim and vigour or the mighty Young,
Milner and Aggy, the Mighty Villa!
Doubt the claret and blue? I will assure
You that the Villan tide, none can withstand.

To do battle with the force of Villa
You have to halt the sea before the shore,
Before the incorruptible young erupt the stands.

© TCalver 3/1/10

this was a first effort at a sestina! hope it brings someone a smile!

The Man City Blues.

I was suppin’ at an ale house, in Eccles
down by the Bridgewater Canal
murky, polluted and stinking
and the canal was awful as well.

You’d never find that pub again
I wouldn’t know it to save mi life
for if inside it were dingy, outside
you could cut the fog, wi’ yer knife.

It was the kind of boozer that were drippin’
with ‘istory as well as with slime
on the damp walls hung faded photos
from an era, of a long gone time.

Some were of old dead pop stars
I guess that once, were all of a fad
the sort your mam would have screamed at
before she met, and screamed at your dad.

There were photos of stars from the telly
Elsie, Ena and Albert
in days when soap stars were celebrities
in flat cap, muffler and hair net.

But the photos I found most amazing
were footballers from olden days
this pub was a shrine to their team
though you wouldn’t recognise ‘em today.

For they all had shirts on, with no adverts
shorts that were tight round the groin
and curly perm haircuts, from a nightmare
Man City, I believe, was their name.

Now, all this is ancient history
when Manchester boasted two teams
the world famous Man United;
of Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams.

But at the other side of Rusholme
at the end of an old terrace row
by an alley where they put the bins out
was a stadium called, Maine Road.

This is where the City fans, would gather
to watch their team in blue
underachieve, I believe, is the expression,
every year, is what they would do.

Well, enough of memories, I was thinkin’
and I ordered me another drink
half a dark mild of Holts, and a Snowball
them old days don’t half make you think.

I carried on suppin’, mindin’ mi business
when a chap come in – just another
though it were only when he came and sat by me
I realised that it were mi brother.

Says I, “Alreet, our kid, ow ar thee?”
or some such, gobbledygook
“Eyeup, grand, and ow do young un?” he replied
“got summat for you, tek a look.”

From the very top pocket of his overalls
he took an envelope and give it to me
“I know ow yer likes yer footy,” he said
“so here’s a ticket for free.”

It was for the next home game int’ Premiership
but; oh no! was this some sick joke?
Man City versus Liverpool
it was enough to make me choke.

“’As tha not got tickets for Reds?
I mean, Man U, they’re my team,
and well, I ask you, Man City, and Liverpool
brother, you are way off beam!”

“I’m sorry, lad,” he replied, wi a snigger
“I won it in Wheeltapper’s sweepstake
it were booby prize, bit embarrassing
I couldn’t give it to one of me mates.

See, they all like their footy too much
they’d never go to that game
but then I remembered you, like
and I thought, you’re a bloke wi no shame.

So why not go, it’s not like the old days?
they moved from Maine Road years ago
they’ve a spanking new ground at Eastlands
but wherever that is, I dunno.

And they say someone’s give ‘em some money
they now has a few bob to spend
on players who need fat big wages
that the fans will pay for, in the end.”

“No ta,” I said to my brother,
“I’d rather watch the old Salford Lads
playing Eccles FC down the meadows,
in fact, them games aren’t so bad.”

At the bar I ordered a chip butty
(or baguette as they call ‘em today)
I wouldn’t cross road to see City, I thought
guess I’m stuck in an old fashioned way.

I looked at those old photos curling
men staring out from their past
whether it’s the price of bar food or football
today everything changes so fast.

City might have bought a few faces
they might think they can challenge for league
but Champions play in RED, in my city
for me, there’s only one team.

© Glyn Roberts

Let Down

Manager Owen Coyle

Was Burnley’s perfect foil

His complete devotion

Set the team in motion

But when he left

The club was bereft.

© Derek V Parker

Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/2010/02/05/a-welcome-in-january-2010/