Poems tagged ‘England’

If This Is Our Time

nights like this are special
times like these are rare
savour ev’ry moment
when you know you’re there
you can call it fortune
who cares what they say
when that moment happens
failure falls away

and if this is really it
if this is our time
we’ll remember where we were
til the day we die
we’ll remember words we cried
in our silly way
just like when the Beatles sang
Things We Said Today

high upon this hillside
minutes seem to fly
suddenly it hits you
like in years gone by
all those days we came so close
all those times before
disappear and fade away
when at last you score

looking on in disbelief
through the tears and smiles
memories come flooding back
when you were a child
time to stop and pinch yourself
as you watch the game
what is it that moves us
in this way the same?
and if this is really it
if this is our time
we’ll remember where we were
til the day we die
we’ll remember words we cried
in our silly way
just like when the Beatles sang
Things We Said Today

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On the eve of the big match

So here we are
On the eve of
The Big Match
Twitching curtains
Shuffling of feet
Behind the scenes
Nervous coughs and sneezes
Audiences sighing
Tomorrow England and Holland
Euro 2024 semi final
Phones poised for
Immortal images
Flash lights flickering
Unbearable tapping of fingers
On tables and chairs of
Agonised anticipation
We’ve rehearsed these moments
A thousand times
Training ground rigmaroles
Millions of shots
Fired at the onion bag
Nets billowing and blustering
The target has to be hit
Goals are the essential currency
England, the only ones
That count, it has to be
Now, tomorrow or it’s
Back at Heathrow
On Thursday morning
A shuddering blow
There is geography and history
Between the flying Dutch
And the educated feet of the English
Remember Euro 96,
The old Wembley
Oh how we adored those
FA Cup Final sepia tinted
Images, but then
Gazza lovable, always
One of our own
A player par excellence
Teddy Sheringham, steady
As they come
On that night he got
It absolutely right
Jamie Redknapp, Harry’s boy
Suave and sophisticated
Passes completed with
The smoothness of carpet slippers
Shearer just doing what
Seemed to come naturally
Recalling the Wor Jackie heritage
Among the Geordie pride
Newcastle to his fingertips
So England be ready
For Rembrandt’s modern day
Heroes and icons
Ronald Koeman, now sitting
From the sidelines
Privately glowing with
The knowledge that his
Free kick blew England out
Of the 1994 World Cup
Out of the water
So park your orange bikes
Next to those placid canals
Gareth Southgate
Take a deep breath
Behind the scenes
Frantic last minute
Lines memorised
The roar of the grease paint
In the wings
You can hear
And feel the apprehension
Nerve shredding,
Unbearable theatricality
Sweet wrappers rustling,
Low whispers of constant
Questions, questions
We can barely look
Up until now
Disgracefully forgettable
Hardly worthy of mention
Glasses of lager trembling
With yet more unspoken fears
St George and Union Jack flags
Petrified with portents of failure
Dutch revenge in the air
Burgers will be bristling with
Beefy bliss if England can
Do it again
Pubs erupting with profuse
Breweries of pleasure
Plastic cups spraying
Fountains of booze
Into street carnivals
Of joy,
High summertime
For England it has to
Be coming home
We must hope

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How much more can we take?

Honestly, England
How much more can we take?
Patriotic nerves in tatters
Taken to the brink
No finger nails left
Clinging on for dear life
Wobbling and swaying
On the precipice
Don’t look down from
The tightrope
Precariously balanced
But England through
To the last four
Of Euro 2024
We’ll never know how
The divine intervention of
Fate or karma
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Perhaps, we’ll never know
Luck pushed to the limit
Last night it was in the stars
But surely not again
The Swiss were bliss
Or were for a while
And yet those tea leaves
Were definitely on our side
No crystal ball needed
It had to be England’s night
Gareth Southgate always believed
In the indefinable,
The impossible dream
England, beyond any
Description or category
It seemed to be goal-less
Even the midnight of German
Cathedral bells were chiming
For 90 minutes and extra time
Embolo found holes in
England’s brittle defence
Of good old fashioned
Cheddar rather than Swiss Edam
Switzerland break the deadlock
Oh not again
This time it’s for real
We’re not kidding
It’s goodbye England
Farewell to arms
But, Hemingway
Had nothing to do with
European Championship
England were on their
Way out
Minutes ebbing away
The sands of time
Trickling rapidly
Away from
Gareth’s gallants
But then Saka
Bukayo, give that man
A knighthood
Saka saccharine
No sugar
Bukayo, the sweetest
Shot you ever did see
Cutting back on his defender
Jockeying for position
On the angle
From the edge of the area
Driven with vicious vehemence
It flew like a missile
Arrowing past the keeper
Trajectory perfect
It was a goal ages
Before it left the Saka
Feet of ferocity
The equaliser and
The nation gasped for air
No more, please
We can’t take any more
Then Bellingham, Foden,Rice,
Mainoo almost too quiet,
Modest and understated,
Walker and Stones
Like Buckingham Palace guards
Muddling through to the end
Still figuring out Pythagoras
Theorem, those
Mysterious angles,
To pass or not to pass
That is the question why?
What to do with a football
Do they take that
Calculated gamble
Or Russian roulette
Decisions, decisions?
So many blocked roads
Sand bagged motorway cones
Switzerland seemed
To have England
Exactly where they wanted us
Take the next junction
They seemed to be implying
No, exit off that roundabout
Got you, Gareth Southgate
And finally extra time
No hope of a result
England desperate to
Fill up the petrol tank
Rejuvenation time
But last night it all felt
So much better than
The group stage rehearsals
Drained but not out
The Three Lions were
Still roaring in
That concrete German
Jungle of European
And then the dreaded penalties
Not that old chestnut again
Beauties every one
Jackpot and on the money
Swiss miss one
Most painful blow
Vital and crucial
Before Trent
With a Merseyside song
In his heart
Crosses his metaphorical ferry
Steering the ball
Navigating the six yard
Conundrum with
A penalty tucked away
With the rock steadiest
Charm offensive
Now for the flying Dutchman
For a Final classic
Against either the French
Or, possibly Spanish
Can dear Blighty
Withstand the tantalising tension
Hearts pounding like
The familiar triphammer
Private fears about Dutch revenge
For Euro 96
But no, this is England’s year
New government, new European Champions
But no labouring again
It’s now 58 years
Since the world turned on its axis
And time to celebrate again
England your country need you
To win again, finally
It can’t be too much to ask for

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When England Take On Switzerland

when England take on Switzerland
who cares if we still have no plan
there are no dreaded warning signs
we’ve played them twenty seven times
how could we ever be undone
we haven’t lost since ‘81
a well-trained dog is all we need
to teach us how to hold a lead
so let’s relax it will be grand
when England take on Switzerland

oh Switzerland oh Switzerland
I’ll never ever understand
why blueberries with your muesli
could make you take the risk to ski
on mountains where an avalanche
could leave you clinging to some branch
your scary Alps your hairy bends
that sometimes seem to never end
I’ve never been their biggest fan
when driving round in Switzerland

your Heidis and your praline chocs
your cheese with holes in and your clocks
the Swiss Roll you did not invent
however tasty or well-meant
your longest tunnel that by chance
is longer than our one to France
the only decent thing you’ve done
is you invented Toblerone
we cannot lose and to a man
we will demolish Switzerland

when England take on Switzerland
we’ll pick up where we first began
in ’66 and all those times
we showed the world why we’re so fine
our history speaks for itself
look at the trophies on our shelf
we are the finest in the land
we’ve even got a brilliant band
the Sound of Music in our ears
I promise it won’t end in tears
no need for tactics or a code
when Southgate’s Army hit the road
And like some mighty caravan
we will roll over Switzerland

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To Be An England Fan (After Slovakia)

exhausted watching you again
all through the years in sun and rain
from giant screens to my front room
with no-one else to share the gloom
the hope that never disappears
the sheer frustration and the tears
the last few kicks in all those games
when we were knocked out once again
as we watched on with head in hands
resigned to be an England fan

until tonight when just like you
I’ll never know how we got through
the agony to ecstasy
relieved yet undeserved to me
we’ve been here many times before
this boring stuff that we endure
the way we look so uninspired
from cautiousness to looking tired
and never will I understand
this fate to be an England fan

I don’t look forward any more
resigned to failure scared unsure
I’m lost for what to think or say
that might throw light upon our way
a coach who looks perplexed and drained
who waits too long in ev’ry game
who sticks by those who fail each time
ignoring talent on the line
but still I’ll never understand
the fate to be an England fan

my heart goes out to those out there
who follow England evrywhere
and somehow get to ev’ry game
all through the years in sun and rain
who work and save to stand and sing
through ups and downs through thick and thin
the hope that never disappears
the sheer frustration and the tears
the last few kicks in all those games
unitl we’re knocked out once again
but stil they stand with head in hands
resigned to be an England fan

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Oh England, what happened there?

Oh, England,
So wretched, awful
Lifeless, listless
Lackadaisical, punch drunk
Sloppy and slovenly
A throwback to the
Bad, old days
Of World Cup 1986,
When dear Ray Wilkins
Once threw his toys
Out of his pram
And England laboured
To a goal-less draw
Against Morocco
Or similarly
When Wayne Rooney
Accused England fans
Of too many objections
After 0-0 against Algeria
Last night though
England lost their way
In World Cups from yesteryear
Against Denmark, though
Oh how we’ve been here
Before, have we not?
England, stuck in that
Now familiar rut
Where all the cogs and wheels
Are rusty and in desperate
Need of oiling
England, plodding through
A forest of divots
Reminding us of cabbage patches
Of 1970s England
Toiling grimly on German
Bellingham, Saka and Arnold
Careless and reckless
No bite or ambition
Total lack of co-ordination
Round pegs in square holes
England pre-occupied by
Big pay days just
Futile afternoons in Frankfurt
Handsome wage packets
How Gareth’s men are spoilt
For last night was simply
A disgraceful shambles
Criminal negligence
Rice and Foden
Strangers in paradise
No shame or remorse
But perhaps we’re being too
Harsh, a withering verdict
Surely though, utterly horrendous
And yet it could have been
So different
Harry Kane may have picked
A plum from a German orchard
With yet another goal
But Gareth this had to be
Seen through closed eyes
Turn our heads away, now
Farcically forgettable
Danes in tandem,
Singing from the same
Hymn sheet
Light years ahead of
England, in movement
Made to measure passing
All that remains
Is Slovenia by way
Of redemption
But then again
It could be too late
England home just in
Time for Glastonbury
On last night’s evidence
Lucky to be accepted onto
The main Sunday stage,
Headline act
At Sunday twilight
When nights are falling
And acres of summer darkness
Are surrounding English football
But hold on, let’s be upbeat,
It is coming home
Germany in Euro 2024 Final
If only it could happen
But after last night’s fiasco
We are, quite literally,
Coming home

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The Frankfurt Shuffle (How Low Can We Go)

a poet can’t find words sometimes
the words refuse to flow
like writer’s block where chances
no longer come or go
what is it with our country
are we surprised to see
so many fans to help us on
it sure ain’t new to me ?

the weight of expectation
the anthems and the chants
the upbeat vibe that falls to flat
as we refuse to dance
a band without a frontman
the cautiousness we see
so swiftly can erase the hope
that we tune in to see

where games can be like songs sometimes
we sing through sun and rain
and some can be a mighty voice
running through your brain
while some are like a drum-beat
that rises now and then
or some a moving ballad…
but this was none of them

and quite unlike the anthem
un-freed from desire*
our defence looked terrified
and no-one was on fire
for this one begged the question
just how low can we go
a limbo with no dancers
a team that doesn’t show

you move it to the left a bit
you move it to the right,
you hide within yourself again
and just do that all night…
with no more than a shuffle*
when fans expect the earth
we rue another wasted night
on Frankfurt’s lifting turf

we used to compare England
to watching fresh paint dry
but that was more exciting
than watching this go by
when something isn’t working
it’s time for something new
there’s so much talent on the bench
let’s see what they can do

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England & Netherlands Win E24#3

in the late late show
Poland shine but just fall short
Oranje wall stands firm


Eriksen strikes first
Danes hed by Slovenia
stalemate helps us loads


difficult again
Bellingham the diff’rence here
one goal is enough

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Farewell Europe, England

And so English football
Bids farewell to Europe
Apart from Villa of course
It was nice to know you
For a season or quite
A few, it was a blast
Firstly West Ham
Toppled by the German
Infantry and cavalry
Bayern Leverkusen
Class told
We knew it would be
This way
Overwhelmed by Bundesliga
Still washed by
Gallons of champagne
The end of the adventure
For West Ham
An odyssey into European
Terrain, a fantasy land
That held us in thrall
But it was good to be there
Involved in the heat
Of it all
Fraternising with Germany’s
Finest, in a league of their
Own, alone, just dominant
No answer West Ham
Baffled and bewitched
In Bavaria
And then last Thursday
Just given their
Marching orders
Never mind claret and blue
Bravery shines through
At the London Stadium
But not enough
On the night
Heroism a tune to hum
For many a year
Seasons in the Sun
No, that’s a song
But a good one
From way back when
Still, Euro trophy
To flaunt in our dreams
And peripheral visions
Before shimmering through
The blinds and velvet curtains
And then surely that
First crack of dawn
We witnessed the
Glorious sunshine in
Prague, you were all
Peerless, happy Hammers
Thanks for those gold,
Silver and bronze nights
Where trophies were brandished
Like swords of honour
Never forgotten
Then there was Liverpool
And Manchester City
Feasting at the top table
Of Europe
Driven out of the Champions
League and Europa League,
The biggest and glamorous
But for the last three seasons
The Irons from the East End
Were also at the anvil
The sharp end of European
Conflict, never to be
Discounted, just as good
Liverpool, though, Jurgen’s band
Of merry men
Also leave the European party
Italian fashion role models
Atalantata, cleverly pacing
Themselves and sealing
The deal
But Liverpool have seen it
All before
Shanks, Bob Paisley,
Kevin Keegan, Tommy Smith,
Terry Mac,
In ironically Rome
1977 when the European Cup
Was sampled and claimed
Italy simply the hosts
That memorable night
Rome was never built in a day
And yet Liverpool established
Their right to win in Europe
Sadly though Liverpool are out of
Their favourite geographical
Hot spots
Manchester City
It’s all been said
Treble winners
Last time out
But now the mighty
Gladiators of
European football
Real Madrid
Hold their shields
Scintillating as usual
Football’s headmasters
Kings of Europe
How many times?
Would somebody pass
An abacus, please?
Just swagger into
the semis,
Champions League that is
England’s finest ambassador
Jude Bellingham
At least representing
This fine island
In a Champions League final
It could happen
His moment to shine
At the highest seat of
European power
And yet there was one glinting
Shaft of light in the darkness
Aston Villa still in
European backwaters
Bobbing buoyantly
In the shallow end
Where their fellow claret
And blue warriors were
For West Ham now read
Villa, inching closer
To their first Euro
Trophy since the bearded
Peter Withe
Grabbed the winner
For Villa
42 years ago
Better late than never
European Champions
Incredible but true
Yes, Villa wearing the
Ultimate crown
And now Unai Emery
Back on the claret and blue
Road to the land
Of Euro conference glory
Glory days
And yet for West Ham,
Here’s your
Passport back home
Stamp or scan that document
Go through customs
With nothing to declare
Proud as punch though
The boys did well
Pick up your cases
Tangibly triumphant
Nothing to be ashamed of
Liverpool, City and West Ham
You were our appointments
With destiny
European Champions at all levels
Take a bow again


England – Brazil

So here’s the deal
Football’s Harlem Globetrotters
Are in town over the weekend
Art and beauty
Merge as one
A splash of yellow
Across football’s
Kaleidoscope of vivid
Brazil, yes Brazil
Footballing royalty
Gracing the most
Exalted stage
The country who
Once left you spellbound
When a child of nature
Searching for a meaning
And finding fields of
Lace and silk in
Filigree finery
Brazil flaunting majestic
Purple and ermine
Cloaks of greatness
Defying similes and analogies
Metaphors and verbs
Animated adverbs
Pungent pronouns
In 1970, a sudden
Awareness of style
Serial World Cup winners
Adored by the purists
Classical exponents of the
The Beautiful Game
At its most aesthetic
Gerson, Tostao, Rivelino,
Pele surely pre-eminent
Carlos Alberto, what a goal!
Sending palpitations through
Our breathless heartbeats
Like oil paintings and
Degas and Matisse visiting
Sao Paolo and the
Copacabana just for a while
This was our first glimpse
Of genius incarnate
From far off Mexico
When commentators sounded
As if they were reporting
From another planet
Brazil though
Parodies of their former selves
In 1974, 78, and 82
Although Zico made us swoon
With delicious delight
Socrates of course the
Cerebral, thought provoking one
But now it’s Lucas Pacqueta
Live from the East End
Claret and blue imagery
Although on Saturday
Inheriting the mantle of
His wonderful predecessors
Rodri of City
Supple and subtle
As they come
Touch and vision
Inked in his soul
Naturally inventive
Always picturing in his mind
Almost instantaneously
The geography of goal, net
And post, etched in his mind
Passing to melt your heart
Foreknowledge and
Male intuition
Wit, guile and craft
Second nature
To any Brazilian
Sensing goals from
Far off districts
Postcodes and continents
But English observers
Will hug to themselves
The slinky, weaving,
Jinking and dinking
John Barnes
In the Maracana
Adopting the samba
From his opponents
For 90 minutes of
Dancing before slicing
Through Brazilian defenders
Pirouetting on fleet of feet
As if privately longing to play
For those South American
Before scoring that
Heavenly goal
England against Brazil
A friendly in name
But a springtime herald
On our early morning window
Where daffodils lean across
And wave to passing humanity
A picturesque potpourri
Of football at its
Most scented and perfumed
With the loveliest of smells
The essentials of feathery
Touches and latticework of
Passing patterns
Wembley can hardly wait

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