This archive contains every poem that has been published on Football Poets. They are listed ten-per-page in reverse chronological order so the most recent poems appear first. Click or tap the arrows in the corners of the page to navigate between pages. It's easier to use the search form below to find a specific poem.
I’m pacing the floor
cos I don’t know the score
and I’m trying to avoid
how they deployed
I’ve turned off my phone
with its certain ringtone *
and all because….
It’s FA Cup Final day
and my team are on the red carpet….
yet – I’m not there
mitigation 1 : I’m overseas
mitigation 2 : couldn’t get a ticket
and even if I did
I’d be on a sticky wicket
‘cos I’m in a household full of exams
and I function primarily
as Dad’s taxi
(so for once, I feel full-on wanted and required –
won’t be long before that feeling’s expired!)
But there’s more…
I didn’t watch it live!….
I didn’t connive
to be “dahn de pub, wiv mates”
of who’s deserving of admiration
or who should be hooked
before they’re booked
I went hiking
‘cos I’m liking
that my battered ol’ bod
can still function up and down
through Irish bog and trail
and though twist and turn might fail
can have me chalking
that’s maybe more than those on Wembley’s hallowed turf?
I didn’t even surf
to find out who or when
Reds or Blues.
Quick change of shoes –
but still, even tho’ I could’ve
I bypassed Wembley’s tremblies
and shuttled out to another real live match
not even soccer…..
but a different code
of Irish abode
and my local club **
by exam fever
still pulled the lever
ahead by a few points
only to be pulled back
to an honourable draw
at this point in time
Wembley was probably empty
and so home I traipsed
no catching up with the recording….
Mrs Brown’s Boys…..
of my wife’s choosing
and I’ve seriously no knowledge
of winning or losing
under what is: the longest single span roof structure in the world….
which ribbons were unfurled?
I’m still none the wiser
for my boy to join me ***
and cower together
as Chelsea hopefully go hell for leather….
and then it dawns…
he probably already knows
as he’s in front of Ed Sheeran
and the Knorr-folk strummer
has probably broadcast out to the crowd
as to whether Red or Blue triumphed…
and I’m laughing, ‘cos
I’m venting this
this toad of an ode
on a piece of random paper
that details the caper
of how to get
to Ed’s zedfest –
a map of the park
where he’ll finish in the dark…
and that is exactly where I am!
even as I write
this must be the most sh…
but do I win kudos
for not having to resort….
Match of the Day?!?!? ****
I cannot speak of other hearts
The tears the joys the loss
I cannot name the unknown ones
Nor count the cost
What is gone the sights the smells
The sounds that taste forgot
The meek the mild the often wild
The need to be alone
Yes, tell me then, I simply ask
What is home?
Upon the hallowed football field
A terrace shook the sky
A gilded shirt and flying boots
What joys transpire
The giddy heart bewitched once more
The throat swells o’er with song
This is home, yes this is home
A king upon beleaguered throne
A prince who thrills the bannered throng
A place where we belong.
I heard them curse the lack of silverware,
those diehard fans from lonely Ross-on- Wye,
still yearning hopelessly for football’s heir.
I gazed upon the concrete bridge to Skye,
that distant island ‘rescued’ from the brink,
no longer counted in with Man and Wight.
I dreamt of Agincourt again to drink
the stirring sight of some forgotten knight,
astride a snow-white stallion, pawing earth.
I smelled and smelled the grassy dales
where Wordsworth roamed and realised, with little mirth,
that custard is not solely made by Bird’s.
Another day of destiny
Here comes deja vu
Is your glass half full or empty
Depends on your point of view.
Third consecutive play-off final
But the first at home
If you can really call it that
For to Tooting we’ve had to roam.
With our arch rivals relegated
We’ll be two divisions apart
Much as I’m grateful for their helping hand
Them dropping warmed my heart.
There’ll be two divisions between us
If we’re victors at ten to five
And against the obscene Tamplin wads at Billericay
We did well to keep out title hopes alive.
So much play-off heartache in the past
It can’t come soon enough
But Hendon won’t be pushovers
It’s going to genuinely tough.
Come the final whistle
I’ll have tears in my eye
That’s whether we win or lose
I know I’m going to cry.
Perhaps it’s Old Skool destiny
We went up when we shared at Sandy Lane
Now we’re stuck at their new ground
It could be time again.
Will it be farewell to the Isthmian
National League bound?
Or grown men breaking down
At the Tooting & Mitcham ground?
With all the off-field problems
I didn’t want to go a level higher
But to say I don’t want it in my heart
I’d have to admit to being as liar.
So will we finally do it
Only time will tell
It won’t be the end of the world
If we’re stuck in ‘Bostik League hell’.
Except I’m not a ‘big-time-charlie’
I’d never call it that
Anyone who uses that description
Is a disrespectful prat.
I’m desperate to leave the Isthmian
But proud enough to stay
Really don’t want to tempt fate
But think it might finally be our day.
I see it in Monet
with his haystacks
and Rouen Cathedral
I see it in Hokusai
with his 36 views
of Mount Fuji
I see it in the curious cut-outs
of a demiurgic Matisse
repetition – but with a carefully crafted nuance….
just like keepy-uppys
a succession of association
between body and ball
just like the skill of a brush-stroke; as the torso stipples
and the scapula sculpts
where foot melds, with pigskinned orb
where the knee jounces
the instep cushions
the thigh stifles
the heel lifts
the sternum softens
and the calf cradles
practice, practice, practice
I have lived out my life drenched in football
By the games that the Reds won or lost
And I have valued those days of my youth
But I have never measured the cost
I had long thought the butterflies flown
The excitements all given to past
But still those old roads lead to home
And the spells still have magic to cast
It’s just like the first kiss of summer
The riff of a Gibson guitar
The bike that I longed for at Christmas
The return of my old Liverpool scarf
It’s like finding a friend when you’re lonely
The warmth of a comforting hand
The smile on the face of a stranger
When you’re lost in an uncertain land
It’s like being lifted up onto strong shoulders
The best that I’ve known was that view
And learning the songs from my father
Before the teenager ripped up the nest and then flew
So whilst money is making its mark
And the cash tills are singing like choirs
There’s still enough romance for dreamers
Aye, there’s enough for the proud dreaming child.
there are loyal collectors of programmes
whose attics and boxes contain
all expertly wrapped and religiously mapped
a record of many a game
but they’re calling for clubs to think over
just what is the point of it all
it’s the digital age v the old printed page
but they’re still such a part of football
At the end of the late eighteen hundreds
wherever our teams would compete
the programme was born it is earliest form
and often a mere single sheet
they were simple and basic to start with
reflecting the print of the times
there’d be strange sounding names maybe upcoming games
with barely a thought for design
but they grew and they found our affection
they could bring back some lost memory
of a moment of class or a match from the past
when you stood there so young and so free
when sometimes the nerves or excitement
meant they lay in your pocket unseen
til later at home by the fireside alone
you would pore over news on your team
there’d by words from the captain and team mates
of things that they did in spare time
there’d be letters and more and a space for the scores
that popped up on boards at half time
and the team pics would follow a format
that continues along to this day
where they stand there in time with arms folded behind
those sat on some bench in that way
those magical black and white photos
of away games at strange misty grounds
with their classic shaped stands from those far away lands
that conjured up visions and sounds
in the days when we only had papers
they contained all the figures and facts
in striking bold colour all there on the cover
to line ups in middle or back
it was long before TV took over
en masse as they do now today
the Final maybe if you owned a TV
til the world changed with Match of The Day
and they probably lose the clubs money
in a time when your ticket can be
a print-off at home or a code on your phone
but they still feel important to me
And to all of you loyal collectors
whose attics and boxes contain
religiously mapped and expertly wrapped
in the memories there that remain
they can call for the clubs to remove them
and some out there might feel the same
but throughout history they evoke memory
and they still have a place in the game.
Half a mile from the station
A delight of a ground
Half decent programme
Admission just five pound.
Out of my local area
Jumped on a train
Headed for Risborough Rangers
No I’m not insane!
A sun setting evening
Weather dry and fine
Such a gorgeous setting
For ground six eighty nine.
Basic but cared for
In their club they take pride
A much better set up
Than my local step six side.
Club house full of photos
Ground painted red and white
It’s got that total ‘cared for’ feel
That makes groundhopping a delight.
Resting on the railing
Football’s not the best
But what do you want at Step six
As long as they try their best?
It can’t exactly be easy
On a bumpy bone-dry pitch
I doubt if they can afford summer top soil
They don’t exactly look rich.
But who needs Billericay style money
When all you need is love and care
Clubs like this are football’s lifeblood
Despite trophy cabinets usually bare.
Inside I’m quietly content
As the sun sets tonight
Darkened trees for backdrop
Under the glow of artificial light.
A single goal in it
Certainly could have been more
But you won’t hear me complaining
About the one nil score.
This is genuine entertainment
The highlight of my week
Albeit that’s only because
Losing to Grays was so bleak.
This was simply football for enjoyment
No Pink & Blue tinted specs tonight
There was even a late ‘cabaret’ bonus
Of ‘handbags’ masquerading as a fight.
Leicester were playing in Europe
Tannoyman updates the score
Game on the telly in the bar
Not bothered to go in the door.
Why would I want artificial Champions League
That I’ll never be able to afford
Much better to see real live honest football
Where I doubt I’ll ever be bored.
In the second half it’s getting colder
The crisp air doesn’t make me chill
For ninety minutes I’m without a care
Non-league football’s my total thrill.
Tomorrow I’ll start to ‘worry Dulwich Hamlet’
As play-off nerves kick in
But for now it’s going to Risborough Rangers
That keeps me calm and content within.
Human Relief All Stars
Took a short hop to Tamale
After a long haul flight to Accra
To the aroma of the Kukuo bakery
First stop is Kpaling
An encounter so very brief
Honoured by the locals
We met the village chief
The women came out in force
Their happiness was rife
We joined them at gushing wells
Yes, water really is life
But football was the main force
Behold the beautiful game
We were awestruck by such talent
Back home it’s no way the same
I yelled, “Over here Marcus!”
Circled by a group of three
Was really hailing our photo wizard
Kids thought ‘mark us’, was my plea
Football in Bamvom and Moglaa
Pro touch coaching in Nanton Zuo
Matchday in Tolon
Game time in Agona Asafo
Shaikhs Muhammad, Ali, Adam
Richard, Nizar, Waseem
Abdal, Hannan, Abu, Shaheed
Haruna, Marcus, Emdad, Kassim,
They welcomed us Akwaaba
Our friends faces shine with gleam
We bid goodbye to Ghana
Nante yie proclaim the team
© emdad Rahman
Give us back footballers of a different breed
High flying skills aye, but take back the greed
Wearing the shirt for the pride not the fame
Kids out on the parks not a PlayStation game
We reclaim our clubs from those corporate suits
We fought hard for justice to give us the truth
Give us back Shankly, Busby and Stein
Them tough talking boys from those old mining fields
Give us back standing, the terrace our world
And most of all tickets that don’t cost the earth
Give us back champions who are just one of us
Like Sir Tom Finney sat with fans on the bus
Give us back David Coleman and his no-nonsense “1-0”
And the boy Duncan Edwards, we’re missing him still
Give us back Johann Cruyff as he turns then to shoot
Matched by bold Billy Liddell in his heaven-made boots
The glorious touch of the grass ‘neath our feet
Replaying the swagger and brash of the street
We remember the matches we won drew and lost
And the values we hold that don’t measure the cost
And remember the walks with our Dads to the grounds
The way we were thrilled by the sound of the crowd
Give us back the Echo in its Saturday pink
And the blether and braw of a post-match drink
Wincing at tackles with blood on the studs
But lovin’ those pitches whose grass turned to mud
Aye, give us back fitbaw of yesteryear
But tell the racists and fascists they’re nae welcome here
Us fans are the lifeblood of our beautiful game
And we reclaim the spirit sold off down the drain
We’re grassroots we’re partisan, we’re young and we’re auld
We’re the heart of our clubs we’re community soul
We’re the mojo the tempo the raw Rock and Roll
So, give us back mavericks who won’t do what they’re told
Gift us elegant sweepers and sleek liberos
And those freewheelin’ wingers who fly from their toes
Give us back footballers carrying some beef
Who head off at halftime with a sigh of relief
And grant every player their chance to be stars
But at least win the league before buying fast cars
Earn your spurs, win your battles, and learn from the scars
It’s a game of one passion, and always two halves
But Football, our heartbeat, our heartbreak, aye, undeniably OURS.