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Saturdays when the seniors were away, you
Went to watch the hopefuls; the injured star
Making a comeback, the young kids eager,
The old pros winding down – the Reserves.
Played the same opponents as the first team,
Their shadow version – same colours, little
Known faces on a single, one page team-sheet.
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Kick off three o’clock, but none of the glamour –
Just a scattering of old men and schoolboys on
The terraces. Voices echoed around the void,
The odd flash of skill, and lots of endeavour but
No one got worked up about the result too much.
You took a tranny to follow all the other scores;
Just a few hundred souls on a wintry afternoon.
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It was a badge of loyalty, a mark of status, for
The hardy loyalists clustering together as it rained.
Shouting ribald advice at harassed midfielders, and
Lumbering forwards. It was cheaper, and safer
Than the big games – this fortnightly habit that you
Could go to with your mates and no-one minded;
Nothing too serious, just a game to watch for fun.
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A full league; famous northern and midland
Names playing forty two matches, as the first
Team did. Some modest value – a trophy for the
Champions. But now, marginalised – week night
Fixtures at small non-league grounds – a team
With more foreigners than locals; even scrapped
Completely – a sad ending for those beloved ‘stiffs’.