Cliff Bastin’s Boots

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 How did you run in those boots, Cliff Bastin?
Gliding tackles, like Nureyev,
dragging mud-clumped studs
across exhausting bogs
where lesser players ran a-ground.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Fleeting past the West Stand,
dancing boy Bastin’s goals aroused
dreams in younger boys and men
who packed North London terraces to watch
The Arsenal entertain between the wars.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 In dead-weight boots on grass-less swamps,
boy Bastin ran eternal wings.
One hundred goals, the crowd still sings
seventy years on.
Only the boots have gone.


Having won every honour in the game by the time he was 21, Cliff Bastin went on to become Arsenal’s greatest goal-scorer, a proud record he held for nearly sixty years until a certain Mr Wright overtook him in 97. Bastin scored 178 times for the gunners, a wonderful achievement when you consider he played most of his football on the wing. If the war had not come to cut his career short Thierry Henry would probably still be chasing his record now.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/cliff-bastins-boots/