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Changing facilities for underage teams
Are the stuff of fantastic, improbable dreams.
No coaches or buses transport them to matches,
No grass-laden pitches crop up in despatches.
The kids all get changed on the touchline together,
Often in rainy or wind-driven weather
On hard, bumpy pitches where footballs bounce madly
With divots and pot-holes and endlines drawn badly,
Where parents are linesmen, and funding’s a word
That the manager’s ears have never once heard.
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But every September, these youthful survivors,
Hand up crumpled tenners and finger-marked fivers
In order to fund this large organisation
Controlling the football events of the nation.
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And what do they do with the thousands amassed?
Build structures ensuring the sport here will last?
Fund youth competitions? Train trainers? Buy rollers?
Make sure that the big English clubs don’t bankroll us?
Provide training facilities? Excellence centres?
Produce long-term plans for the kids and their mentors?
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But the public perception is somewhat at odds,
With the acts of these faceless, administrative gods,
Who need to attend, at full cost, foreign trips,
And doubtless do not dine upon egg and chips.
And the more far-flung the exotic location,
The greater the need for more administration,
Who don their fine blazers with FAI crest,
Proudly emblazoned upon the left breast,
And grasp with two hands what tradition now proffers,
Enjoying the rewards that their membership offers.
Travelling first-class makes such sound fiscal sense
When done at the organisation’s expense.
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And if they’re a failure and moved from their job,
Their contracts assert that they’ll get a few bob.
Are their morals offended by the fact plain and stark
That they pocket the cash from the kids in the park?