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When I was playing football, back in the bad old days,
Our attitudes were diff’rent in a myriad of ways.
We never criticised the ref, nor called our training boring,
And never dreamt of snogging anybody just for scoring.
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But riding dirty tackles is where football’s really changed,
Especially when facing a defender half-deranged.
He’d clatter you and batter you and kick you on the ground,
But you’d bounce up immediately and never roll around.
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You wouldn’t clutch your kneecap, with your pain-wracked face contorted.
You’d want him to believe that all his dirty work was thwarted.
You’d never scream in agony or lie there quite inert –
Up you’d jump and grin at him, to show that you weren’t hurt.
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Real men would never make a meal of a bad tackle,
‘Twould only make the hard man rub his hands with glee and cackle.
You had to shrug it off, no matter how complete the fall
To show him that he wasn’t such a hard man after all.
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The crowd despised a whinger, it was not how men behaved,
Even when confronted by a full back quite depraved.
It wasn’t written anywhere and always stayed unspoken –
Get up, you softie, even though your leg might well be broken.