Hanot’s Prize, Now Corrupted

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 White jerseyed gods of the Iberian sun; six timers
As football blossomed into perfection played by
These supermen from Madrid; they peaked at a
Packed Hampden. Purity personified – Puskas,
Di Stefano, Gento et al. No badges, no logos, no
Sponsors on those immaculate shirts; the Real thing.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Then, came Catenaccio – the bolt, the padlock-tight
Defence. Don’t let them score and you won’t lose;
Negativity refined to an art form under Italian skies.
Milan, Turin, Rome – an old empire resurrected to
Dominate Europe. One-nil turned into a litany of
Truth, until Celtic joyously blasted it apart in ’67.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 British triumph through native Scots under an Irish
Flag – led by the Big Man; another Lanarkshire lad
Won the prize twelve months hence on a hot night
In London, when the country United to cheer them
To victory – ten years on from the Munich memory
That broke a team, but turned the club into a legend.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Seventies style, Dutch slickness from Cruyff and co.
Taking pass and move to new heights; Michaels their
Guide to glory – a free-flowing one stripe supremacy,
But Bayern weren’t far away, Der Kaiser in control –
Muller striking, Maier stopping, Hoeness pulling strings;
Leeds fell in Paris – goal disallowed, penalty not given.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Come Liverpool; a red tide swamped the Continent,
Winning a habit to Paisley’s men of Shankly’s making.
Then Forest, plundering the Big Cup twice; astonishing,
Young man…and another English win, as the Villains
Brought it on home again. Gerat teams, great times – true
National champions; a contest of strength and of quality.


Editor’s note :

The European Cup, the forerunner to the Champions League, was the brainchild of French sports journalist Gabriel Hanot.

English league champions Wolverhampton Wanderers defeated Hungarian side Honved in a 1953 exhibition match, leading Wolves manager to rather arrogantly dub his team the ‘champions of the world’ in the next day’s newspapers.

Hanot, editor of influential French sports newspaper L’Équipe, used this as the impetus to pitch his idea for a continental-wide tournament featuring the best European clubs.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, approved Hanot’s idea in April 1955 and the European Cup began in 1955-56.

In 1993, the European Cup was re-christened the Champions League

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/hanots-prize-now-corrupted/