In The Street

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 you can’t go back but you still gotta try
cars parked everywhere rushin’ on by
when we were little you could kickabout or lie
in the street

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 can’t quite believe it after all this time
same chalk markings on that ol’ wall of mine
goalposts fading like that old road sign
on my street

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 black and white TV lying on the floor
summer in the city when the houses used to roar
Shilton acrobatics me and Bobby Moore
and the street

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 tennis ball epics in the late summer light
World Cup replays under fading lamplight
Mexican altitudes present in the night
on the street

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 dreamin’ we were England acting out Brazil
still feel the magic still feel the chill
bunking in at Chelsea still recall the thrill
and the street

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 livin’ my life one game at a time
idolising Greavesie on that old touchline
all still there in the scrapbook of my mind
back here – on the street

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 used to stop the game for the ice cream man
nearly smashed the window of Remo’s white van
gang member team mates how it all began
in the street

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 out in the street where we learned how to play
never saw my mum we went missin’ all day
things that we did you could never do today
in the street

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 learned how to battle learned how to try
learned how to laugh an’ we learned how to to cry
learned how it passes in the blink of an eye
on the street

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 there on the street where we lived out the days
plimsolls cheese rolls learnin’ how to play
white jam sandwiches and fizzy lemonade
so sweet – on the street

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 chasing lost balls with a growly dog near
climbing over gardens all sick with fear
angry old bloke yellin’ don’t play here
from the street

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 some say you can’t stray back into the past
but images and street games are flooding in fast
faces and the places that were never gonna last
on the street..


This poem inspired by Neville Gabie’s amazing ‘Posts’ exhibition (watch out for them in Germany on billboards this summer),and a particular sign in one photo “No Ball Games -Children Sleeping!”. This weekend am gonna take a picture of those old street goals on the way to the Man U game…before they fade forever ., and maybe even finally meet up with that illustrious and prolific Cockney People’s Poet – Kevin Raymond!

Basically just all about my street…earliest World cup memories..and my old house…2 Wharfedale Street.London SW10. Just off the Ifield Road in Earls Court where I grew up ..(questionable word ‘grew’).

Chelsea’s old floodlights used to loom in the distance over the rooftops. We used to ask for programmes and do ‘penny for the guy’ (legal fireworks and tuck-shop money-begging then) from the passing crowds after games.

One day my older street Elvis ’78-loving mates, took me to The Bridge aged 9. I couldn’t see much except peanut shells, pipe tobacco smoke and dog-track tickets – which I collected and football badges.Our house backed on to the Troubador, a bohemian coffee bar and early folk club which is still there. When i was 10 Bob Dylan and later Paul Simon played there. If you had a car you were really posh . The chalk marks of our street goals are still there, opposite each other on either side of the road. We lived those games, me and my Indian mate Philip at number 12. Where are you Philip? What racism then? Loads actually just up the road in Notting Hill.Teddy Boy heaven or was it hell. Whatever!

Straight after watching each World Cup game on black and white TV, (about the only live football on the box then, apart from the FA Cup Final) we’d dive out ino the street , just like Rooney a few years back! Bagsy I’m Brazil and bagsy you’re Sweden! One aside across the street – magic! Sometimes Mrs Badcrumble would lean out the window ,screaming, and banging on about how she was trying to get little Betty (and Doris..and Stephen.. and Jimmy ) to sleep.. and to please..JUST..STOP hitting the blimming wall.!!!.) “Sorry Mrs Badcrumble”..but on we played..till we couldn’t see that bright yellow ball anymore… .

All change and mega-bucks now of course..but hey..back then..the street was everything.. I summoned up the courage and knocked on my old door once last season against Blackburn …nightmare…but that’s another poem.

Sincere apologies to the less fluffy and anti-nostalgic readers out there!

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/in-the-street/