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It was best when you were a kid – playing
Hour after hour with your mates from school.
Goalposts were a novelty, always that mud
Puddle in the middle to drench your clothes.
Jeans knees caked in it; squelchy, sodden socks –
Scruffy tops and baggy trackies in those happy
Pre-designer days. Into twlight and darkness
We’d go on – first to fifteen, then first to twenty.
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In summer, in winter; all seasons were football.
Fly goalie, attack and defence, or ‘Wembley’ as
We called it…Just shots in, or penalties – played
For real, and with no little competition amongst
Lads from the same streets on the same estate.
Sometimes, twenty a side (it seemed), sometimes
Just one versus one; Sunday mornings replaying
Match of the Day, or Saturday’s Molineux match.
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Times lost to our youth, times of careless freedom
On a field, with a ball and our friends. No gang
Warfare, no anti-social behaviour – lest you count
The shouts and cheers of eager boys chasing around
Until their teatime, or bedtime called. Football was the
Be-all, and end-all; no slick replica kits, just boundless
Enthusiasm – but there were always those who got
Picked first, or goalhanged all game and wouldn’t pass.
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So, thanks for the memories of childhood games
To sustain us in later life, as reflections transform
Those golden years into a special time, when footy
Was everything – a release, an escape, a fantasy
World of great goals, great saves and the hope of
Attention from the girls who’d watch, at a distance.
You’d try a bit harder to get possession and the
Chance to show off. Days of innocence and fun.