Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
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The first to strike gold in Europe
Was that famous Black Pearl
Fondly known as Benbarek
To others the Moroccan Earl
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El Ouatane aged fourteen
Honed the Black Pearl’s stealth
Two Spanish titles for El Prodigio
Order of Merit after his death
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Forty three goals for Stade Français
As Larbi walked the walk
Fifty six as Spain’s Perla Negra
La perle noir du Maroc
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From twenty Francs a day
An Iberian prince at Marseille
The first ever “black pearl”
Very high praise from Pele
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Eight goals against Southend
A first French cap against Italy
War loomed and Larbi went home
With the arrival of the Nazi
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French journalists raged in despair
When Atletico signed a cheque
One wrote; ‘Sell the Eiffel Tower,
But not Ben Barek’
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Idéal Club Casablanca and US Marocaine
Stade Français adding spice
Atlético Madrid Los Rojiblancos
Where Larbi won La Liga twice
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Nineteen caps for Les Bleus no myth
Danced on dictator Franco’s deck
Bel-Abbès and a stadium named
For Haj Abdelkader Larbi Ben M’barek
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© emdad rahman
One of africa’s greatest imports – It seems Haj Abdelkader Larbi Ben M’barek has been airbrushed from football history.
What a player and what history!
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Welcome to Football Poets -- a club for all football poets, lovers of football and lovers of (alternative) poetry. Discover poets in every league from respected internationals at the top of their game to young hopefuls in the school playground.
Publish your football poems here and then discuss them with your team mates and fans. We're archived by The British Library, so your masterpieces are in the safe hands of a world-class keeper. What a result!
9th April 2017 at 9:21 pm
Hi Graham – I’m really pleased to see that you’re annotating your poems verse-by-verse. Did you know you can also highlight a bit of text in a verse and comment on that? Hover over this comment to see what I highlighted.
See in context
9th April 2017 at 9:10 pm
Not forgetting folk hero Robin Friday who started a now commonplace trend by kissing a policeman after scoring against Rochdale in 1975
“The policeman looked so cold and fed up standing there that I decided to cheer him up a bit,” he explained.
7th April 2017 at 1:29 pm
Yes. We played footy in the street, and Peter Lorimer (not me) broke the window-pane at number twenty-eight. Kenneth Wolstenholme was particularly impressed, and Leeds meet Chelsea in the semi-final.
6th April 2017 at 12:03 pm
Great imagery Alex…
Playing in the street….grumpy neighbours..I go back to my old fifties Wharfdale Street , just off the Ifield Road sometimes Alex.
It’s barely a bright tennis ball’s throw from Stamford Bridge.We’d play for hours across that little street , stopping only for Remo’s ice cream van. So few car back then. I remember mad scores like 53-41 .
We’d often play til it was so dark, we couldn’t see that little yellow ball anymore sometimes..
The marking on the old brick wall in streets now lined with cars 24 x 7 are faint… but still there.
4th April 2017 at 3:10 pm
A touching tribute to a quaint old ground, with its compact pitch and small white gable.
3rd April 2017 at 2:13 pm
Many thanks Graham pleased you enjoyed it.Had a great day yesterday at Wembley as we beat Oxford in Checkatrade Trophy Final.Okay not the biggest competition in football,but for us it is better than nowt.I was there in 87 when we won the FACup so to go back 30 years later was special.We’re going down with a smile on our long suffering faces !
31st March 2017 at 5:49 pm
31st March 2017 at 10:46 am
Brilliant Graham , please feel free to do a cartwheel on my behalf.
30th March 2017 at 1:45 pm
The poetry of adversity. Flowers watered by our tears. Thanks for a great poem Kevin.
30th March 2017 at 1:41 pm
A wonderful poem. Profound and heartfelt.