Naive at the back

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Naïve at the back, Ron Atkinson labelled Cameroon in Italia 90
Attacking football without fear and letting defenders defend
Pragmatism or parking the bus ala Mourinho not in their DNA
Play the game the way it ought to be played
With speed, skill and exuberance but determined to outscore all opposition
No sitting back and boring the opponents into submission
Total football in the spirit of Real Madrid, Holland and Brazil of 1970

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Twenty four years later and the beautiful game has come to the beautiful people
The baton passed on from the Rainbow people of God
My excitement is bubbling and I am struggling to contain it
Nerves already shredded, even before a ball has been kicked
Oh the possibilities, joy unrestrained and cerebral pleasure
These are the days of hope and permutations of what could or may be
Win, lose or draw, in the end it does not matter

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Will Rooney be fit, Wilshire produce and Lallana become the star man
Can Sturridge earn his boot of gold or Sterling become the golden boy
Will Roy be coy or bold and unleash the talented youth
The clash of styles, formations and philosophies
Our hopes and dreams heaped on these over paid young men
Each player with a chance to realise a childhood dream
Every team seeking footballing immortality by lifting the Jules Rimet

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 For all my giddy expectations fanned by Curry’s rib tickling HD TV adverts
Commentators both professional and armchair will all hopelessly revert to cliches
Ingenuity, skills and artistry will always describe the South Americans
Organisations, formations and tactical nous will be the European claim
Endeavour, formation and relentless will describe the East Asians
Physicality, athleticism and power will be the lexicon for Africans
All this regardless of the ingenuity, style or system of team displays

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 “Naïve at the back” a throw way remark developed a life of its own
Has now become the de facto description of all teams from Africa
Yes, Big Ron who did so much for footballers of colour
Breaker of barriers, selector of Regis, Batson and Cunningham
With “The three degrees” your actions spoke louder than words
Did so much for race relations, destroyed irreparably by ill judged bravado
Yet Ron deserves to be lauded for his foresight and talent spotting

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 So I will appreciate the players, coaches and formations
Celebrate the clash of systems, skills and styles
Flair versus solid, precision versus creativity
Pragmatism versus the joie de vivre of all out attack
Laissez fair of versus percentages or death by the boring draw
But when I hear” Naive at the back,” I have only one retort
“Oh no Ron! It is just wonderful attacking football!”



FIFA World Cup 2014

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/naive-at-the-back/