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Not Promoted To Glory

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 For our last game
I got up in the cold light of the South Midlands
Well insulated from reality
And made the long pilgrimage to Deepdale.
Walking through the town that late morning
I encountered my life again (or parts of it)
The Station, where holidays began
Lune Street Methodist (now locked) where Mum served tea
And my old school on Moor Park
Beside the football ground.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Seventeen thousand strong we were that day
On the four raked stands
All of us hoarse with joy
Hailing Joe Garner
Who scored three times.
And as the Swindon fans melted away
The Shankly Kop turned blue
And Bill’s craggy face appeared,
“Some people think football’s about life and death…”
He said, then paused for effect (we know the rest).

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 But here at this season’s end it seems he’s right
Life or death; like a painting of heaven and hell
Teams rising and falling like medieval souls:
Yeovil beyond redemption,
Colchester narrowly avoiding the flames,
Bristol City basking in bliss
And some, like Preston,
cheated of their hope of glorious promotion,
consigned to the play-offs …. again
(Is this life-in-death or death-in-life?)
I am writing this after the pain of last Sunday
Our last (we hoped) game.

Footnote 1:
What Bill Shankly said, of course, was
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very
disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Footnote 2
I travelled by car and train from Oxfordshire up to Deepdale to watch Preston beat Swindon 3-0. Lune Street Methodist is the church my mother attended. Moor Park is the location of my old school and Deepdale football ground. Away fans normally occupy the Shankly Spion Kop, which has an image of Bill Shankly on the blue seats.
The following Sunday Preston lost their chance of automatic promotion and must now take part in the play-offs.

Editor Note: Apologies for this poem appearing a week or so late, it got lost in the ether as they say.

Commiserations too to the unsuccessful play-off contenders so far. To Chesterfield and also to Sheffield United, who drew a thrilling 5-5 match last night to set up an intriguing Preston v Swindon Play Off Final at Wembley!

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/not-promoted-to-glory/