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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.
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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).
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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.