Now & Then.

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Rose tinted glasses conceal the plain facts
Our present idols are not what they seem.
Compared to halcyon past where we watched from the track
When real icons sliced Hovis for tea.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Wandering streets in a daydream
A brylcreemed Adonis in mind
Brown ball at his feet, a la Coltrane, supreme
Could have walk on The Thames if he tried.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 In the bombsites the Luftwaffe left with us
We daubed hero’s names on scarred walls.
One brave goalie one night, caught a pained solar plexus
For insisting “Bert Trautmann” be called.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Gil Merrick, Frank Swift me late father would tell me
Were wonderful custodians of the net?
Yet it’s Trautmann made history, as the bravest of goalies
For keeping goal, with an unknown broken neck.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Me immigrant father would travel round London
A fan, with allegiance to no-one
Sampling the banquet our game had to offer
Picking and choosing at random.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 When I went with me mates games were awesome
We’d a new world of discovery, set free
Till the first taste of real hate blew me right out of the water
Showered on Don Revie’s Leeds.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 The rattles and scarves of a match-day
Bovril and peanuts we loved
Gob stoppers in jars, we’d buy on the way
Before bunking our fare on the bus.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 Carpets of hats reaching up to the sky
The ever-present jibes at most games
A few of the chaps well known for being fly
Regularly gibbed in without paying.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Pea soupers and downpours could never deter us
When the singing inspired our young souls
Twenty minutes ago we were bunking the bus
Now… stood in the rain, we were belting it out like Caruso.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 To the clacking of rattles the two teams ran out
Smoke wafted up toward the sky
Those of us packed in like cattle were never in doubt:
“It was all out for the win or die trying”.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Medicine like footballs, almost weighing a ton
Baggy shorts that reached down to the knee
As I vaguely recall Matthews and an on fire Mortensen
Turning a grainy game round at Wembley?

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 “We’re playing too many matches, my players are tired”
We’re paying salaries that could fund a small state
Well here’s one fan remembers: the real stars in our eyes,
And Mary Hopkin sang ”Those Were The Days!”


A bit of poignant harping back to the past here, but actually it’s a thinly disguised pop at both the sensitive young things on the field of play, as well as the pampered sat in the seats of today, agin the battle weary players and the hardy but much abused fans from yester-year.

I can’t imagine anyone saying “I don’t really fancy it out there today, as the feng shu of the dressing room ain’t quite in kilter with the mood of the home fans, where’s the sports psychologist?” to the likes of: Big Norm, Dave McKay, Johnny Giles, Crazy Horse, Tommy Smith, Billy Bremner, Peter Storey, Mike Doyle (R.I.P) The Doog, etc, etc. Can you.

I like, alongside many others like me have stood stuck out in it (the rain) and all sorts at: B’burn, Walsall, Barnsley, Colchester, B’ham, Wolves, Grimsby, Coventry, long before stadia in this country, are what they are now, on the now in-famous wet Wednesday night that everybody seems brazen enough to talk about but few have experienced.

I’m laying odds that five or six weeks in to the new season, a tongue in cheek manager, somewhere will say: “The boys are really tired, we’re playing far too many games!”. It’s been said before that’s why I’m half expecting it to be said again, and saying it here now.

Go well and be lucky.




Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/now-then/