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Oh, Ronnie Whelan!

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Purposeful, McCarthy strode
Across the Hanoverian pitch,
Across the painted touchline, which
Pristine against the green turf showed.
And, as the Irish thousands bayed,
He clutched the ball between his hands
And turned his back upon the stands
And slowly o’er the ground surveyed.
The Russian players turned and faced
McCarthy, waiting for the throw,
Unaware where it would go,
Yet hoping it would be misplaced.
But like a spring, the Barnsley man
Uncoiled like a rattlesnake
And hurled the ball without mistake
Behind the waiting Irish van.
And thus did he the Reds confound
In thinking that the soaring throw
Towards their packed defence would go,
Instead of sideways ‘cross the ground
To where, unmarked, a player waited,
Midfield star of great renown,
Not only in his own home town
But mightily in Anfield feted.
Ronnie Whelan watched the ball
Come arcing down from up on high,
Watched with concentrated eye,
As slowly it began to fall.
And with a scissors kick sublime,
With both legs scything through the air,
He caught the ball with practised flair,
A moment captured for all time.
No matter that the football struck
Bould Ronnie fully on the shin,
For bravery oft helps begin
The acquisition of sheer luck.
And fired by shin, the ball did steer
With curving flight into the net.
The keeper, diving, could not get
A hand upon the spinning sphere.
It was a dish so sweetly served
By such an undisputed cook,
Adorned with just a slice of luck,
As Ireland’s prowess had deserved.

15

Notes

Probably the best goal of the Charlton era, the title is the exclamation roared by George Hamilton as the ball flew into the net

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/oh-ronnie-whelan/