Oi Ref, Change Goalie? For Uncle Steve R.I.P.

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Winning was easy
Or so we all thought
Til the day winning ceased
And our pipedreams were torched.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 The nuns at the convent decided
St Vincents (us) should have a school team
So desparate were we to be in the side
Being picked inspired bouts of day dreaming.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 A real coach to the match was some break for us brats
From the football-less stuck back in class
It turned out the sisters had asked God to act
For some guidance for us out on the (ash) grass.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Three nil, five nil, full of it
We were coasting along without fear
Til one Saturday morn on a pink cinders pitch
We crashed down to earth – (ash) on our ears.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Every shot fired seemed to fly in
They angrily aimed at our goal
In desperation I prayed to me idol Lev Yashin
“Oi Lev, please get me out of this hole?”

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 The shots that I stopped were plain lucky
In truth they just hit me and hard
Yet me shattered young mates thought me plucky,
As the other side tore us apart.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Bordering on tears, aching, in fear
That something might break from a shot
I looked to me mates for applause or a cheer
Whilst praying the slaughter would stop.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 Injuries sullenly came out of nowhere
As cute team-mates decided enough
There woz “Sir can I go to the bog over there?”
Or “Please sir I’m in pain take me off”

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Uncle Steve, shoulders back, came toward me
Saw I was beat, near to tears and in pain
“Ere Kev give me that jumper, Oi ref it’s change goalie”
I played out-field for the rest of the game.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 The goal feast ceased as the other side retreated
Sure and weren’t fourteen-nought, enough goals?
And the lesson our fate had taught me that day:
In defeat, Uncle Steve was me hero!



Dedicated in Loving Memory to my recently departed uncle, team-mate and hero Steve Hayes.

Good Night Uncle Steve, and May Your God Go With You.

The above poem takes place on the painful pink cinders of London’s Clapham Common, circa 1962.

Our convent school has it’s first ever football team and after the first two games had resulted in easy victories, we we’re the bees knee’s.

Mornings at assembly after we had won those first two games, and our names were read out in front of the whole school by one of the sisters, we felt like Gods.

Until this Saturday morning, when the wheels come off of the pram… big time, as that season’s eventual champions bash us up without any mercy.

If me late Uncle Steve, who was a month older than me and was in the team, hadn’t been there and asked the ref to let him go in goal and take over from me. I don’t know what I would have done, coz the rest of the team sure as hell wern’t going to volunteer to go in goal, and risk their tender young lives and limbs as cannon fodder were they? The crafty sods!

A wonderful, albeit now painful poignant memory about growing up.



Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/oi-ref-change-goalie-for-uncle-steve-r-i-p/