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On looking into Puskas’ autobiography

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 I don’t write about daffodils or larks ascending
Only football … or trains
With no rhyme at the ending
So here is the fruit of my pains
About trains.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 It was a three-quarters empty local, one day
That took me to Hungerford where an old junkshop
Half-way up the High Street, beckoned.
Eschewing decanters, horse-brasses, and genteel bric-a -brac
I finally struck gold in the “old books” section
In an alcove entitled “football”
There, tidily shelved, were the men from the fifties
Jimmy McIlroy, Danny Blanchflower, Johnny Haynes
Each one Brylcreemed and winsome
And beyond the open rows, the real collectors’ item
A two shilling illustrated Panther
Entitled “Captain of Hungary” by Ferenc Puskas.
A feast of classic black-and-white prints
Of that famous match when they won six-three.
“We stayed at the Cumberland Hotel” said he
“With a lovely view over Hyde Park, smart and gay
The match was played at Wembley next day ”
I glance to see when it was published.
And see “spring nineteen fifty six.”

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 A lost age of innocence before things fall apart
Flight to Real Madrid and the opulent west
An improbable appearance in the Chile World Cup
In the colours of Spain
Then the long descent
Through exile and oblivion
Into impoverished obscurity
The football world, searching for the galloping major
Found only private despair
And later, death.
But the best still lives on
Captured in his book
This book which I hold between my hands
Here and in England
Ferenc Puskas, Captain of Hungary
I can salute you.

Footnotes:
1956 = The Hungarian Uprising which was brutally suppressed. Kocsis, Czibor, and Puskas all fled to Spain.
Ferenc Puskas was included in the 1962 Spanish World Cup squad, along with Alfredo di Stefano, who was also not born in Spain.
Puskas fell upon hard times prior to his death. Former colleagues tried to club together to help him.
Panther was a publisher of cheap paperback sports books.
Graham

Editor Note: Ferenc Puskas RIP (April 1 1927-Nov 17 2006)

Ferenc Puskás was a Hungarian footballer and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary,[3] and 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues.[3] He became Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup where he was named the tournament’s best player. He won three European Cups (1959, 1960, 1966), 10 national championships (5 Hungarian & 5 Spanish Primera División) and 8 top individual scoring honours.(source Wikepedia)

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/on-looking-into-puskas-autobiography/