In summer, a fan keeps you warm
A match, lights your barbecue
The ground is where you plant vegetables
The spot, is on your face, it grew
The ball, requires a DJ
A net, to protect soft fruit
Summer Saturdays carefree and long
Scented by sun cream and the great smell of Brut
First day of the season, we’re buzzing
Treading water is over, football lifting our mood
We’re back at the game, back with our crowd
The pies are baked, the beer is brewed
Laced up tight like a corset
And kicked, from Devon to Dorset
When can no longer be fully pumped
To be or not to be
for those sharing
A Hard Day’s Night
So why on earth
should I moan as
there is Wednesday football alone
I went searching for the soul of Forest Green,
Wandering intuitively, ad hoc
Inferentially, without any
A priori knowledge or insight:
It was a tabula rasa wander.
Northfields Road smacked of enclosed fields
(‘Its only bondage was the circling sky’),
And Eighteenth century food riots,
With Captain Swing riding over in Horsley,
While dark satanic mills in the valleys
Stood where weavers once combined for justice.
I crossed the threshold of a century,
Past chapel, school, and blacksmith’s workshop,
Through labyrinths of handloom weavers’ paths,
Along a valley far below the flood threat
Of countless springs and teeming brooks and streams,
Along The Rollers, Chestnut Hill, Star Hill,
And so to the Jovial Foresters,
Where the players used to change for the match,
(Victorian post box in its roadside wall),
Past a blue plaque to Private Charles Marmont,
Died of wounds 21st May 1918,
Buried Forest Green Chapel Graveyard,
And so to where Joseph Weight used to work
(A Nailsworth Conscientious Objector),
Before he faced the tribunal’s judgement
On whether he really had a conscience.
And this is how I found the soul of Nailsworth –
In Newmarket, Shortwood, Horsley, Forest Green,
Wandering up and down through space and time –
And even though this felt a world away
From Stroud, let alone a new stadium
By the motorway at Eastington,
We can magnify small differences:
My DNA takes me back to Bronze Age migrations,
From the western fringes of India,
Thence to Anglo-Saxon invasions
Of what we now call England.
We’re all migrants, aren’t we?
It doesn’t have to be a vampiric
Trope of metempsychosis:
Soul might be in the imagination,
Not a landscape or topography.
We’re all migrants, aren’t we?
A plot of land that served them well.
But now LFC have decided to sell.
A training ground for many a year.
But an Academy move now is near.
The Melwood walls got a lot higher.
With added twists of barbed wire.
With holes filled in, kept eyes away.
Innocent photographers kept at bay.
No sitting on walls, or on Dads back.
To get a glimpse of defence or attack.
Now prison like security, no real need.
Just ‘them and us’ another dirty deed.
And when the reds are Kirby bound.
What’ll become of this old ground?
Donate it to the locals, an LFC treat!
For once let money take a back seat.
Give the kids a park, a football theme.
But that idea was just my pipe dream.
As the club aren’t short of a bob or two.
But they sold the land for houses new.
Arsenal first Friday, always start well
New signings too, will give Leicester hell
Arsenal easy, next,
Liverpool in the early game, a win at a canter
Watford offer up more presents than Santa
Arsenal easy, Liverpool a canter, next,
Chelsea at the Bridge a cert to crush Burnley
Untouchable last season, this is money for free
Arsenal easy, Liverpool a canter, Chelsea a cert, next,
Man City away win, there’s simply no reason
Why Brighton won’t be relegation fodder this season
Arsenal easy, Liverpool a canter, Chelsea a cert, Man City away, next,
Spurs to cane Newcastle, big gap in class
Don’t think the magpies Premiership stay will last
Arsenal easy, Liverpool a canter, Chelsea a cert, Man City away, Spurs pure class, last,
Man United on fire, all glitz and glamour
Scoring for fun, gonna stuff the hammers
Arsenal easy, Liverpool a canter, Chelsea a cert, Man City away, Spurs pure class, United on fire,
Fifty quid on a six-fold, what could possibly go wrong
Arsenal Nil Leicester 1
Watching the gulls all swooping around
Brought back the memories of some very strange words
That made us all think
Trying to find the real meaning
And connecting the link
To the sardines and trawler
That just kept on steaming
What was he thinking, was he just dreaming
When he uttered those words that flew round the world
Like the gulls and the fish and the boats in the water
Inviting responses from every quarter.
Cantona at his best with a hint of a smile
Just looked on from a distance
As the trawler kept trawling
Mile after mile after mile.
Ianthe Exall July 2017.
The Prodigal Son he upped and left
For many a long, long year.
Leaving a void that could not be filled
Except by a flood of tears.
Maybe once every Season the Son came back,
But not in a shirt of blue.
No, the jersey he wore on his back such times
Was more of a reddish hue.
Now the Prodigal Son is returning,
And we’re asked to forgive and forget.
Well, we may, in the fullness of time,
But aren’t ready to do so yet.
It is he who must first come up with the goods,
Give his all, heart and soul, and sweat blood,
Prove he’s a Blue, a true Blue through and through,
Who’s not simply come back for a laugh.
Then, only then, we just might turn our thoughts
To slaught’ring a fatted calf.
Denys E. W. Jones
First, you need a pen. But in order to get one
you’ll have to go down in the box
that you keep them in.
Next, you’ll need paper.
Not the back of that fag packet
that you scribbled next Saturday’s team on, no―
throw it away! In fact, throw away all those mucky
scraps you scrawl on, but keep a clean sheet
in front of you.
Next you need to get practical, get tactical
and sort out your formation –
Put yourself in goal so you can save all your drafts.
You’ll need a defensive quatrain,
a midfield triolet,
a couplet of wide-men
and someone with iambic feet up front.
To fill up your poem you’ll need to attract―
-a kid to sit on a stanchion and tap out
a rhythm for your scansion,
-a bloke with a Coke, a guy with a pie
and a girl to twirl a football rattle
(if she’s poetic herself that’s half the battle)
-a quatraining sessions
in front of the new stanza
and don’t forget to sort your feet out.
If you see a white feather floating by.
Coming from nowhere out of the sky.
Down from Heaven a feather to drift.
An Angel is near by, a loved ones gift.
Into the face of a child a feather blew.
Down from above, from an Angel new.
A sign to show he will always be there.
A sign from Bradley he’s in Gods care.
As tributes adorn the Stadium of Light.
Bradley sent comfort in a feather white.
It flew in front of cousins Jorja’s face.
A gesture from Heaven, a definite case.