The past is another country we visit
every Monday evening on an artificial
surface, where all time is extra time
and those sixpences we turned on are victims
of inflation, physical contact frowned
upon and every tackle late.
I gave up playing proper football at nineteen
years of age, to concentrate on drink and drugs.
Now sixty-five I retire to the pub
for a post-match lager and lads’ banter,
before squirting cannabis oil sub-lingua.
Football has finally come back home.
The line-ups are decided by a secret
algorithm known to only Dave and Colin,
which takes account of ball skill, age, weight, fitness
and the amount of ale consumed last weekend.
We are a pack of Peter Pans, Lost Boys
battling against the clock and the dreaded Hook.
The goals are narrower, the pitch is wider,
the ball travels quicker than back in the day;
injuries take so much longer to recover.
The first time I was penalised for running
was a source of inner pride and stupefaction,
as surprising as an unassisted hard-on.
How blessed we are to inhabit this era
of Walking Football, Mobility Scooters
and Viagra. In the bar, Graham remarks,
he never dreamt he’d still be kicking
a ball at his age. It’s cruel to point out
that Graham misses more often than he connects,
but, of course, somebody always does.
Peeling spuds, washing glasses
Using knives n forks, serviettes and plates
With us…t’was greasy mitts in a chicken box,
Blue shirt proclaiming; “Gian-Franco Zola. God!”
Quaffing Stella by a mega aqueous telly with his mates.
Then this right blinding sort moved in
Inspired an immediate change in him
Why… he even pressed the whistle worn for work?
Away games and the mighty craic?
She put a bleeding stop to all o’ that
Perspiring down the gym, most Saturdays with her.
We caught a whiff things weren’t right
When instead of poker Friday nights
He’d be home indoors preparing her risotto
Risotto? That’s like a glutinous boiled rice?
Reminded us, of an absolutely blinding night
Shared, a Munich classic (a ruby) under Di Matteo.
Things went from bad to ten times worse
Heard he visited Father Hadfields (local church)
Talking to a priest about getting hitched
Even went round to meet her folks
A rumour spread was he’d proposed
Made us hastily check that seasons fixture list.
Then…the nuptials front went quite
Turned up at poker, one Friday night
Asking us enthused about the team?
“Read the papers, don’t yer mate?”,
“Nah, haven’t done of late
Mind on parquet flooring it would seem?
I’m glad to say that’s all over now
When are we away to Ipswich Town?”,
He asked with a cheeky smile, pondering each card
Well. What a Friday night we had that day
Seemed like he’d never been away
Welcomed back with open arms, we partied hard.
Anyways, a week or two goes by
Instead of sleeping dogs being left to lie
We asked (as nosy gits) what caused the split?
Well. His boat turned a vivid crimson red
Had a bit of trouble catching breath
Then with utter vitriol spat it out, and this it….
“She was gorgeous, really cute
Even showed me how to press me suit
Problem came, I asked her dad could I wed his daughter?
Said I could, on a condition bordering on bleeding farce
Expected me over The Emptiness, cheering on The Esra*
Told him. Ain’t jumping ship, for no team from, “over the water?”.
Which called for a magnum o’ chilled shampoo
To the clinking o’ crystal flutes we knew
Our mate had obviously settled his relationship conundrum
See. A fella might Love a beautiful sort whom he adores…
Tis mere dalliance, a paramour to his l’amour since days o’ yore
Whom resides along The Fulham Road, in South West London.
Peace…in Eastern Europe, and The Middle East.
Home to Woking, here awoken were the City boys;
and, thus awakened, broken was grim storyline
that, with glowering shadow thereto threatened;
token of our doubtful minds.
Yet, so doubting, could hopeful hearts in expectation truly differ
for next outing, memory still fresh with how next foe made suffer,
just one season past?
Thirty Hoops would travel thence, there to face their Fleet amassed.
Thirty Hoops would travel there, witness to a Fleet aghast,
as Kpekawa showed his power, just five minutes on the clock,
and then McEachran, City’s weapon, dealt the Fleet a second shock;
another one from Sanderson, in second half set well alight
and then McQueen, a waking dream; and so the Hoops ran out of sight..
Two wins; does this a run though make? It’s good to hear this type of talk!
Perhaps one just begun, I’ll make
my mind up Tuesday night, in York.
Carefree…we’ve finally elected our M.P.
But will he turn out be…the absolute db’s?
Could be eventually. Though…looks to me
Like we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
If, or when we get relegated with Man City
After what we’ve seen go down at Everton F.C.
Likelihood o’ that, looks more than a possibility.
Listening to Power Corruption and Lies on my P.C
The idea that this could be…a slice o’reality came to me.
Peace…in Eastern Europe, and The Middle East.
You’ve taken ten points off us,
But we are not dismayed.
There’s plenty more still up for grabs,
Loads matches to be played.
Of ten points you have stripped us,
But we’re not mice, we’re men.
So we’ll just roll our sleeves up,
And win them back again.
You’ve really raised our hackles,
We feel like we’re at war.
So week by week and match by match
Those points back we shall claw.
We’ll fight them on the beaches,
Revive the Dunkirk Spirit.
Because this heavy sanction,
We surely do not merit.
We’re circling our wagons,
Our backs are to the wall.
We do not seek a quick fix,
We’re in for the long haul.
Our flag is not at half-mast,
It flutters high and proud.
For we are not downhearted,
We’re bloodied but unbowed.
You want to relegate us,
But we shall not surrender.
Our heads are above water,
We are not going under.
We’ll fight for every loose ball,
We’ll chase every lost cause.
We’ll keep it tight and nick one,
We shall not let you score.
Our Home Ground is a fortress,
Away we’ve strong support.
So up and down the country,
You’ll hear the Toffee roar!
We’ve no friends in high places,
No saints in Paradise.
It seems nobody likes us,
Cos we’re not very nice.
But we’re a Band of Brothers,
We are a Happy Few.
If we all stick together,
These dark times we’ll get through.
And when this Season’s over,
We’ll still be there, no fear.
We’ll not be in the Drop Zone,
Nay, we’ll be ten points clear!
Denys E. W. Jones
Oh spare a thought
For poor old Gibraltar
There must have been
Something in the water
Annihilated by the French
It must have been a gruesome
When the French gave
Fulsome flair and
French chalk up 14
Against the Gibraltar rock
When time seemed to be out
Of their chronological clock
Oh woe for the sad and woebegone
Gibraltar, we do feel sorry
For you and your families
Kith and kin
It wasn’t a sin
But last night we discovered
The game’s brief flirtation
With cruelty and sympathy
We knew that the French
Had too much nous, elan
And street wisdom
But 14 goals against
A team still finding its feet
In the baptismal font
Of youthful exuberance
Barely a spring chicken
The new boys on the block
Still chewing on the Farley’s
Rusk, a babe in arms
It just seems so heartless
Correct bon mots
For all to admire
Kylian M’Bappe the wonder
Kid with star studded feet
Diamonds in boots of iron
A hat-trick in shades of blue
France in no mood for leniency
Charity belongs in some
Hidden corner of the Palace
Goals by the pantechnicon
Load them up Kylian
Onion bags bulging with
Record breaking goals
So ridiculously one sided
That the towel of surrender
Must have been flung onto the
Green acres of fertile
After a quarter of an hour
No shame though
Since France are
Well established World Cup
Euro crowns to boot
But this was manslaughter
On the most criminal scale
A cataclysmic avalanche
That wiped out the Rock
But it was just football
Just a game once
graced by the French
Monarchy of Platini
All silks, satins
And rich, opulent fabrics
Giresse, commander in chief
Of stunning edifices
French palaces gold and glass
Six, jinky, quicksilver, light
On his feet,
Then the archives told us
About the masterful Just Fontaine
Goals served up in huge
Silver platters, glinting
In gilt mirrors
The smoothest operator
Then more latterly
Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira,
Didier Deschamps directing,
Guiding, pointing, comforting,
A player of the most upper class
What chance did Gibraltar
Stand? None whatsoever
Football was inherited
From ages ago
France, too much
Pomp and ceremony
Football in their plasma,
Their adrenal glands
Blood throbbing through
In minds, thoughts
And emotional brew
Football far too
Advanced for Gibraltar
So 14 goals for France
But the truth
It’s easy to mock,
marvellous to laugh and sing,
are right back in the mire again.
May be Jordan Pickford
should play for the Blades,
A better sanction
than ten points taken away.
Or share them out
with the newly promoted three.
Make Everton pay for football’s
high crime of dodgy accountancy.
Now get the Popcorn out,
ready for the real laugh out loud,
the one that will send
a big fish to National League South.
Medals, pots, and pans will be thrown
in the bottomless dustbin of history,
and financial misdemeanours
will no longer bank roll shiny cup glory.
Or Everton remain the one answer
to the football quiz question set to persist,
while the elite get a measly fine,
a stern warning, and a slap across the wrist.
We watched the paint dry
Dripping with coats
Of emulsion creamy
As insipid white
Awful as the
And to think
That over 80,000 paid
For the privilege
More of an outright imposition
If truth be told
Having teeth pulled
Agony disguised as
The penultimate Euro
England and Malta
Please never again
Horrible as sour milk
Or hard bread
The worst of all offerings
We’d much prefer
An antiquated BBC
Test card from
The dentist waiting room
And the girl smiling
At the most hilarious
Game of noughts and crosses
With the green puppet
Who much preferred a game
Of chess, far simpler
Or maybe not
Football needed a cut off
Point last night
A marked line in the sand
England through to the Euros
In Germany next summer
The Maltese Falcon
Surplus to requirements
No more recollections
Of Dom Mintoff
From many generations ago
It felt like a leisurely
Five a side kickabout
Against a backdrop
Of imposing council estate
Flats or next to the recycling
Plants next door to
Wearing the white of
England but seeing red
Only 2-0 to England
How totally unsatisfactory
In Germany certainly
What the doctor might
Just not good enough
As Dion Dublin among
The cloisters and colleges
And mighty Manchester United
Told us last night
It almost felt as if
England were playing
In permanent first gear
Without ever releasing
Or just under the influence
Of far too many sleeping pills
Completely knocked out
Indulging in private, confidential
Huddles of neat, safe short passes
Why this veil of secrecy
This clandestine operation
Backwards, sideways and forwards
Only to regress, progress
And then a change of heart
Back to the original plan
Meaningless Wembley wanderings
In a torpid trance
Since when does football have to
Be this tentative exercise?
In 90 minutes of caution
And settling for small pickings
This was painfully slow
Slower than slow motion
Those joyous Match of the Day
Replays when John and Barry
Would analyse the game
In its finest detail
But they were purists of
And yet what on earth
Would they have made
Of last night’s
Will be rightly
Administered by Germany,
Italy almost certainly now
There were crabs rather than
Paper planes on the pitch
We may have seen
England almost drained
Haggard and weather beaten
And wishing they were in the
Land of foaming lagers
And amber nectar beers
Where Teutonic efficiency
Rules the roost
No stones left unturned
For what it matters
Pepe an own goal
1-0 to England
And one magical blur
Of one two passes
Before Citizen Kane
Passes the ball home
For the second goal
Harry boy of Bayern
Munich will hope for
Yet more German ironies
In the summer of the
Euros cavalcade of
Now here’s a warning
A repetition of last
Night may end
With dire consequences
A quick plane journey
Back to Blighty
No trophy, no show
And only memories
Of muddled tactics
Naivete and oh
England still a work
So much work to do
Drop o’ rare old mountain dew
Silver flask passed twixt a few
Helped keep howling cross field chills at bay
After mass, hastily assembled over The Scrubs,
Cheered on by muckers and close bloods
Deemed a proper pukka start to one’s Sunday.
These German students, so they say
Apparently primed for affray in their play
Intended inflicting hurt, right from the off,
Angry screams of, “Oi You! Referee!
Didn’t you see that quare fella kick me”,
Provoking fake angelic postures, or a scoff.
Visiting, The Smoke, on an indiscreet week-end
With her latest in highly questionable swarthy men
Dominic’s nan grimaced at every blow he took,
“Holy Mother of J.C, have ye no spectacles referee?
How come ye, and yer linesman didn’t see?
That big blond galoot, give the child a sly right hook?
I’ve a beady eye on you…Blondie
Any more of that, yee’ll be answering to me”,
Dominic’s nan warned fly Teutonic winger
Whom didn’t seem troubled in the least?
Sporting a smile, exposing glistening rows of teeth
Enhanced by that sign irks all nationalities…the finger.
Approaching respite of half time
Racing along a barely visible touch-line
Blonde Adonis seemed a certainty to score
That is till a sly kick in the shin,
By an old one, enjoying a week-end soiree of sin,
Put the kybosh on, like a deft left to the jaw.
Lying prone on the grass
A discreet kick to yon Germanic’s Khyber Pass
Drew banshee-like screams indicating proper pain
Helping the poor hurted blonde fella to his feet
Dominic’s nan gave his cheek a subtle nasty tweak
Smiling at his hobbling for remainder of the game.
Over plate’s a boiled bacon, spuds and cabbage
Later on that afternoon, after watching The Big Match
Dominic’s nan, proved her prowess as an able bar-room singer
Her choice in men, might have been a long way off au fait,
Who cares? Sure, tis not every day, your gran provokes affray
As yon German winger knows, after giving Dominic’s nan…the finger.
Peace… in Eastern Europe, and The Middle East.
In its raging money
Today Manchester City
Overwhelmed by millions
Of pounds raking in
Fortunes by the lorryload
Washing over the Etihad
In their bank balance
Simply a sin of
Loses its plot
The compass is now
At shame blame
Name of the game
Just off the radar
Spiralling out of control
Gurgling down the proverbial
Plug holes of
No longer considering
Those Post War fans
Who once paid a shilling
For entrance into
Football lands of paradise
When terraces heaved
With profusion of love
Football now severely
Damaged and traumatised
By Saudi carrots of corruption
Money by the million, billion
Strangled by self indulgence
Blinded by the
Cosmetic surgery of
The gravy train
Tunnel of extravagance
No longer the game
We cherished when we
When programmes were 10p
And entrance onto the South
Bank at the Boleyn Ground
Was breakfast if you were keen
But lunch and blissful burgers
Cuisine at its best
Yet despairing of football’s
The lust for luscious lucre
It has to be now or never
We must feed the cash cow
Seal the deal
Count the hundreds and thousands
By the minute, day, week, month
Football beyond reproach
Judge and jury
May sentence you one day
To a spell of self examination
Stop for a moment
Contemplating the bigger picture
Soul searching urgently
The pursuit of criminal
Wealth simply wrong
Offensive to the eye
But Manchester City
Feel free to enjoy
This freakish circus
You deserve it.