With a middle name of Brynley, and good Welsh blood in my veins,
You’d really think that rugby would be up there in my games.
When I had a one-off chance to play, I thought I’d take a crack,
In the hands of Gavin Lewis, ex-Llandudno Running Back.
This Welsh relief games master quickly formed us in a ring;
He said, we’d have a game and run the ball, and do the ‘passing thing’.
Then suddenly his whistle blew, and I’m down for my first scrum;
And I thought it cool to form a wall, and crouch to push as one.
Then just as I bent low to ground, and braced in solid huddle,
A flash of pain – my lights went out – and brain spun in a fuddle.
Seems some ‘shite’ on the other side had swung from underneath,
And kicked me hard full in the face and loosened up some teeth.
Now, I’d found that I could take a dig when boxing as a lad,
But I’d pay it back with interest; I’d been taught well by my dad.
So sod the game where sneaks can get to hide amongst the bunch;
I would rather play a proper game and see who throws the punch.
But big guys have to play a game, if football’s not for them,
And I understand it fills a need – a sport for ‘mental men’.
I feel that rugby is a mug’s game and requires such little skill;
Come on, it’s charging round a football pitch with ball shaped like a pill.
It’s really just a ‘Satchel Dash’ – a playground bully’s game,
Where kicking touch’s considered skilled and running’s much the same.
So stick your game for gentlemen where your sons will never shine,
You can keep your ‘cauli ear-holes’; you’ve got yours and I’ve got mine.
These men make their slow journey on the path into the thickets
in their own manner, guided by a map that no other can read.
We can but glimpse the loneliness, the terror, the resignation
the cruel, creeping fog, blanketing the past, dulling recollection
Thoughts that should comfort and warm as slippers replace boots
lively minds that once crackled and sparked, invented and probed,
those who gave their bodies to build the foundations of the code,
now seek but cannot find reciprocity of support beyond those closest
Foot soldiers who drew the breath of crowds, now scattered to fate
these giants of men slowly turning inside, as the game turns away
in the callousness of indifference, its own ironic unwillingness to recall,
to recognise where they are now is because of who they were then
did u c
torn to shreds
by wily heads
in Barca threads
And did we see a changing of the guard?
For ‘twas not Messi
as dribbling bard
as nuanced Nova
who drove them hard
it’s what we football fans call
and the poor Parisiennes…
Beginning is the only thing,
The only thing I know
about the Barcelona come back
begins at the end
It is the beginning of the event
The first and only knowledge
The first and last thing
So, what I know about the Barcelona
come back begins at the end
And stands as the only thing
I know about the match
The player who scores the 6th goal
has the number 20 shirt
The 20th was the date of my
father’s passing 30 years ago
A memorial goal in my own mind
Even the goals have been coming
I only stop the time with
the 6th goal
The number 20 on his shirt
is seen when he makes
his celebration run to make it
Barcelona 6 PSG 1
Now cast your mind back when a kid – playing footy in the park,
we played each night with coats for posts – until it got quite dark.
And 14:12 might be the score – or the first ones up to 10.
A game so free, we’d score for fun – and without the skills of men.
Yet, now we watch the greatest league – and marvel when the grand,
run fifty yards and beat three men – then punt it in the stand.
And wingers in that final third – you’d think they’d find the target,
instead they cross it long and wide – or fire it off to Margate.
Now, to all you football lovers – I’ve got news you’ll want to hear,
I’ve discovered something special – and you all owe me a beer.
As while working on a poem – that explored the modern game,
found I struggled with directives – that just wouldn’t fit the frame!
The more I tried the worse it got – and the further that I fell,
and t’was then at last it hit me – I’d encountered with a spell.
As both consist of rhyming lines – was why I found a hitch,
thus confirming my conclusion – The involvements of a Witch!
Now Witches, they are useful folk – but history’s made them tough,
and being used to spoil our game – is really quite enough.
Seems off they went and cast their spells – to halt the coach’s words,
For unless in rhyme, they can’t converse – about “The Final Thirds.”
Now cast your mind back not too far – at Rooney’s sudden fall,
and when Torres moved to Chelsea – and his skills went up the wall.
It so makes sense that they were cursed – explaining why they failed,
and I’m so pleased I sussed the cause – the reason finally nailed.
So now a passing game is all we have – the stats have now detected,
as it’s only in the first two thirds – that play’s not been affected.
It robs them of the nerve they need – to cross that last third line,
and hence they pass from side to side – and backwards all the time.
And this keepers urge to dribble – to show forwards what to do,
thus displaying why they’re keepers – and not playing number two.
Then finally a break is on – a clearance finds a hole.
It’s missed, it’s muffed and always fluffed – my Nan could hit the goal.
So that’s why players “cross” themselves – in case their spell gets cast.
And crowd songs are called “chanting” – with effects that can be vast.
And why footballers will tell you – they don’t listen to the crowd,
that’s unless their name is mentioned – as their spell is spun out loud.
Then there’s spells to stop us questioning – about, if a spells been set,
linked with others cast to steer us off – the closer that we get.
And with all this, there hides a key – that locks them till their time,
or the loop hole thus encountered – when this poet wrote his rhyme.
Gunners are shot down.
Five goal salvo sink Arsenal.
Arsene about to stop.
Sweet Thames run swiftly, till I end my song
Our golden day has all gone wrong
Now each supporter wears a frown
Not long to play, and we’re three-one down
We sense defeat, we fear a rout
Our play-off hopes are up the spout
The clouds are gathering round the sun
Sweet Thames flow swiftly, for our hope is gone
I turn my head to watch the river
Where poplars bend and aspens quiver
Two boat crews battle against the tide
Towards the home of London Pride
The Cottage balcony looks grand
Eyeing Archibald Leitch’s stand
Our fans slip out, before it rains
And creep past the statue of Johnny Haynes
Three-one it is, the whistle blows
A tear drips down a small boy’s nose
Paradise postponed – how long, how long?
Sweet Thames run swiftly, till I end my song
Tyrone stamps it out.
Mings is given the elbow.
Then football breaks out.
Back when William claimed our world’s just a stage
And we are merely players one and all
Was he inspired with quill upon the page
Or horrified and shocked by this football?
Did our great Bard endure and watch them play
That rough and tumble long ‘ere rules began
From his window on any given day
In muddy streets with bladder spheres to hand
Did his namesake see how oft seasons arch
Or expect that he’d be coach instead
Did Claudio beware the Ides of March
Did some backstage cry out ‘Off with his head’?
Can Craig dismiss this dark and barren spell
So we can all say all’s well that ends well ?
Crujff of Goodison
It can be only him
To be or not to be means
To know who he was
Golden Vision to shake
Alex Young RIP