It all starts on a red hot day in August and
ends on a warm one in early May.
Perfect symmetry, you might say
But the inbetween will be cold and wet and
the wind is awfully grim in the north west
on an early December afternoon.
Be it Burnley or Blackpool; Blackburn or Bolton.
Down the leagues the weather seems even less merry
at Morecambe and Bury
and Accrington Stanley. “Who are they?”
asks the little boy with milk round his mouth.
He wears his red shirt with passion and it
has a name and number on the back.
It’s his hero, like.
Dreams of the winning strike
clutter his mind all week.
Oh, that glorious moment
in glorious, vivid technicolour
when the white leather ball
hits the back of the net, and you forget
that you’re absolutely soaking wet.
Cos this is what we’ve been waiting for.
This is what it’s all about.
There’s no escape
for the poor flapping goalie who’s covered in mud.
The goal’s come at a great cost;
one nil down and clean sheet bonus lost.
The kitman can’t bear to look for
they’re caked up in sludge.
Like layers of chocolate
all thick and rich;
a hedonist’s dream.
But there’s no pleasure for this beaten team
who collect their thoughts
as they walk, heads down,
back to the halfway line.
There’s barely time to kick off;
As that ruddy goal against came right at the death.
The fourth minute of stoppage time, no less.
Oh, the heartbreak.
It all feels so empty now.
A vacuum of hurt in space hope once filled.
Oi, come on ref,
You’ve got it so wrong
You said just three minutes but kept going on
Come on lino, it was offside!
Stop the game, for we need that
vital point away from home
that we were clinging to
for our cause.
The flag never comes, of course.
So we head towards the
exit and back to the car.
and our hats, gloves and scarves
no longer shield us from the cold.
We can’t be consoled
for a little while at least.
But it will pass and we’ll
be back in the real world again.
At the minute, though, we
are left feeling low.
There’s nothing to show
for our efforts and the M6 won’t move
for an hour or two
We’re in a mood and
we speak only when spoken to.
It’s just me and you
and we put the world to rights.
We ignore our phones
and we’d kick the cat when we get back
but she knows the score and
is nowhere to be seen.
We’re left to wonder what might have been.
Football, you see,
is our religion and a
microcosm of life to boot.
You can’t appreciate the highs
without the lows.
It’s just the way it goes.
We go through the agony and despair
because it makes the ecstasy better.
We always believe.
Cos at the end of the day,
when all said and done
Whether the battle has been lost or won
it’s the belief that keeps us going
along with the knowledge that we only go through it
because it means something to us both.
We realise it doesn’t really matter
whether our team win or lose;
If we’re top of the world or singing the blues
As it’s just a scramble for points
in league tables that get
lost on the shelf of life.
So we should treat both impostors
just the same.
It is only a game,
as our friends will say.
And they’re right,
whether we care to admit it or not.
So if you don’t gloat
when you are winning
and laugh away that dreadful loss
And start again at your beginnings
And never speak another word
of that dross
If you can go through it all again
this time next week,
more Saturday fun
then yours is the game and everything that goes with it
And what is more…
You’ll be a fan, my son.