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Clouds across a steel sky; the sun streaks through
Apologetically as we trot out, for eleven o’clock.
Keeper patrols his line, his territory – kicks each
Post in turn, jumps up to head the crossbar; ‘Thou
Shall Not Pass’ his commandment. Skipper claps his
Hands to show he means business, or to stay warm.
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Names shouted, cries of encouragement – and then
We’re off…another pasting maybe, or perhaps this
Is the day we break all records. Crunching tackles
The norm; finesse is at a premium, or non-existent.
Distracted by the game next door, same plodding
Moves – just res v blues, rather than whites v greens.
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The backdrop is warehouses, old factories, pylon
Wires overhead. A stray dog chases the ball, then
Gets bored and runs off; it stays goalless. Half time
Arrives, nets intact. Skipper is not happy and barks
Out four letter instructions – ‘foul’ and ‘kick’ amongst
Them; we grab a cuppa, switch ends and it’s raining.
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Greens are on top now, till Chopper nails Clogger
And all hell braks loose. One off, each side. The
Ref wants to get home on time, so he calls a truce
And it all calms down. No silky skills on show here,
No league scouts…as far as we know, but that bloke
In the trilby looks a bit out of place. Everton, maybe ?
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Kids play on the touchlines, girlfriends chatter; Dads
Yell frustratedly – all wanting it to end, the prospect of
Sunday lunch to come. Then, on eighty seven minutes
A goal is scored…by the Other Lot. Nothing flashy –
Just a punt down the middle, a missed bounce and it’s
In the net. Much cursing, the final whistle; we’ve lost.
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Another week, another match; same faces, same names
On the teamsheet. Grass roots, they call it – if there’s
Any grass on the pitch. A labour of love, a relief from
The workaday grind of life. Division six out of seven,
P 12 W 2 D 1 L (bloody) 9. Still, we keep going and a
Pint in the Crown always soothes the ills – ’til next time.