Rothmans Year Book.

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Here we are all together
In the boisterous world
Of football’s infancy
Neither screaming or crying
Since that would be sour grapes
The beginning of another year
And time to ponder the wondrous
Literary landscape
Of the Rothmans Year Book
Essential reading for those
Partial to minutiae
The small print,
But the legible details
Of football’s logistics,
Results from long ago,
Lists of historic fixtures
Reflections of who we
Were when nostalgia came
Knocking on our door
The Rothmans Year Book
Seemed designed solely
For statisticians meticulous
To their finger bones
Thumbing through matches
From previous yesteryear
Goal scorers, attendances
Galore in every margin,
Lines of names and icons
From all four divisions
In the day when football
Had First, Second, Third
Fourth, footballs of the
Medicine variety
Hard as rocks and boulders
So the Rothmans
Indulged itself in analysis
Records of defeat and victory
In carefully carved marble and stone
We found them in Uncle David’s
Chest of drawers
Since he was the hoarder
Of sentimental documents
So you leafed through your
Team’s painstaking progress
And never knew whether
The literature would ever change
West Ham, almost permanently moored
In choppy, precarious waters,
Never sure of safety at any point
Waiting for life rafts and boats
To salvage them from relegation
Storm tossed oceans
Always on the precipice of the trapdoor
Fighting for survival, gasping, bobbing
In thunderous, foaming seas of danger
Critical emergency
But the Rothmans had always told
Us quite clearly
That the claret and blue ensemble
Once witnessed well over 40,000
at Upton Park against noisy neighbours
Spurs, Stunning achievement, the East End
Heaving, shoulder to shoulder
Reconciliation confirmed
After crushing defeat to Liverpool
The week before, that much was clear
And of course at Anfield
Since those were the empty, fallow
Years for Irons hardy faithful
And yet the Rothmans always informed us
About football from the whole pyramid
The Isthmian League, the non League
Brothers in arms.
The old Scottish First Divisions
When Rangers and Celtic were just
Swapping casual notes about repetitive
League Championships
The Rothmans Year Book, up to date
A topical treasure chest of information,
Delectation and edification, groaning with
Facts, arcane, the realms of the improbable
League tables when 42 matches
Were the extent of its vast knowledge
And shorts were invariably baggier
Than the week before
Scores that defied and suspended belief
Goal-less draws and score draws
The absurdity of finishing sixth
In the old First Division last season
And then horror stricken at the discovery
Of ending two places above the relegation zone
The following season
While the next we encountered mid table
Buoyancy when hardened claret and blue
Followers knew the body language
Told a different story
The Rothmans Year Book
Was our museum of the old
And new football of the present day
A portfolio of where we were
When the Hammers finally stopped
The rot and we saw the May 1975
The FA Cup, a dramatic milestone
Moments of FA Cup Final magic
Against Fulham. Patience was a virtue
They’d finally done it, 2-0 victory
Alan Taylor from Gracie Fields Rochdale
Then there were yet more chocolate selections
Of how many squeezed into East End
Blissful claustrophobia at Upton Park
When Manchester United came calling
34,248 to be precise
While Stoke City were almost overlooked
In the hectic rush
When barely 20,000 clicked through
Decaying turnstiles that soon met
Some well deserved tender loving care
In July’s summer hiatus
Defeats and victories almost collided
With each other head on
No sign of any consistent patterns
Totally unpredictable
And the Rothmans Year book
Was there to record it for
Our further reading pleasure,
The old First Division’s starmakers,
Show ponies who in one match
Compiled goals as if for fun
Followed by nothing, insignificance
Anonymous against Leicester
Nowhere to be seen then apparently
There were whole columns of hat-tricks
The Rothmans Year books
Bristling with nostalgia
The agonised yelps of reminiscence
Before present day heartaches
And torrid travails
Told that we’d lost five on the trot.
And then the despondent slump into
The old Second Division
We knew it would happen
The late 1970s compendium of stats
And facts.
It was there in clear print
Evidence of the damage
The jury find the Hammers
It’s there on Page 231
Of the Rothmans
Sheer delight



My tribute to the Rothmans Year Book of football.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/rothmans-year-book/