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Stamford Bridge February 12 noon
and it’s freezing..I mean freezing
we could be talking eskimos in track-suits
and long-john thermal merchandise heaven
if only they’d known.. it’s that cold..
behind the Matthew Harding Stand it’s media mayhem
Glastonbury Main Stage and Live Aid all in one..
depending on your live TV company – your acccess pass
your live feed and your vantage point
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no place this for faint hearts
as Steve Clarke and ground staff amble by
serious and lost in thought
paparazzi from the globe over
scan windows swap Ipods and stare endlessly into mobiles
approaching ‘stretches’ and half opened windows
are watched like hawks
others text for the planet like there’s no spellcheck
or tomorrow..who’d be a ‘hack’?
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thank football then for an early diversion
and what better than a workshop
a young one at that..
for who was it once said
there’s nothing like a poem to calm the nerves..
and sometimes – even here
there are poems that are ‘nothing like a poem’
but not today – and thank God for children
to come out with classic lines
to muse and ponder on
when sometimes all you need
is a small chair to cry or rhyme on..
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it’s 1pm a fine school – the Fulham Road
comparing Barcelona and London …as you do
and sorting the universe and football before our very eyes..
Miss Elliot’s class are a dream
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it’s 10.15pm we’re on the train..looking back
the game itself..so huge and now superfluous
a blue and fluorescent blur of passion..
of volume- cat and mouse and great intrigue
seventy five minutes of standing up
and sitting down again for both champions***
a night of optimism unseized by those in Blue
and I’m not taking about Her Majesty’s boys outside on horses..
one night with you ..like Elvis now long gone
an evening steeped in promise – yet un-snatched
a game more hyped and fuelled
than some dark novel or Corrie in a bad ‘two-parter’
a match half-lit to hinge at close
on one small careless act
like some long broken barn-yard door –
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but it’s the day and those great kids
all sixty that I’ll recall..
and bang on midnight as we pull into Stroud
4 Lattes and a £2.50 flapjack later..
my new Chelsea-Barcelona scarf tight around me
(not the warmest trains.. Great Western)
the fan from Bath reminds me
all is not lost
we only need two-nil out there..