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Little men, plastic-moulded and painted up in
Primary colours – eleven in a box, so neat and
Tidy at Christmas time – but showing signs of
Wear and tear by New Years’ Day. Placed out
As 4-4-2, or even 2-3-5. ‘Flick to Kick’ it said,
But like Fergal, we never quite sussed the trick.
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Scoreboards, corner flags, TV cameras, dogs
On the pitch – well, not quite. But much bad
Blood was spilt, metaphorically speaking, of
Course. Heated games at your mates’ houses
As schoolboy tempers flared; some little men
Got crushed in the fun. Nine vs. nine, or less.
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Leagues, tables, scorers – all so serious in the
Scheme of things, at the time so it seemed. They
Spun on their bases, crashing into each other
Or flying off the cloth pitch – to spin back on.
It filled our world on rainy Sundays, meeting
Up for a grudge match – it could be Wembley.
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Time moved on, we grew up and the little men
Lost their appeal. But now it’s nostalgia for all
And we dust down the past. Those green boxes,
The thrill of a last-minute winner against your
Arch enemy under the living room lights; magic.
X-box kids, you don’t know what you’ve missed.