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Cortizone injected time and again to force
Those legs through ninety minutes; just one
More time, just one more game. No thought
About the consequences in ten, twenty years
Down the line. Club doctor complicit in the
Weekly charade – anything to get them out on
The field, no matter it makes a crippled man
In later life, when the glory is gone and the
Meagre PFA pension has frittered to nothing.
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Osteo-arthritis, degenerative ailments – small
Comfort for the seasons of toil and commitment
They gave to the cause – in the days when their
Wages were limited; artificially fixed to suit the
Directors’ pockets – keeping the men in check.
And the rain-soaked ball, a flying bomb to be
Headed goalwards – it brought Parkinson’s and
Alzheimer’s to a certain generation. Lives were
Blighted, for everyone’s sake save the players.
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In their sixties and seventies, they’ve missed
The megabucks of modern times – just a little
Extra as publican or casual window cleaner.
No swimming in cash as an average full back,
They still have memories to keep them going.
The odd reunion with mates – acknowledgement
From their peers of sacrifices and achievements,
Relived over a pint. But the sheen of nostalgia
Cannot obscure the pains of life as an old ex-pro.