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The Relegation Season

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 We are not Man Utd.
We’re a mid-table, middle income
but not middle class
middle division mid-range football team
used to getting knocked out
of the Cups in the early stages
and losing young talent
to the bigger clubs. But

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 things could have been worse
and, as it happened,
at the end of the day
to our parrot-like sickness
in one particular
rain-washed season
things did indeed get
dramatically worse.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 We lost the first three games
due to a combination of
bad luck and poor goal-keeping.
The referees didn’t help.
The fourth match we drew
and the fifth and the seventh,
but the sixth, the fateful
Lucifer’s number,
on a bright autumnal
September day from hell

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 we went away to the brand-new
millionaire-financed
purpose-built stadium
of one of the country’s
Sleeping Giants, and took
a thumping I will long remember
both during and after the game.
We lost our pride, our Manager,
and some teeth that day, and
by the end of October, we were
second from bottom, played 10, won zero,
and the word that everyone
associated in any way
with Association Football
dreads like a curse
began to be whispered
over half-time tea.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Oh, the misery
of the winter that followed
as game after game
slipped to defeat.
The innocent, hopeless
somehow incorrigible
desire for a win
to take through the week.
The agonised, pointless
walk through the cold streets
beaten by the odd lucky
goal in seven,

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 six of which
were scored against us.
No respite
from the comments at work.
No hiding
from the league tables.
No gainsaying
the commentators’ scorn.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Babies were born
grandparents died
people got married
and parted, and still
all through December
we could not win.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 Then, in the New Year,
we scrambled at home
the two most fortunate
1-0 victories
ever observed
by watchers of football
and found ourselves
out of the bottom 3.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Carnival-time.
This is the year
we cheat fate and climb
upwards and onwards
towards the light.
The Play-Offs began
to be seriously discussed.
The mind of a football fan
is fickle as snow
and snow is what happened
for the rest of January.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 I will not describe
in detail what occurred
when the thaw came
and our defence
started leaking again.
February – winless.
March – two draws.
By Easter, we knew
that Batman himself
at Centre-Forward
could not have saved us.
Going down.
Going down.
Going slowly, slowly down

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 to, whisper the terrible word,

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 RELEGATION.

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 The last match
we won 3-0.

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 The pitch invasion
was more of a token
and I got a piece of the goal-keeper’s
shirt. I’ll be back, next season.

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-relegation-season/