|

Un-wanted hat-trick

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 We see our boys
out on the pitch
giving their all
chasing the oppo
chasing the ball

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 we see our players
skillful and wilful
at the top of their game
but we see them having a ‘mare
and we mete out the blame

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 we see them on the telly
we see them being papp’d
we see them all too easily
but how about when they’re trapped?…..

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 an Irish chat show coup…
John Walters welcomed like a hero
post retirement, announcing
“my Achilles heel, was literally,
my Achilles heel”

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 “So, how do you feel?”
the presenter poses
and one supposes
we’ll hear the usual
footy cant
a cache of clichés

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 coaching badges, blah
punditry, blah
golfing, blah
a cushy life, yadda yadda

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 but we were un-prepared
for the baring of the soul
no care for Euro qualification
or the scoring of a goal

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 for John swerved
from “missing the boys, and the noise
from the stands”
weaving to
a “triple whammy”
a heartfelt admission
from an 11yr old boy, still missing his mammy

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 and I don’t have his permission
to present this commission
but as a fan
hearing the true story, the back story, the black story
the real behind the reel
“so how do you feel?”
and he draws us in
to the depths that he plumbed
loss after loss after loss
not, as in games or matches
but the tragedy of losing life
of family dispatches
and losing health
and sod the Premier wealth
for it brought no solace

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 he welled
he blanked
he tanked
he “corpsed”
but he showed us a way
to the man behind the “stoic star”
we were no longer
looking in from afar
but sobbing with him
approving of his disapproving
of the way he tried to be –
footballer first
wounded human second
suppressing the grief
of just days before
by training hard and pushing more
being “a man”
and taking it on the chin
of not wanting to break “the taboo”
of hardy men
and the barriers erected
against sensitivity
and the proclivity
to not share, to keep hidden
any susceptibility
that emotion might obscure
the single minded view
of winning at all costs
of winning ugly
and if not winning, then not losing
not losing points
not losing face
not losing your place
on the team…

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 no-one would deem
that this strong man fronted, for personal gain
for this portrait of pain
of a man, bowed by anguish
by despair, was all too obvious
showing us a man incapable of unburdening
at say, Burnden Park

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 but here he did
he swallowed hard
he caught his breath
he forced himself, he willed himself
to unload, to share
to show that it’s good to talk
and that we should never walk
Alone.

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 Spoken like a true Scouse
Of proud Irish Heritage.

7

Notes

Aired live, Friday 24/5/2019
The Late Late Show on RTE, host Ryan Tubridy.

John Walters, opening up.

The Spice Girls were performing “live” just up the road in Croke Park in front of 80,000.
Colm Wilkinson (Mr Les Mis) had been on just before Walters, with his fabulous singing voice.

John Walters opened up about losing his mother at 11 years of age.
Then signing up for and moving home to Blackburn at 15.
Then his “triple whammy”.
Losing his brother, aged 35, one day, and his wife losing their baby the very next day. And the day after finding out his daughter had scoliosis.
And to top that, within weeks, after going out on loan to Ipswich (the other side of the country), suffering a career ending injury.

To say he acquired more fans tonight than ever before, would be an understatement.

His wife was in the audience, looking proudly on.

I’ve also seen John interviewed recently on BBC, where he stood out as a great candidate to continue his post-career in the PFA (where he is already a player rep). Having been through his experiences, John will undoubtedly have a lot to offer for any player wellbeing initiatives.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/un-wanted-hat-trick/?shared=email&msg=fail