Wembley Way of Consciousness

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 So my dear Crispin, what can I say about the great Wembley debate?
Firstly, the self-evident point that all Wembley meanings and memories
Are partial in both time and space and are defined by one’s generation,
And so without being too arty-farty-sociological-philosophical,
I have to say that there won’t be too much poetry here,
Poetry in the sense of the proverbial synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits,
It will be more chips and sandwiches and socio-linguistics,
Because it seems to me, a mere boy of fifty,
That Wembley for my generation was not just about football,
It was also a class and national ritual, an imperial ritual,
A part of the general cultural conditioning and creation of national consciousness
That went for me, with the Union Flag and Warner-Pathe newsreels;
Newsreels of Empire, Commonwealth, colonial wars, debutantes,
Monarchy, Ascot, the House of Lords, Pageantry, and so on and so on,
And so to infinitum and, of course, early May and Wembley Cup Finals;
It went with Sunday roast beef, Family Favourites, BFPO 40, 1966 And All That,
For it went Way beyond football, David Coleman and Kenneth Wolstenhome,
And Grandstand, Suez, Cyprus, Kenya and Munich (both ’38 and ’58),
And Mortensen, Matthews, Charlton, Gascoigne, Beckham, Owen
And whosoever defines your generation,
It went Way beyond foggy Wednesday afternoon internationals,
When national servicemen were allowed in free,
In a typically English deferential imitation of Varsity life,
It went Way beyond the R.P. of the BBC and the Boat Race,
It went Way beyond the Imperial Lion Wembley postage stamp of 1924-25,
The heroic policeman on his white horse in 1923,
The condescension shown to the madcap antics of northern football fans,
“Oop for t’Cup”
And even Way beyond the stooping deference shown to Monarchy on Cup Final Day.
It was a keystone of the crumbling class structure,
Gentlemen and Players,
It was part of the litany of Whitehall, Westminster and Wembley,
It was part of that mid-late twentieth century English identity,
That went cap in hand with Imperial pretension and illusions of power,
A DWM symbol of upper class control,
But now an irrelevant anachronism in this multicultural day and age.
So do we need a new national stadium?
Do we need a new symbol of modernity?
From my angle, only if prices are subsidised by the State,
Public transport is available right to the ground,
Everyone in the country is given a chance to attend a match in their lifetime,
The stadium is environmentally and energy-conscious,
Football players are presented to unsung republican public servants,
The women and men who make our society and economy really run,
All teams from all leagues are given a chance to play their cup final there,
Taking it in turns through all the years and seasons,
And so and so on and on to infinitum for I could go on, the list is endless;
But, in short, what it should be, is “A Peoples’ Stadium”,
A symbol of egalitarian collective freedom,
A symbol of a classless planned society,
Rather than one based upon a duality of birth and meritocracy,
It should be The Peoples’ Stadium for The Peoples’ Game,
And why not?
It’s better than a load of Hooey.


Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/wembley-way-of-consciousness/