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My aim here, as true as a Zola bullet,
With this trumpeting tripartite, is to try and do the impossible.
To put into words, an appreciation of a magical piece of skill
As witnessed by all the lucky fans at Stamford Bridge, and all those watching on tv,
On wednesday 16th january 2002.
Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup 3rd round replay,
which Chelsea won 4-0,
The goals from Stanic, Lampard, Zola, Forssell.
The most abiding memory of that match,
Will be the sight of Zola, scoring a most incredible goal,
That brought the whole ground to their feet.
And even Norwich, in gracious defeat,
Acknowledged the sheer world class of the man
And had to concur, that this goal of such sublime skill
Would surely bring a thrill
To the watching Nations, for English football is coveted by many,
In the same reciprocal way, that we desire foreign stars.
We welcome the best of them into our souls,
Especially the likes of the loveable Zola, who’s scored so many special goals.
This one, though, was extra special. It was pure instinct,
Something that could only be conjured up by a master of his craft,
Something that was more magical than a wizard’s wand.
It was an act that defied explanation.
Even Zola said “Don’t ask me how I did it, as I honestly don’t know!”
But of course, with column inches to fill, the press had a go.
Matt Barlow, in the Star, came closest :
“a balletic, volleyed, back-heeled back-flick while in mid-air,
flashed inside the near-post.”
The Herald in Ireland, likened him to an old Dutch Master :
“a flying Cryuff turn”.
The Irish Times :
“Zola’s reverse, volleyed, flick
conjured a goal of sheer impudent class.”
Nigel Worthington, the Norwich manager, was
“privileged to have seen it live, world class”.
And the TV, eulogised not with words, but endless repeats,
Showing the goal from every angle,
Even showing the net bulge, without Zola or the slick flick in sight,
Such was their overwhelming desire to pay homage.
So, if verbal explanation of such a wondrous nano-second of a moment in time,
Is so difficult, and possibly even unworthy,
(however wordy), of the ecstatic execution,
Then why try?
But isn’t that half the fun? To search for the pun,
Or the bon-mot, or even the cliché that fits, and starts, a trend
In reportage, to find the right prose for a potage,
Or consommé, of commendable chestnuts.
Verily, it needs true wordsmiths,
to mark the moment, with vaunted verse.
We’ve had a crisp, cheery invocation from Crispin.
And lo! Beyond yonder light hearted piece, by my troth!, he doth quoth, both wittily and wryly,
A Bard, with a willful (or should that be Will full) waxing,
in true Stuart Butler stylee.
And what ho! Stuart Hall, what did that garrulous master of the mic, make of it all?
And Bryon Buter, how he would have loved,
to add some zealous accolades
Breathlessly getting them in, before the famous Sports Report intro fades…..
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And so, to Gianfranco Zola, Italian International,
Moved to Chelsea in 1996, and resides dear to our hearts ever since.
After so many appearances, so many starts,
He’s currently almost second string, in the instrument of squad rotation,
But he plays second fiddle, to no-one. His genius and skills,
Far, far, superior, to the rest of the league – most not fit,
To wipe his posterior.
So often, he wipes the floor of the opposition, with his own melodic rendition, of ‘Singing the Blues’,
his conducting, the reason Chelsea can sometimes cruise,
Into the lead, and in symphonic harmony, produce a rousing finish.
It has been said of late, that his influence will soon diminish.
But if this be the swansong of his career,
Then that goal, so outstanding, so thrilling, for it’s sheer
Audacity, will remain long in the memory
And will in itself, be fitting testimony, to the genius, of
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Zo-la, la la la, Zola
and so the whole ground stood in veneration
of one of the greatest players of our generation
it happened many a time, home and away
at Stamford Bridge, or wherever the opposition play
but in what is possibly his swansong year
the longest, loudest, lustiest cheer
was reserved for a goal so stunning
shaped by stealth and cunning
such incredible skill
brought insatiable thrill
more! we all implore
to the wizard, we all adore
for that wonderful goal
brought joy to the soul
the antithesis of consummate ease
brought all us worshippers, to our knees
hopefully, such an instinctive deed
will sow the seed
in impressionable minds
and so the weekly grinds
of practice and training
might provide the ingraining
and you never know
maybe, just maybe, in a few years time, we’ll have our own little Zo-
la, la la la, Zola
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Neither Kings crown
Nor Queens tiara
Could outshine the jewel of a goal, as
Scored by one of Chelsea’s Zola’s
Off the pitch, a shy, retiring, modest man
On the pitch, a cheeky little minx
Full of cunning and crafty jinks
As he dips
This way and that
Defenders fall flat, onto their backs
As the appreciative fans, and drooling hacks
Resonate in wonder
As another back four is torn asunder
And the echo of the cheering crowd
Supersonically booms out loud……