New Age Football In The West+Stopping By The Bridge On A Snowy Evening

hi all

two recent poems here…

New Age Football In The South West
(On the remarkable Yeovil v Plymouth Carling Cup Tie. 24.08.044
Stopping By The Bridge On A Snowy Evening
(on a snow-bound long gone winter day)….


the sweetest goal i ever saw
when one side let the other score
was something I’d not glimpsed before
not in this precious life –
but late last night when dark and rain
beat black and loud upon my pane
I watched it once then once again
and woke my sleeping wife

wake up wake up and see this goal
my love do you not find this droll
didst fill my heart didst touch my soul
this mix up swift erased –
and I have never seen I’m sure
when by mistake the others score
nor given back so quick before
such conduct to be praised

for in this age of sad abuse
of hate and anger when we lose
how fresh to light the fairness fuse
with both teams New-Age ways –
and you may argue who is best
and how we cannot touch the rest
but spirit in this wild South West
still dwells alive these days

and so until the day I die
when in a cardboard box I lie
I will recall with pride and sigh
this Yeovil – Plymouth game –
and dream a time as dreamers do
of ‘hello there – how do you do’
and ‘good luck chaps’- and ‘after you’
and days we dreamed the same

a time when playing was the thing
above the glamour and the Bling
this People’s Game of which I sing
lives on in you and me –
then let it rise from Avalon
from Somerset and fair Dev-on
in rhyme and prose sing on sing on
of football’s poetry

and keeps us joined where’ere we are
however near however far
right there – on Sky – or in our car
on magic nights and days –
keep on when others show disdain
keep on through sun and wind and rain
our love of beauty and the game
with Old and New-Age ways

Crispin Thomas @ Stroud – August 2004

Green Poem Notes:
Concerning the ‘Beautiful Game’ that was
Yeovil Town 3 Pymouth Argyle 2, August 24th 2004 ( Carling Cup).

A very great master once said…
“.Common sense is very uncommon today..”

How refreshing and ‘alternatively un-competitive then – to see common sense and the spirit of fair play prevail…from two very green sides..

.Chris Sweet’s match report on Yeovil Town’s Web-Site captures the moment…

“An unreal spell in the first half at Huish Park transformed what was otherwise a mundane half, as both sides found themselves on the score sheet within a minute. Lee Johnson’s freak opener for Yeovil was soon cancelled out by a sporting strike from Plymouth Argyle’s Steven Crawford.
Controversy struck after 26 minutes, as Yeovil took an extraordinary lead. After a short break for an injury to Graham Coughlin, Lee Johnson’s wayward return ball to Argyle found Luke McCormick absent in the Argyle goal. Referee Mr C Penton had no option but to give the goal, and as a shell-shocked Plymouth resumed the game, Crawford was allowed to walk through the Yeovil side and register a just equaliser.”……

Now when did you last see that happen..answers in an e-mail please?



whose ground this is we surely know
yet so unrecognizable in snow
and I my glee can barely hide
to find these gates so open wide –

my little dog must think it strange
to stop with neither sound nor game
he gives his furry head a shake
as if to say “for heaven’s sake”

as icicles upon the stand
hang pointing like some outstretched hand
more magic now than euro ties
or times when we the giants surprise –

and where so many sit and yell
there’s only me to feel and tell
save for a flag with pigeons on
who with a flurried flake are gone

more purer than the blankest page
this dazzling winter football stage
no markings here to see at all
no ground-staff player coach or ball

but I’m enraptured by the sight
of snow-bound terraces of white –
while all around in empty streets
brave motorists will make retreats
and slide through London’s transformed land
like skaters in some wonderland..

how to a standstill weather brings
a stop to more important things
and where there should be Wolves at home
I stand here silent and alone –

and think on all who ever stood
or sat through seasons bad and good
a hundred years upon this bridge
more cold and bleak than any fridge..
from Bovril to rosettes and tea
from hooligans to luxury
from Lawton’s hair to Dynamos
Roy Bentley to John Sillett’s nose
Paul Cannoville to Gullit’s smile
I ponder on the past a while

but I have miles of motorway
twixt home and all that I survey
and soon so soon I must return
to where my cottage fire will burn –
but still i stand like referees
upon awarding penalties
to share in wonder as I go
the beauty of a ground in snow

Crispin Thomas @ Stroud – August 2004

With deep respect to one of my favourite all-time fave poets Robert Frost (b.San Francisco 1874).I wrote this upon kindly being invited this year to run and undertake football poetry workshops with schools in London this Winter in conjunction with Westmister City Council, Westminster Libraries & Chelsea FC…… and in particular to attend with the children involved a special Christmas Party with the players at Stamford Bridge in December 2004.Wow!

It set me to thinking of a long gone post-Christmas winter one January when as a sensitive and highly impressionable child , the famous Big Freeze set in, and games were off for what seemed like weeks. Because my school (Sloane Grammar in Hortensia Road, Chelsea), overlooked the Blues’ ground , I noticed late one cold Friday that the big old blue wooden gates (also now long gone) had been left open !

As soon as school finished, I along with the early darkness, crept in, and found the hallowed space empty and covered in snow.I have never forgotten that moment . I decided to use a bit of free-licence and to bring it up to date a bit ,memories wise, as next year is Chelseas’ centenary (and Charlton’s!) 1905…

Sadly, I never actually had a dog as a child, but I did have a cat at that time called Shhhhh (you can imagine my mum calling out it’s name at night), but sadly my cat was found frozen in that freeze outside my home in Wharfedale Street one morning that cold winter. Anyway,..the dog bit fiited in ,as opposedto a hoerse or cat (don’t ask) and is another respectful nod.. to not just Robert Frost( who actually used a horse in his poem.. and from who i nicked the whole idea of course ),.It’s also a caninely nod to my fellow editor, spiritual mentor and football poet Stuart Butler who very nearly lived and breathed his trusty dog Basil into the media spotlight and in to an England managerial candidate icon. (sad but tree…see this site elsewhere !) .He also does a lot of work supporting football poetry, charity,The Guardian and Waitrose of course, but doesn’t like to talk about it in a Smashy and Nicey type way ..(hi Stu!)

Source: https://footballpoets.org/news/2004/08/25/new-age-football-in-the-weststopping-by-the-bridge-on-a-snowy-evening/