Football To Me-Your Poems + 2008 Poetry Workshops
1 FOOTBALL POETS ON MYSPACE
2 FOOTBALL TO ME – Your Poems
3 INNER GOAL the poetry of football-a journey in rhyme
4 2008 FOOTBALL POETRY WORKSHOPS. Dates etc
5 Workshop Days Blog
1 FOOTBALL POETS ON MYSPACE visit the new site
Football Poets on MySpace
2 FOOTBALL TO ME – YOUR POEMS
Your Poems on ‘Football To Me’ and what it means to you. Do give them all slightly different titles though for reference purposes! This theme Inspired by Skin / Head The Ball . I do this exercise in schools, clubs and prisons and it always amazes me the different emotions people feel, love and loathe about the game.
They’ll appear here and also on the Football Poets MySpace site (which has a comments / messages section remember!) at
Football Poets on MySpace – keep on Crispin
02 Mar Football At Colchester To Me
02 Mar Why I play the game non humphries
02 Mar What Football Means to Us Birko and Butlers
01 Mar Football to moi Hy Koo
28 Feb Reflections kevin raymond
28 Feb Football to me Paul H Tubb
27 Feb The Meaning S B Ingle
26 Feb To Me Football Pogue Mahone
26 Feb The love of the game John Oliver
25 Feb Football to me P Maguire
24 Feb Football non humphries
24 Feb Football to me non humphries
24 Feb Football To Me Crispin Thomas
23 Feb In The Blood Skin / Head The Ball
The poetry of football..a journey in rhyme
by CRISPIN THOMAS
100 pages – 66 poems 66 hakius and line drawings spanning 10 years of writing and 50 years of watching football(1957-2007)
“Poems in the street, in the ground and in the heart.
…poetry with balls.!” Michael Foreman
“One of the pioneers of football poetry.Who ate all the pioneers”?”
Attila The Stockbroker
Football Poets Books in paperback ISBN 9780955 737602 £8.99
INNER GOAL is now available
ON-LINE from:AMAZON BOOKS click here
A few signed first run promo copies available at 7.99 +pp (£1.51)
Write to:Football Poets ,4 The Retreat, Butterow, Stroud GL5 2LS
(Tel 01453 757376) enclosing address+ a cheque for £9.50 made out to “OUT TO LUNCH ”
National Football Musuem ,Sir Tom Finney Way Preston PR1 6PA
e-mail enquiries@nationalfootball museum.com
www.nationalfootballmuseum.com Tel 01772 908442
Stroud Bookshop , 23 High Street ,Stroud 01453 756646
Made In Stroud, 16 Kendrick Street Stroud 01453 840265
4. 2008 FOOTBALL POETRY WORKSHOPS
3. Feb 08
11 & 12 MORPERTH King Edward V1 School
14 STROUD Star Anise ‘Valentine’s Night’
1 COLCHESTER UNTIED FC Family Fun Day 1-2.30pm
3 BARKING School
5 BARKING School
6 BURY ST EDMUNDS School
7 HACKNEY Princess Mary School
5 LICHFIELD LIBRARY Free Times TBC All Welcome
10 STROUD Artspace Crispin+Out To Lunch, Rosemary Dun etc.
30 STONEHOUSE School
5 GLASTONWICK Festival with Attila The Stockbroker.Brighton
4 ABOUT FOOTBALL POETRY WORKSHOPS & LINKS
We’re now taking bookings for 2008 . We run and book Football Poetry Workshops all year all over the UK. . Do get in touch if interested. For info on workshops contact
or phone 01453 757376 & 07837 798463
SOME WORKSHOP LINKS & USEFUL ORGANISATIONS
Click on coloured link to view then close page or hit Back button
WORLD CUP WORKSHOP BISHOPS CASTLE PHOTOS 10.6.06 Pics from the day with students and Crispin.
EVERTON FC ‘ Making A Difference’ Workshop Review Crispin ThomasSession at Everton FC Extra Time Study Support Centre
FOOTBALL STUFF Crispin Thomas BBC Video Nation (Real Player) Crispin at Forest Green Rovers with Casio and a ball.!
To find out more about KICK IT OUT click here
Kick It Out
5. BLOG-A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FOOTBALL POET
from Stroud to Morpeth and Plymouth..and from Sutton Coldfied to Mansfield , Long Eaton and Stratford On Avon !
Hi again .Time to subject you to a Workshop day (well 10 days actually!) in the life of a football poet….on the road and on the rails !
SO WHAT’S A DAY REALLY LIKE?
I felt it necessary to dispel the legendary Take That / Frank Lampard / Ronaldo / Wannabe Football Poet Laureate celebrity image and myth of limos, riders and executive treatment that it doesn’t entail .
A HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY IN MANSFIELD & LONG EATON!
I’m just back from a great school in Sutton Coldfield where I ended up performing with 15 children reading their rhymes and raps for the first time in front of 400 in the main hall . Next stop was an invitation from Mansfield Town FC’s Stags Study Support Centre to work in a local Primary school for World Book Day . We made tiny books and wrote football poems and thoughts for aliens, and for anyone who would listen. In the evening it was a mad dash to Long Eaton where I worked with Jim Sells of The National Literacy Trust and a local puppeteer/story teller for Blokes On Board , complete with a PC and library-equipped bus!” This is an on-going Reading Champions project to inspire “blokes” to go into schools to encourage boys to read .
WORKING WITH HEROES & VILLAINS IN MORPETH
For two days I was back in Morpeth, Northumberland at King Edward V1 , a thriving and high achieving grammar school where I work with 160 Year 9 pupils. The theme of the two days is ‘Heroes and Villains’, with a strong focus on Martin Luther King . Each student brings in a picture of a hero and villain. Mine were : Roy of The Rovers and Darth Vader. Two groups writing poems on chosen heroes like Alan Shearer, Slash from Guns n’Roses and Martin Luther King to notorious villains who included (bizarrely) Sponge Bob Square Pants, Osama Bin Laden and Hitler. We also created a 15 minute play which we performed in front of 160 pupils about the life of Arthur Wharton ,the first ever black professional footballer in the late 1800’s. Finishing at 3.20pm it was a sleepy two hour wait for my 5.30pm train home to my cottage Then a 4 and
a half hour train journey back to Cheltenham. On finally arriving it’s a
dark and windy 45 minute drive to Stroud listening to Bolton vs. Arsenal in extra time. Rock ‘n Roll!”
KICKING INTO READING IN PLYMOUTH
The following week found me in Plymouth where I spent 5 days. I worked for Kick Into Reading with around 700 children alongside some great Plymouth Argyle trainers and coaches (Mark and Debbie) and one director (David) Football poems , riddles, games and stories all week-long in Plymouth libraries.
When you start to link in as a one-off visitor with the intricate daily workings of modern schools, prisons, libraries, football grounds and study support centres the timetables, paperwork and lesson plans never fail to surprise . As a result I now involve no paperwork in the setting up of my workshops , in the effort to leave as small a football poetry footprint as possible and to stay as carbon free as possible. To this end, I go everywhere by train which is often veryearly and incredibly stressy , but far more relaxing than dnving .`The workshops are run on fun lines. All I want to do is inspire, from getting students thinking , writing and reading to getting up and performing work with gusto in front of their giggling mates and just having fun with words. I like sending myself up, and love making the kids laugh (at me), my silly poems, and to make them think a little deeper and laterally maybe. I want them to take the time to compose stuff on their own and then wax lyrical. To think and feel in the words of Catherine Tate..”I can do that ”
For the younger ones, we usually kick off with an action football poem or song that everyone can join in on, and I’ll do some stuff of my own . We use PowerPoint images to highlight any and everything to do with football. We are there to explore football , to write poems as a group and individually. One hour school based lessons are a mad rush, and I prefer longer with each class for quality, but however long , we always somehow get there. We always include a spontaneous group poem on the flip chart or white board (or blackboards in Porto) and usually leave about 15 minutes to perform them all. Here’s a poem I wrote on the way home from Morpeth opposite some bloke who got on at Leeds and kept snoring. It’s about my first ever Cup visit to Middlesboro FC. Allegedly! Go well! Crispin
15 Feb Down By The Riverside Crispin Thomas
“A month back we asked you ALL what you thought about the
‘unfunded-unchanged for 8 years’ site (!) and it’s future.
Well – we’re still here, un-funded, un-changed and still without our founding webmaster Dave and limited to editorial input only. Some of YOUR reactions are printed below. MORE PLEASE..especially suggestions . If YOU have the skills to create from scratch or advise on producing a viable, exciting, betting-ads-free, innovative and accessible new site – please get in touch.
Please E-MAIL US (or in Submit Poem) . Here are a selection of some of the replies we received about the site. I would say they’re fair comment. There are also replies to the points raised from Peter Goulding (Editor-Ireland) and myself. I’ll ask Stu and Clik to do the same. Stay involved and please do comment either by l
Email E-mail us Editors -Football Poets :
on the NEW COMMENTS section at :
Football Poets on MySpace
just scroll down to bottom of page right . Thanks Crispin
or in the ‘Submit a poem’ section’
1 “This isn’t a ‘restricted to this site’ problem, it’s Poetry itself.
There is no big sale or desire for poetry across the board in any subject you like, and whenever ‘someone of weight’ wants a so-called football poem they commission it off some ‘big name’ mainstream poet (a la McGough) who rifles something off which passes for football poetry. Where are the openings for genuine football poets? The in house poets at football clubs are NOT football poets, they are mainstream poets who have had doors opened for them. Easy eh??
Who publishes football poetry? it is self published by the (brave few) football poets themselves (and you can count them on one hand) one of whom wrote a fabulous book of football poetry, and then was ‘rewarded’ with 3 years of hoaxing and heartbreak. One poet was subject to written abuse on this site from one of the occasional contributors. Jealousy must always rear its ugly little head.
So where does that leave Football Poetry? it you have a forum with rules etc you will need moderators, would people pay for upkeep? on what rules and regulations would it be run? and what about all the problems with past guestbooks? how would you control content?
For Football Poetry to be truly successful it needs successful Football Poets, not the ifs buts and maybes of swapping shirts with Shakespeare, or the constant tribalism of teams or mainstream poets in the guise of football poets….but who has the magic wand to change it? I dont know. Promoting it in the schools and football study centres is admirable but it hasnt changed things so far. The literary establishment remains stubbornly oblivious.
Perhaps Football Poetry is best left as it is here, it has a willing and regular audience, it is accessible ,and it is free. ”
2. “About the site, overall it is really good, but 10 thousand poems is perhaps too much. Ok so the Russians had a saying during WW2 that ‘quantity had a quality of its own’, but really how many of this site’s 10000 are any good? Some are good, some are brilliant but most are not. The problem is the really good poetry gets drowned out.
Stuart Butler no longer contributes so ‘Butlers Bench’ needs to change. Sorry Crispin but just using it to promote your myspace blog and workshops is not editorial input.
Clik hardly posts up these days and when he does it is minimal – again an overhaul is needed.
If all this site is to be is a “it’s mine and i will do what i like and i wont share” then fine keep it as it is. But you need to promote more fully your best poets, they are the true voices that need to be heard, there are no places out there in mainstream poet land for football poets, blunt but true, wasnt this site set up to change that???
Thus if it is to move forward and reflect a truly representative portion of the football poetry world it needs to move out the “its my ball and i’m not sharing” mode.
Thoughts????? Jeff Usher
3. “This is the only site on the web, that I am aware off, that is exclusive to football poetry and I will say that it is managed and edited very fairly by all those involved with the site.
I have in the past, had a problem or two with the powers that be, but I was the one who had to grow up and accept the editors decisions to which particular poems of mine would suit this site.
I have posted my poetry on various Celtic websites & forums to a lot of mixed reviews, been rejected by the Club magazine and been given abuse on one particular Celtic forum but it does not stop me from writing and the Football Poets website allows me (most times) to express myself as a Celtic supporter and nothing else.
So I agree with Pogue Mahone with the quote; “Perhaps Football Poetry is best left as it is here, it has a willing and regular audience, it is accessible, and it is free.”
Writing football poetry for me is just a hobby, a hobby that I enjoy. It won’t make me rich or famous but content.”
This from Peter….
“The part about being an editor that I find the hardest is whether or not to include a poem that is not very good. Okay,
‘Chelsea Chelsea are the best,
They are better than all the the rest’
will probably be deleted , but at the same time I consider the site as vital in encouraging new poets to come on and give it a go. I’m sure the last thing we want is to be seen as elitist – having a clique (pardon the pun) means we set the agenda, whereas the democratic nature of the site is what I love about it. That is why it is often hard when a poor poem comes along to decide if it is a genuine effort or someone taking the mickey.
I suppose in the ideal world, you could have two forums –
side by side. One for everybody and one a registered forum to which only invited poets were given writing access.
As regards the sections, whatever you put in them is fine by me. I have no problems with the content. I know Crispin has been given a bit of stick – as we all have over the years – but if you put your head above the parapet, you’re going to get shot at. My only occasional gripe with the site is that perhaps Crispin
does react too quickly when a criticism rears its head. I know his remit
is to be “squeaky clean” (archived by The British Library,
and recommended by RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) Kick Into Reading, BBC, Five Live, National Literacy Trust, schools etc)
but just because one person objects to something, it doesn’t mean we have to act on it (particularly if the complainer does not include a valid email address)
The sections page is also useful for inspiring new poetry. You only have to publish a list of Christmas / Armistice / FA Cup poems and a load more flood in, which is a good thing.
Personally, I don’t think 10,000 is too much. If people like a poet, they can isolate his/her stuff and concentrate on that. There is an excellent word search engine too for anyone looking for poems on “Kilmarnock” or “Mendonca.” New poems may not last long on the home page, but you read the list of new poems and pick out the poets you like. PeterGoulding (Editor)
5. CRISPIN’S REPLY TO COMMENTS…AND THOUGHTS ON FUTURE
Well what can i say? We try and we will improve, promise Sir/Miss!
ON BEING SLAGGED OFF I do get some crticism on this site.
“What kind of massive ego trip are you on Crispi baby?”
was a particular favourite. It’s annoying when you can’t reply to non-existent email adresses . It’s counter-balanced though by pleased schools and kids who do write a bit more as a result. Peter’s right I’m over sensitive. But I’m up-front so I have to take it.
ON ADVERTISING WORKSHOPS AND MY BOOK!
OK I do poetry workshops and I advertise my Football Poetry book.
Over the years we’ve asked for any football poets out-there to come on board to do workshops , or to be an editor with a section. There is still one free remember if you would like the opportunity and all the “perks” with it! So far in eight years of asking , the only up-take and involvement has been from Ted Smith Orr and Rosemary Dun plus locally : Adam H, Danny & Katie McCue, Stuart Butler ,Dennis Gould and Jeff Cloves. Nationally only Ted , Rosemary, Stuart and I have worked together and done ‘stuff ‘ at
places like Chelsea, Charlton, Northampton Town, libratries,schools , festivals and in prisons in Wales twice. (Wild!) More ‘get-up and read out loud poets ‘ needed (don’t you hate the phrase ‘performance-poets’).
Advertising a book is something all writers do on the web to help them survive. It’s bit like hating a small band who hold up their £5 CD at gigs! I sell a few copies here and there. Believe me it doesn’t put me alongside John Terry and Ronaldo! The problem here is : I have a section which Dave created that I cannot change until someone comes in with a new interactively designed site. There were 3 editor sections initially set up in 2000 (!) and it’s stayed that way, like an old antiquated football ground . When Parry had to sadly stop being an editor due to studying commitments , (remember Parry’s Post?) it took me a few stressful and embarassing months just to locate Dave to get it’s title changed back to Butler’s Bench. Even though Stuart had far too many Head Teaching commitments to be able to go on editing.
ON NOT ENOUGH INPUT FROM EDITORS
Fine and true, but for for those who complain –
“Come and lend a hand if you think you’re good enough.. La La La!”
Stu allows me to use his section for themes and contributes when he can , alongside his hectic teaching role. Clik and Peter are in Ireland. Peter and Clik have families and busy jobs to look after. Technically, I can’t create complicated digital stuff yet. I’m learning. I set up the comparitively simple My Space site as a temporary thing for myself , and then turned it into a joint MySpace/ Crispin/Football Poets site, hence the name . Do check it out and comment there! It’s at :
Football Poets on MySpace
just scroll down to bottom of page right hand side.
Basically Peter, Clik and myself, do this for fun and for nothing. I’m up for grabs more because I promote myself : Bad Times,
But I get to write more and to highlight things : Good Times.
I like making people laugh. I take the mickey out of myself to try to inspire others. I’m nostalgic and anarchic but I try like many of you to write from the heart . This site isn’t about me. it’s your site.
ON FEATURING “TOP” OR “BETTER KNOWN POETS”
On the question of so called ‘top or better poets’ I understand the emotion but what’s that about exactly ? There are many great FOOTBALL POETS per se on this site, but who could compile a fair Top 10,40 or 100?
There are also only a handful of great PERFORMANCE
Poets (whatever that means) who contribute to the site . Notably Attila The Stockbroker and Albert Nyathi (Zimbabwe’s Premier Performance Poet and National Poetry Award Winner) who many of you may have seen at gigs or Womad. Paul Tubb (Ireland)
and Neal Zetter (London) both work in schools and libraries and festivals. Ted has organised festivals ,books and gigs in Croydon, Rosemary runs great Big Mouth Poetry gigs in Bristol. Stu, Dennis Gould, Adam Horovitz, Peter Wyton, Peter Tickner and Jeff Cloves (all Stroud) are all wonderful LIVE poets .There are also quite a few other who I know do loads of stuff out there , but we just haven’t connected yet.
We always wanted individual poem-subject-theme sections :
“clubs, games, grounds, players, philosopy, nostalgia, Euros, World Cup, FA & Carling Cup, , Scottish Welsh and Irish Cup, European Leagues and Cups, Nationwide, The Championship, Non League, Homeless World Cup, Scottish, Welsh and Irish League, African Nations Cup, Racism , Womens’ Football, History and perhaps a section on ‘What the Romans did for us apart from roads, sanitation, taxes, baths and RomanCandel fireworks of course. I’d still love it. Individual sections too for each person to re-style or as they say today ‘re-pimp their profile’, f they want.
This would allow your own personal integrated site in your own colours, message board etc.. Every one would then have their own place, pic, bio, gigs, cds, books, in which they could publicise all their stuff., if they wanted . It may come.
On top of it all , like you all, I have to juggle the editing , correcting, spam and virus prevention with keeping my own self-employed music business (CTM) together. Lastly (no sympathy please), my wife Jennie has also been very ill for the past five years, which has slowed down the pursuits of progress I guess and made it diffiicult at times just to keep the site going,. So big thanks to Clik and Pete especially and to Kevin, Ted, Rosemary, Stu , Adam, Mat and Damo for their support . But we keep on. Ever hopeful of promotion and avoiding relegation or even worse extinction. At least you can still stand up to wirite and perform at our site (ground!) Bottom line – I’m basically an old (Football) hippy poet who’s liteally been to 20 live games only in the last 8 year