In April 2008, we welcomed the following new contributors to this site :
Click on the names above to see that person’s poem(s), or browse some selected first efforts below :
Looking for a Knockdown
I`ve been looking for a knockdown
A shimmy or a nutmeg
In me little bag of tricks.
I`ve curled it
And I`ve chipped it, but
I can`t turn on the flame,
My final third is dismal
There`s a much more pressing game.
© steve hill 5/4/2008
My interest in football was , like many, galvanised by the build-up to the World Cup. First match: Wolves 1 Crystal Palace 1. Davey Burnside equalising in the second half. What useful stuff we remember…for we are blokes.
I feel like a pensioner
now the pensioners have all gone.
Shut my eyes and travel back
to the roads I once walked on.
Led like a giant python
by old bill holding hands.
The smell of burning onions
pumping out of burger vans.
To where a corrugated iron temple
rising above the mere spectator.
Clunk through the under sixteens
to the sound of Liquidator.
Take my seat in what was the benches
but is now all plastic and chrome.
And as the ref blows for kick off
it still feels good to be at home.
LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, JULES RIMET.
Soccer’s like a baroque poem
of players you have a gem
of a rose, for the rest
you sort out a petal best
the linear, dewy morn
than after a long, dry, circling
time, by the rootstock shaking
(oh the athletics of the thorn!) ,
unless a rumble of war
red or whatever flags
bawdy or moral tags
darken the lucky star.
© nicky kelly
Behind The Ball
Analysts of football matches often say that all
The men in the defending team have “got behind the ball.”
Am I right to think this is as daft as it could be?
To show you why I do, I offer an analogy:
If you walk towards a door and there is someone in your way,
Is he behind you, or in front of you? Now, which would you say?
It would be very puzzling if you said ‘Behind,’
So surely it can not be thought that I am being unkind
In believing that the commentators are not talking sense
When saying the same thing about a football team’s defence.
I’m going to my garden now. I’m going to prune a tree.
The saw is stored inside my shed; the door’s in front of me!
© Anthony Hofler 2008
A Life or Death Situation
2-2 is the score
5 minutes to go.
Both teams are lagging
Wet and cold in the snow.
Why not call off this game
I hear you say.
Why it’s a crucial game to the season
Whatever anyone might say.
At 89 minutes
My fellow striker scores!
Oh what a great relief
Team spirit returns, and more.
The final whistle
Oh at long last!
A win for us this time
They will want to forget, this game put in the past.
© hannah brown
And the library from Highbury
Sons of Shankly send ’em home.
© Robbie Barrett
Kop will be in full voice for this one, bouncing in row 306
Liverpool 3 arsenal 1
Torres 2 Gerrard 1 – arsenal 1 (pen)
Crossing the White Line
Tull could see that the Germans had broken through,
So in retreat he led his frightened men,
Who realised their chances now were few,
Of getting back to their own lines again.
As shells and bullets screamed their mean intent,
Walter’s life seemed to flash before his eyes,
A grand drama began in Folkestone Kent,
Takes one more final curtain here and dies.
As lines of bullets zipped above his head,
He hoped and prayed that they would pass him by,
But from amongst that deadly shower of lead,
A shot struck him and passed out near his eye.
As the thunder of the guns died in dark,
He felt his mind begin to drift away,
To a painful time which had left its mark,
His father’s death, a sad and tragic day.
He saw his arms around his brother wound,
On a cold, wintry scene from long ago,
As father’s coffin slid beneath the ground,
To Bethnal Green they knew they had to go.
And then himself a boy at Bonner Road,
Dressed in the colours of their football team,
His reddened eyes, the signs of tears they showed,
As Glasgow bound his brother left the scene.
Once more he held Clapton’s Amateur cup,
Their six goal win had been his final game,
For the grand sum of ten pounds he’d signed up,
For mighty Spurs in search of football fame.
South America in nineteen hundred and nine, (1909)
Helped him gain the respect of all at Spurs,
Prepared him to cross over the white line,
To face up to every challenge that occurs.
‘THE FIRST BLACK PLAYER SINCE ARTHUR WHARTON,’
‘TULL’S PASSING SKILLS PLAY SUCH A CRUCIAL ROLE.’
Some headlines praised but some would report on,
His Spurs games using names like ‘Darkie’ Tull.
When it all went wrong down at Bristol City,
Where the crowd screamed out their names of racial hate,
He’d needed Spurs support, not their pity,
But what they did was hard to contemplate.
Instead of helping him when he was down,
They’d made him leave and join a smaller club,
A lower league side called Northampton Town,
From Spurs this seemed like such an awful snub.
It’d felt like that first day at Bonner Road,
But boss Chapman had loved him like a son,
And through his skill upon the pitch he showed,
That those thugs who’d abused him had not won.
Rangers had just offered a bright future,
When he’d opted to ‘PLAY THE GREATER GAME.’
War put football in a different picture,
Playing on would have only offered shame.
He’d signed up as a Footy Volunteer
And joined the likes of Vivian Woodward,
He’d wanted to prove that he had no fear,
Of fighting as an English soldier should.
The Somme he’d somehow managed to survive,
As his mates fell one after another.
Shell shocked and so lucky to be alive.
He’d been sent to England to recover.
He’d been a Sergeant, one of the lads, when
Returned to France he’d found that they’d all gone,
He’d felt just like an orphan once again,
But still did his duty and soldiered on.
What his orders told him broke every rule,
‘TULL TO REPORT TO GLASGOW O.T.C.’
‘Back then the Army’s rules said in battle’
Black officers should surely never be.
As the first Black Briton to lead in war,
He’d made history fighting in Italy.
Why he’d won no medal he wasn’t sure,
As he’d once been listed for an M.C.
Now here he was in France about to die,
Returned back to the Somme to meet his fate,
A pale gold ball above him in the sky,
Perhaps they played the game at heaven’s gate.
Just at the moment Tull, our hero, died,
The sun’s bright rays broke through the gloom to shine,
As Private Billingham knelt down and cried,
Walter crossed that white line one final time.
Now I am a soldier with no known grave,
I was orphan, footballer, soldier…
-The first Black combat officer,
Dear Eddie, do they still remember me?
Walter, your name will live for evermore.
© Peter Daniel February 2008
This poem was written as part of a Heritage Lottery project run by Westminster Archives to celebrate the life of Walter Tull. Tull was orphaned at the age of 10 but became a pioneering black footballer with Spurs before becoming Britian’s first black combat officer in 1917. He was sadly killed at the Somme on 25th March 1918. On the 90th anniversary of this remarkable man’s death we acknowlege a truly great Briton.