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Poems tagged ‘Nostalgia’

Football Questions without an Answer

Was Banks as good as Jennings?
Was Ball as good as Bell?
Was Ray Clemence as good as Shilton?
Was Matt or Channon the King of the Dell?
Was Greavsie better than Denis Law?
Was Osgood better than Hurst?
Would Lorimer kick harder than Charlton?
Would Jim Baxter match Georgie Best’s thirst?

Was Norman much harder than Nobby?
Was Chopper much harder than Vinny?
Was Willie Henderson more gifted than Johnstone?
Was Matthews more gifted than Finney?
Was Ronaldo as brilliant as Messi?
Was Eusebio as brilliant as Cruyff?
Was Maradona as brilliant as Pele?
Or as Davie Duncan who played for East Fife?

Was Lampard as good as Steve Gerrard?
Was Rodney as good as Stan Bowles?
Was Owen as good as Rob Fowler
When it came to scoring the goals?
Was Lineker better than Rushie
When it came to finding the net?
Was Merson better than Gillespie
When it came to placing a bet?
Was Rooney better than Gazza?
Was Hoddle better than Waddle?
Was Worthington better than Beckham
When it came to pulling a model?

Are Celtic better than Rangers?
Are Barca ahead of Madrid?
Are City ahead of United?
And was Summerbee better than Kidd?

Was Sir Matt on par with Sir Alex?
Was Shankly on par with Jock Stein?
Was Cloughie on par with Don Revie?
Was Bryan Robson better than Keane?

So we’ll all disagree down the local
And put our own views on the Net
Check our friend Mister Google for an answer
And challenge our friends to a bet.
But unfortunately, there’s no correct answer
You might as well – just pick a name
Cos we all have our own strong opinions
Of the greats who played this old game.

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Wembley 99

For the first time in history in the third tier
Some misguided souls thought there’d be nothing to fear
As we sang to ourselves that we weren’t really here
Away trips to some truly grisly dives
Against opponents who came out to scrap for their lives
And after every defeat out came the knives
Losses at Lincoln, York and Wycombe
Teams with a mantra of “If they move, kick ‘em!”
Delusions of grandeur? We got told where to stick ‘em

A leader was needed and for that we can thank
A West-Country bruiser, built like a tank
Whose dressing room speeches were brutally frank
“Roll your sleeves up and scrap, or get out of my sight
If you lot wanna play, you gotta fight for the right
Only then will we get ourselves out of this plight”
Mid-table at Christmas, still way off the pace
But we edged slowly upwards, finished up in third place
With a spot in the playoffs, and a chance to save face

For typical City this was hardly a given
But the Goat’s last of the season was truly a big ‘un
As we nervously scraped past mighty Wigan
For a trip to Wembley, football home of the nation
Blues arrived part in hope, and part trepidation
Cos defeat there would mean absolute desolation

The Gills were roared on by thirty thousand from Kent
The first ever live game for fifty percent
Most with no real idea of how much this game meant
A game low on class but sky-high on tension
Buckets of sweat but so little invention
With barely a moment of quality to mention
Ten minutes from time, Asaba put them ahead
And when Big Fat Bob hit a second, we all thought we were dead
Blues flocked in droves to the exits, tearful eyes turning red
Then Super Kev slotted home, to keep slim hopes alive
The added time board showed a big bright five
Up went the roar from those who stayed behind

Long ball lumped forward, flicked on to The Goat
In came the tackle, roars stuck in our throat
Ran loose in the box, to our fiery wee Scot
With just enough space to fire one last shot
The ball glanced off a shin as it sped through the rain
Flashed into the net, his best man clawed in vain
As the Gills in the posh seats choked on their champagne
Dickov fell to his knees and slid on the turf
Who could imagine how much that goal would be worth?

Now the momentum was all on our side
As early leavers galore made their way back inside
But the extra half-hour was incident-free
We’d need spot-kicks to escape from Division Three
This was the time for our keeper to shine
Looking like a colossus as he stood on his line
Blocked their first kick to put us in the box seat
Their second flew wide, couldn’t cope with the heat
Edgy buried his shot, hit the roof of the net
Ran off kissing the badge, as Blue as you’ll get
(Something the boo-boys would quickly forget)
Their next man stepped forward, if he missed say goodnight
Struck the ball firm and true but Weaver guessed right
With a big gormless grin, lost his mind and took flight
Careered round the pitch like a man demented
His place in our history forever cemented

These last years had been too bad to be true
Without doubt the worst of times to be Blue
We’d just had to suffer them winning the treble
Every week they’d enjoyed the luck of the devil
But four days after the travesty of their European glory
We’d created our own miraculous story
They mocked us for toasting our triumph so small
To those arrogant bastards it hardly mattered at all
But what we’d seen on this on this magical May afternoon
Was the first waxing crescent of a brand new Blue Moon

At long last our fortunes had changed direction
Now we don’t look back in anger, more with affection
From this all-time low to Pep Guardiola
From Not Really Here to Glad All Over
For ten years now our great city’s been blue
With six Premier league titles and lots of cups too
SO WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?

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The Worst Match I Ever Saw

Notts County v Rochdale,
Meadow Lane, ’96.
Fog draped like a theatre curtain
over the halfway line.

Behind our goal with pie and peas
we watch the action fade away,
hoofed into the unknown,
dribbled into the mist.

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Football at Christmas always seemed too much.

It always seemed too much
Of a good thing,
Unappetising, too heavy
After the mountainous
Helpings of turkey and sprouts
Just unpalatable
Particularly when your
Stomach felt like
The washing machine
You’d bought the day
Before
And yet there used
To be football on
Christmas Day and
The trains ran for
Free and then
In the winter of 1963
The old First Division
Developed indigestion
So grandma suggested
Rennies so we gathered
Around only to discover
That there were 66 of the
Best goals in the land
On Boxing Day, presents galore
Pampered we were
Honoured to be in the land
Of watefalls and cascades of
Goals, washing over our
Living rooms, a drunken
Stupor that left us delirious
With joy
Fulham score 10
Against Ipswich
Blackburn indulge
In East End feasts
Of cockles and whelks
At West Ham with
Eight of the best
Liverpool demolish
The Potteries of Stoke
6-1,
And for all the world
It all seems as if the
Beers and ales
Of that festive day
Had blended with
Mince pies, and
Goals were raining
Down from Biblical
Heavens and strikers
With boots that weighed
A ton were just involved
In a goal scoring infatuation
With nets fit to burst
And they did as if for fun
When Coronation Street
Was simply in childhood
And the streets echoed
To our game of football
Dribbling nonchalantly
Around lampposts
And then laughing at
The shots that landed
In distant shires
And counties of England’s
Green land
With an emphatic statement
Of youth and regardless
Of age and class
We kept playing on
Christmas Day
For everybody played
Football in festive moods
Tinsel on our Man Utd
Shirts, turkey leftovers
Hiding in the red of
Liverpool and Arsenal
Who cared about the
Supposed excesses of football
Over Christmas
When moderation
Seemed the last of
Our thoughts
So we rushed out
To the pavements
Where once again
Amid the thickening snow
We could be the Beckenbauer
Liberos of the future
Or Bobby in his imperious suit
But nobody worried about
Christmas over football
For it was our game
Forever more.

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Grass Roots

‘66, I missed it altogether
couldn’t see past my mother’s womb
although at some point in the second half
I attempted to

kick my way out

War and Peace on the floor, never mind
England’s glory repeated
in black and white clips after Play for Today
we rarely heard the end of how

Mum never found her place again.

Shoot for the moon, Dad told me in ‘74
when he got me a ball, goals made
from surplus netting, wooden canes
and hey there, Georgie geh’l,
watch where yer headin’

one strike and out of bounds

next door’s freshly watered mud-patch
clod-hopper boots and my sky-blue ball
hoed-out, it emerged
smutted, smeared
and through a straggle of weeds

the old man’s face

hole in his sweater the size of his green
furred-up mouth, head back, chortling,
So you think you can be the best?

Catch this!

Slow, quick, quick, quick, quick, slow
and through the air, a spinning globe,
a planet… Earth.

It slipped through my fingers.

Georgie, Georgie girl, reaching up
pinning posters to the wall
and just for a moment believing
she too had the world at her feet.

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Identity Crisis

The tea-leafing young git
Tried to half-inch our convent school’s kit
In The L.C.C dressing room prior to the game
Stood (like us) in absolute stiches of mirth
As a park keeper sniffed a well-seasoned shirt
and from the tag read a strong English name.

I remember answering to W. Smith
Dinny, to R.G. Asquith
Little Francie being P.T. Fortescue
Declan still hears C.S Bates
From close knit family and mates
When we’ve indulged in a few at a do.

If Nelsons are short
Mere slips a bhoys needing kit to do sport
Pray the nuns find a new set of shirts for the team?
Their prayers having miserably failed
The canny nuns still prevailed (and got us out gaol)
By storming a jumble sale, in search of our dream.

In the full-on scrum for team shirts
Sister Louise tripping over her skirts
Entertained a church-hall of chain-smoking hags
Though I’m obviously forever indebted to The Sis
She didn’t have to suffer a joshing as W. Smith
Having refused to remove those English name-tags.

Ah sure the poverty, the poverty
That sense of sheer abject why always me?
A burden through-out life I’ve strived to dismiss
Mind you, watching a recent game on T.V
At fella’s sporting; gloves, bra’s, hosiery?
I’ll settle for close mates joshing me as W. Smith.

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Oi Ref…Swap Goalie?

“Oi Ginger! Go in goal?
Jimmy, you’re no good so ‘n so
You’re as useful as a fork for sipping soup”,

“But…Enda…”
“Ginger, I know you wanna play full- back
But six-two down, us getting thrashed
You in goal, there’s a chance we might improve”.

Sporting a raging bleating hump
I gave leather spherical a thump
Spat on me gloves, crossed myself in prayer
Dancing back to guard the battered goal
Cursing Jimmy, the so ‘n so
Firing daggers at him via a flaming glare.

Punching a corner unopposed
I’m dancing on tip toes
Twelve years old the saviour of the side
Wallowing in wondrous self esteem
I’m every London-Irish captain’s dream…
That young fella, Enda called to stem the tide.

In the eighteen yard box on me Tod
Rising rueful from the dewy sod
Smell of dubbined leather neath me chin
A gorgeous face beside the goal
Smiles, applauds, and stops mid-stroll,
“Hello Ginger bhoy, I’m Enda’s cousin, Erin”.

Making saves, struggling to talk
Fazed by simmering brown eyes, here, from Cork
A welcome distraction to keep the deficit at six
Braggadocio insists I scream, n shout
Inspiration of a sculptured marble pout
Leaning on my post, a blade a grass between moist lips.

The final whistle blows…six-four
Enda roars, “Three Cheers”, (Can’t recall who for?)
I’ve other stuff in mind than to shake a muddy hand
Striding across a sodden field of green
All of a sudden, my recently discovered dream
Sped off in the front of a Transit van, with Enda’s mam.

Christening Hooley, a table full of mates
Enda mentioned, Erin emigrated to The States
Wed a good for nothing lazy get, gave up the ghost
I prefer to recall the day, fate deemed I go in goal
Simmering brown eyes caressed my soul
Blade a grass twixt moist lips, pouting ‘gainst a post.

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Diplomatic Relations.

Drop a rare old mountain dew
Flask passed twixt a few
Helped keep howling cross field chills at bay
After mass, hastily assembled over The Scrubs,
Few muckers and close bloods
Deemed a proper pukka start to one’s Sunday.

These German students, so they say
Apparently primed for affray in their play
Intended inflicting hurt, right from the off,
Angry screams of, “Oi You! Referee!
Didn’t you see that quare fella kick me”,
Provoking fake angelic postures, or a scoff.

Visiting, The Smoke, on an indiscreet week-end
With her latest in highly questionable dubious men
Dominic’s nan grimaced at every blow he took,
“Holy Mother of J.C, where are yeer specs, referee
How come ye, and yer linesman didn’t see
That big blond galoot, give the child a sly right hook?

I’ve a beady eye on you Blondie
Any more of that, yee’ll be answering to me”,

Dominic’s nan warned the fly Teutonic winger
Whom didn’t seem troubled in the least?
Sporting a smile exposing glistening rows of teeth
Set off by that sign irks all nationalities…the finger.

Approaching respite of half time
Racing along the touch-line
Blonde Adonis seemed a certainty to score
That is, till a sly kick in the shin,
By an old one, enjoying a week-end soiree of sin,
Put the kybosh on, like a deft left to the jaw.

Lying prone on the grass
A discreet kick to your man’s Khyber Pass
Drew banshee like screams indicating proper pain
Helping the poor hurted child to his feet
Dominic’s nan gave his ear a subtle tweak
Smiling at his, hobbling for remainder of the game.

Over plate’s a boiled bacon, spuds and cabbage
Later, on that afternoon, after watching The Big Match
Dominic’s nan, proved her prowess as an able bar-room singer
Her choice in men, might have been a long way off au fait,
Who cares? Sure, tis not every day, your gran provokes affray
As yon German bhoy found out, after giving Dominic’s nan…the finger.

Peace.

Try n stay sage, come what may, and have a right blinding day.

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Right Outsider

the position I cherished
but never had the chance to play
for the team at Junior School –

my friend, David D, best five-stones
player and fag-packet flicker of
the playground, and always our superb
right winger who I loved to watch –
so much faster, trickier, neater –
admiringly

and Senior School the same – again
a friend, Michael L who, with so much
skill, still I never got to play for the school

but made it at least to my house team
and felt like a champion for a game
or two or three each year

and played right wing for my Boys’ Brigade
company ¬ so many seasons of crazy games:
winning one week thirty goals to three
losing the next sixteen to one

then at last for me the big time! being selected
for the Battalion to play right wing against
Southampton and Slough when my surprisingly
accurate centering ensured our two-one victory

but it was Jimmy Wheeler most of all I admired –
top goal scorer and right winger all those years
I followed the Biscuitmen before they became
The Royals

his speed, dribbling, centering hardly ever
failing to find Tommy Dixon’s head
or the foot of Jimmy Whitehouse –

that is after Stanley Matthews . . .

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From rec to cheque

“By which a strip of land became a hole in time” – Dúrs Grunbein

The rec still holds the voices:
I pick Petie
I pick Paulie
I pick Danno
I pick Scanner…..
Or is it just compartments of my beleaguered mind, echoing memories?
As I stand where the goalpost used to be… rusted, but not busted
Upstanding, but stooped, like Gramps
But now the lamps
Light only painted bays
Filled during the days
By shoppers, loading their multi-various MPVs
Where once, we had MVPs, buzzing around a blistered ball
Each participant, to their own mind, the most important person on the pitch
For we were Best, Osgood, Law
Charlton, Bremner, Clarke
Marinello, George, Greaves
Greatness replicated in stick insects
That ran around like ants
Each following the sugar trail of a tattered bag of wind
With its mystical, magical, alluring quality
That had us screaming with pleasure

Now the only treasure
Is what is loaded into big voluminous boots – not studded ones
But spaces filled with dogs, hunting gear, hampers and tools
And all things anathema
To the spirits, of golden days of yore

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Source: https://footballpoets.org/news/poem-tags/nostalgia/