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Poems tagged ‘Premier League reflections’

Liverpool- Arsenal

Oh for the teeth clenching
Agonising, hiding behind
Transistor radios that are
A traditional metaphor
For the last day of the
Premier League season
Finger nails bitten
In chronic anxiety
But today, the
Season takes a sharp chicane
Before leaving its smoky vapours
Pouring from exhausted exhausts
Liverpool against Arsenal
Take centre stage
It feels like 1989
When Michael Thomas
Pre-empted lovely Brian
Moore’s so apt summary
‘It’s up for grabs’
And Thomas lunges out
A dramatic foot
Arsenal win the old
First Division by
A hairs breadth no more
Than a slender thread
It couldn’t have come any
Closer
Anfield shocked to the
Core, King Kenny
Barely believing
The evidence of his eyes
But then this was always
The case between the Reds
Of Merseyside and the even
More magenta and crimson
Pillar box red of Arsenal
Who had to be satisfied
With yellow on this Friday night
That broke the mould
Then at the beginning of the 21st
Century, the birthplace of new
Adventures for both
Liverpool and Arsenal
Meet head to head in Cardiff
FA Cup Final, 2001
For it was another breathless year
A very young Michael Owen
Unfurled his youthful toreador’s
Cape of Good Hope
Liverpool find retribution
For the 1971 meeting
Of great minds
Owen scores the decisive winner
So that the Kop can release all
Of that pent up emotion
Therapy for the masses on the Mersey
Liverpool, enraptured by the historic
Pages of the FA Cup,
In thrall to its timeless charms
And yet back in 1971
Arsenal poised to complete
The rarest of Doubles
First Division League champions
Ensured at the furnace heat
Of White Hart Lane
Cut throat tensions
Ray Kennedy
Gives Spurs the bloodiest
Of noses
At Wembley days later
Charlie George
A 1970s poster boy
Crashes home winner
For the grateful Gunners
A shot of such
Bloodthirsty savagery
And vigorous, vehement
Intent that some believe
Victorious voices could
Still be heard at Highbury
Cheering from Gillespie Road
Arsenal they insist in London
Tube station vernacular
Shaking from the rafters
Where the Clock End
Reverberating to hymnns of joy
Win the first of Double Diamonds
Yours is a pint
Hours after the FA Cup
Final at the dawn of the Seventies
And was it George Graham
Or Eddie Kelly squeezing home
The first of
Arsenal’s opening salvo?
So it is once again
This afternoon,
Circumstances almost
Completely unlike
Anything that high society
Had predicted
At season’s beginning
Liverpool, not nearly
Their familiar selves
And out of the running
For anything in particular
Europe, a distant destination
Not even close to their best
Mid table now
More Majorca bound rather
Than Champions League
But nonetheless still
A magical name on the lips
Of the elite and discerning
League champions and most
Recently Premier League champs
A class above all the rest
This afternoon Arsenal head
For Anfield as Premier League
Champions in all but name
Five now but quite possibly
Eight points in front
Surely or maybe
We’re jumping the gun
Mikel Arteta’s supreme Gunners
Irresistible as the first day
Of spring, autumn and winter
Life in all of its profuse blossom
The Arsenal of Xhaka, Partey, Jesus,
Saka, Odegaard, a valiant Viking,
All of the right fixtures and fittings
A compelling vision of red sunsets
Over North London’s Easter Parade
Bring your eggs of chocolate
To Arsenal’s open top bus of triumph
Champions again
Unless we’re very much mistaken
Not so much a case of where but
When.

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Forest back in the big time.

Forest back in the big time
Where once Cloughie lorded
It on high
Pacifist against QPR
When long ago
The League Cup
Threatened his tranquillity
But Cloughie rounded on
Violators with the wildest
Of flailing fists
Young man you have transgressed
Never darken these corridors
At the City Ground again
But Brian Clough knew purity
When he saw it
And advocated the principles
Of terra firma, football flowed
With the fluidity of the River
Trent.
Old First Division champions
Twice in a row
But at the end of the 1970s
When it seemed
Punk rebellion
Had burnt the midnight oil
And then broke out with
Riotous intentions
Forest were paragons of virtue
Liquid gold on grass
Passing of diamond
And yes quite topically
Platinum with a lustre
Matchless and timeless
O’ Hare, Mcgovern, Gemmill,
Robertson, Francis, Burns,
Lloyd, Birtles, conductors
With a thousand batons
Footballing engineering
Of the finest draughtsmanship
Then European Cup holders
Twice in succession
Miracles written in the finest
Handwriting. But Malmo and
Hamburg knew their place
For Cloughie and Taylor
This was another day in the office
In boxes now exhausted
Go on lads you deserved the
Plaudits, fulsome bouquets
Of lavish praise showered
Upon you again
But the City Ground is alive
Again but never really died
Nottingham Forest back
In the big time
Soulful and delighted
To be here.

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The Premier League season’s end.

Not quite the end for the Premier League
Toilers and grafters,
Silk weavers and sculptors
Clay and rock
Granite and gossamer
Oh what a season
For claret and blue
Maturity complete
Four in the fens
At forlorn Norwich
No more bumper crops
For Canaries subdued
By battle hardened West Ham
Sadly lost in that proverbial coalmine
Where only the defiant cries
Of last autumn can be salvaged
From the lonely loitering
Of Norfolk folk who can remember
Early season promise
But now back again
In the Championship
It must feel like manure and peat
And burning ashes
Norwich’s salad days will return
Permanently, they hope
When Dean Smith re-discovers
Bearings and pleasant feelings
Meanwhile at the top of the filthy
Wealthy Premier League,
Manchester City’s Arab sheikhs
Are hovering over gushing oil wells
Of glittering trophies, Another
Premier League title
City yet to play as we speak
But Liverpool are gasping
In desperate need of oxygen
And snookers to overtake
The relentless Etihad machine
Full of powerful pistons and pulleys
Liverpool held by Spurs
Now seemingly hitting a marathon
Wall. Anfield resigned to the worst
But no longer under the spiritual
Influence of Bob Paisley or Shanks
Or the generous Fagan, Joe of
The Boot Room, all part of the
Liverpool furniture. And yet
This season could go to the last tick
Of the clock, the final minute of
A season of sumptuous sauces
Thick, lavish helpings of seconds
On the last day
Final hurrahs,
Nail biters and transistor radios
Down or up, loyal fans
Barely able to look, understand
Or imagine the full impact
Tears of joy and happiness
This is football, heavy
With gripping emotion and pathos
Let’s bring on Shakespeare to score
The glorious winner
From the subs bench
Stratford Upon Avon’s finest
Deep lying forward
Relegation or promotion
Terraces rocking and rolling
Burying heads or swarming
Onto the pitch in their united
Overwhelming hundreds and thousands
Multitudes of moping melancholy
Broken by the strain
The gravy train
But then we congratulate
Those with promotion in their midst
So there could be
Palpitations, shredded nerves
Spurs and Arsenal
Going head to head
Toe to toe
For Champions League
Blue riband contests
North London gloating rights
Inferior or superior
Two games to go
Local red blooded animosities
Fierce, inflamed passions
Spurs gain a point
Now Arsenal still in full flight
A steamroller towards the finishing
Line. Arsenal gain the upper hand
Against lively, yet stumbling Leeds
Just about safe from the dreaded drop
But a team not entirely sure
Where the future may take them
The Foxes of Leicester
Creeping out into tentative spring
Sunlight but devoured by ravenous
Toffees of Everton who look at the
Sweet jars of survival and chew
Delightedly at the scraps
Then the Bees of Brentford
Three more points and
Honeycombs left behind
By the Saints
Certainly not paragons of virtue
Season nosediving into nowhere
Southampton, just creditable
And nothing more
Wondering what exactly Mick
Channon, David Peach and
The dearly beloved
And much missed Bobby Stokes
Would have made of muddled
Predicaments near the bottom
Of the Premier League
Then quite sensationally the
Dark, satanic mills of the Red
Devils of Manchester United
Plunge into hellish fires
At the seaside end of piers
Of Brighton who must have
Thought the Punch and Judy
Show had come to the Amex
Stadium, United thumped on the
Nose, bleeding profusely with
Deeply hurt pride, offended
By their ordinary offerings
This season
Burnley perched on the trapdoor
And at Turfmoor,
Now fighting for their lives
Could Lowry still be on their side
Among industrial bleakness, factory
Gates clanking, relegation cries
Out at clocking on for workaday
Duties, the dark smoke of demotion
Clings desperately to grubby overalls
Of a season worn down by relegation
Clouds now hanging like white flags of
Surrender
Mike Jackson, now no longer in charge
of Thrillers and probably Beat It
Anyway.
Then Chelsea running on empty
Held by threatening Wolves
At the Bridge of Sighs
But nevertheless in the Champions
League waiting rooms
Watford Hornets now sadly stung
By yet more Palace royalty
Demotion back to the lower dungeons
Of haunted Championship confinement
Roy Hodgson, a master tactician
But now retirement may well beckon
The Premier League
We’ll miss you
When the final bugles are heard

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