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An old friend

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Yes folks there’s
An old friend
On our doorstep again
The hardy perennial flower
That normally makes itself
Welcome on the verge
Of the springtime blooms
But not quite yet
Still, it’s the Carabao Cup
Final this weekend
The old League Cup Final
Not the glamorous
Mardi Gras of the May
Merriment and mirth
Of the FA Cup Final
But still just and honourable
A fitting precursor
To the ultimate showdown
At season’s end
Dancing in the silhouettes
Of football’s moody moments
Where the Premier League
Lays down its final
Statement and underlines
Its vehement signature
The old League Cup Final
That Alan Hardaker
Brainchild, 64 years ago
That long ago, hey
Ready and waiting to take
Out its pension
Next year
But no thoughts of retirement
Just yet
First it was Rochdale, Norwich
And Aston Villa
In the days before Wembley
Came calling
When there were two legs
And football was played
In black and white
Then in 1967
Queens Park Rangers
The Loftus Road legends
Milking the applause
Of that iconic year
Amid their neighbours
Chelsea who would embrace
The mud, muck and bullets
Of the Horse of the Year
Show of 1970
When the FA Cup Final
Went to a replay against
The Don Revie Leeds
And Wembley looked as
If it were about to
Produce its first radishes
And rhubarbs on that muddy
Allotment site known as Wembley
A muddied disgrace
But that was the charm of
The game back then
But the League Cup still
Holds the fascination of
The masses
If only because
It yields the tangible
Silverware of a trophy
On the day
There was Spurs
In early 1970s skirmishes
Manchester City in 1974
When the acrobatic genius
Of Dennis Tueart discovered
A gymnastic bicycle overhead kick
To bring back
The League Cup to Maine Road
Many decades before the Etihad
Exhibition years
And Premier Leagues
Festivities to talents
From far and wide
Across the globe
Then there was Cloughie
Leading out Forest from
The rich canopies of trees
Narrowly clinching victory
League Cup glory against
The Saints who almost went
Marching on
Southampton perhaps
On a different page
Of that historic day
And year when Mrs T
Took charge and stayed
There almost indefinitely
Of course Liverpool and Manchester
United muscled in on the
Same territory
The big boys and household
Names that still echo down
The years
But then the brief
Excursion into
The land of fantasy
Swansea kept the home
Fires of Wales burning
5-0 winners of the now
Heavily sponsored League Cup
Against Bradford City
One of Yorkshire’s finest
Amongst many
Once in a blue moon
But a pleasant surprise
Nonetheless
And finally Manchester City
Unstoppably, unassailable
Thousands of country miles
Ahead of the rest
Current holders of
Everything in sight
Including the Carabao Cup
If only Rochdale and Norwich
Knew at the birthplace
Of the old League Cup
Teething problems at first
But now full maturity
Chelsea and Liverpool
It had to be them
The Carabao Cup
Acknowledged by most
If not all.

Notes

It’s the Carabao Cup Final this weekend.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/an-old-friend/