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I tore at the paper, all golden and shiny,
Revealing the box with its bright cartoon label.
“Blow Football!” I shrieked, in my voice small and tiny,
And ran with it straight to the old kitchen table.
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The small plastic pitch had a crease in the centre,
Which Dad, with experience, soon ironed out.
And very soon, I and my footballing mentor
Were blowing the small orange football about.
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Veering and swirling, the ball careered wildly,
The players soon covered in droplets of spittle.
“It must have been raining,” my Mam remarked mildly,
And, in between deep breaths, I smiled a little.
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Sometimes the players would find it too breezy,
And ended up falling headlong on the table.
We suspected that some of them went down too easy,
And felt that their temperament was quite unstable.
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‘Twas a short nine-day wonder, until it got boring.
It took far too long just to set it all up,
But the players and goals still saw plenty of scoring,
As I used all the bits for my own FA Cup.
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It’s thirty five years since that game filled my senses,
No eyelid was batted when Mam threw it out,
For life isn’t lived in historical tenses,
And changing perspectives are what life’s about.
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But now, with the Portuguese finals upon us,
Those blow football memories come back underpinned,
As highly skilled athletes all battling for honours,
Are tossed through the air at the whim of the wind.
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As if, up above, the gods blow through their straws
To leave all our footballing heroes dismayed,
For the players go tumbling o’er with scant cause,
And can’t keep their feet when a tackle is made.
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The ball may be silver, not orange and plastic,
The players cost millions, not one or two pence.
Yet in other ways, differences aren’t quite so drastic,
Their lack of stability makes little sense.
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So blow ye winds, blow, set your fierce cheeks a-cracking,
But footballers play, and deliver the goods!
This modern-day footwear must surely be lacking,
Or maybe it’s merely a question of studs.
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