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In Recogonition of the Non League

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 The non league some would argue
is more exciting then the football league.
And there’s a reason to this arguement

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Firstly the club….
What is there to say about a non league club?
How about that half the time they fight a battle on two fronts
One on the pitch scoring goals
The other off the pitch to survive.
Managment doing paperwork in the backs of cars
Players training in the local park
Watched by a few hundred on a Saturday afternoon at three.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Secondly the fans….
What is there to say about fans of a non league club?
In a word: loyalty
But why leave it there?
The non league fans support their team
through thick and thin to the very end.
They can be found on a freezing Tuesday night
directly behind the goal watching the pre-match.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Shouting at the other fans to look out
as another stray shot misses its target.
But sometimes it can’t be helped
someone’s been hit on the head,
they’ve fallen down and hit their head on the barrier
The other fans crowd around to help
while others shout for the stewards to help .
The physio is called over the match is delayed
as an ambulance is called.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 The strikers start shooting again after the fan is moved
but you daren’t move even though you know it could be you next..
you daren’t move because you love it there behind the goal.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 That’s why you stand there week in week out.
You go again to the next game and see the fan there as right as rain
ready to cheer on his team with a bandage on his head.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Then there’s the team itself….
What is there to say about a non league team?
The Premier League they ask for a twenty five man squad,
we should be so lucky.
For you see to a non league team eighteen is an optimal number
With playing budgets low and the squad small
the team needs to take each match as it comes.
Playing players out of position is not that rare of an occurrence.
Strikers playing in defence,
defending by getting the ball as far away from the ground as possible.
Midfielders in defence and defenders in midfield.
Sometimes its worth wondering what is shuffled more
a deck of cards or a team of non league players?

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 And the grounds they play on may not be the best
as the ball bobbles all over the place and refuses to stay on the ground.
Players run up and down the slope
that makes their ground so unique for ninety minutes

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 And finally there’s the non league itself…
What is there to be said about the non league?

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Fron the Conference Premier to the Sunday League
There’s so much.
Who’s going up, or down?
Or will all the teams survive to see the end of the season?
For you see the non league system works differently
to that of the football league.
A relegated team may get a reprieve if another most be relegated
And the whole blimming system is messed up
if a team drops down not one but two leagues,
lessening the chance of promotion of any other team.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 So the non league isn’t perfect.. whoever said it was?
What the non league is truly about is……
The love of the beautiful game.

Notes

This is the first poem I’ve written that hasn’t touched upon the subject of Hillsborough, but still means as much to me as those poems do as it is written from experience. I’ve seen squad rotations like the ones descriped in the poem, watch my local side train in the school fields in the evening, seen other fans hit by the ball but not as badly as I described in the poem. I myself have been hit twice one on the knee by a striker in a play-off final a couple of seasons back and on the side of the head last season on an away game by the goal-keeping coach.Both were pretty quick to apologise and the bit about playing on a slope wasn’t actually a joke as some of you may have thought. My local side actually do play on a slope and a pretty substantial one at that.
The trials, tears and tribulations of the non league where would we be without them?

Editor Note: Powerful stuff Emily. .Had to make a few grammatical and shifting tweaks here and there, but mainly to make your poem fit the page size. Hope you don’t mind. On a tiny personal level, when I do get to see my local side: Forest Green Rovers play.. (albeit in the so called “glamour” and precariousness of the Conference) there is something incredible about still being able to stand so close to it all.

To feel so vulnerable, as you have highlighted here. To hear the players frustrations and screams from right there, in that moment… behind the goal on that small terrace. That’s maybe why we have stuck by this funny old out of date site. Because we give and get the chance to say the things we feel inside ..that don’t normally get said..about our game.

So poignant too, when we remember with still unanswered questions in our heads, those who stood unknowingly in that same way at Hillsborough that day. Keep on .Crispin

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/in-recogonition-of-the-non-league/