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My Life As A Football Fan

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 We used to sing that Charlton (Bobby) was better than Pele.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 We knew he wasn’t, objectively, but we hoped the song
Would inspire him to play better. Also, it was a measure
Of our faith. In the team, in our players. The Red Devils. Their

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Collective and individual qualities. An expression of solidarity
Our willingness to stand beside them, even as the firing squad

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 In Goya’s great painting, ‘Third of May 1808’
Took aim and waited the command to fire. Fearless.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 We were inspired and defiant. Bobby was the man
In the white shirt with his arms spread. Christ-like.
Front and centre. More than eight feet by eleven feet.
Colossal. Taller than a goal post if not (quite) as wide.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 When Goya began his masterpiece he was already
In poor health and profoundly deaf. Aged 68. Me.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 He wouldn’t have heard our song even if he had been stood
With us in the middle of the Stretford End. It describes Pele,
A Brazilian (and Eusebio, who played for Benfica, Portugal)

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 As ‘no good bums’, which somewhat diminishes Charlton’s
Status. If they were so rubbish, what kind of achievement
Was it to be better? Surely it would have made more sense
For the song to have elevated them? His contemporaries.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Football fans are an irrational bunch.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Goya’s painting transformed war art, breaking with
The European tradition of depicting kings and generals
And showing us the greater (almost divine) heroism
Of the common man. As luck would have it, United

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Had become the first English football team to win
The European Cup in May 1968, defeating Eusebio
And Benfica at Wembley by four goals to one. Bobby
Charlton scored twice. A glancing header followed
By a beautiful flick with his right foot. I can’t remember

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 If the song came before or after.

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0  

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 Bobby was diagnosed with Dementia and died  aged 86 after an accidental fall in Macclesfield General Hospital on 21 October 2023.

Notes

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Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/my-life-as-a-football-fan/