1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Thanks for Gordon Banks and Yashin was smashin’,
(And feline, too; a hint of the animal, as well as madness,
Is appealing in a goalie, don’t you think?)
But the name that I beg is that of Harry Gregg,
Who went back into the aeroplane at Munich in 1958,
And pulled out the injured;
No-one has ever made saves like him.
At right back, no name, alack, springs to mind,
Apart from that of 4-4-0, City of Truro,
1st steam locomotive to hit 100 miles an hour,
Swindon built and the pride of the West Country,
I can see it speeding down the bye-line like an express train.
Centre half would have to be a proper stopper,
And though the name of Chopper Harris harries my mind,
I have to go for my old mate Jimbo Johnstone from the Sunday League,
40 Capstan a day and 12 pints on a Saturday Night
And on a Sunday Morning, he could stop Tom, let alone Albert Finney.
Left half has to be Duncan Edwards, Duncan, Duncan Edwards,
Immortal stained glass hero from Dudley,
Gentle Giant, Rocket Shot, Wizard of the Dribble, Turner on a Tanner,
Terrier in the Tackle, he made every football cliché come true,
And posthumously taught me how to learn the boyhood skills of the game,
“Play Soccer the Duncan Edwards Way”, best Christmas present ever.
Left back has to be Euclid or Pythagoras,
Whether on mud, plastic or grass,
They could always play a slide rule of a pass,
To our right half , Julius Caesar,
(Oh Tempora! Oh Mores! Oh! Arsenal!
Remember the Ides of March 1969)
Who could pass a ball better than he could the Rubicon.
Outside right will be my Dad,
Lifting the suits off the Burtons’ male mannequins,
To impress the girls in the Saturday night dance halls,
Then speeding down the wing for Swindon ‘Buses,
Before smuggling the suits back in on a 1930’s Monday;
Just the ticket for a tricky number seven.
At number 8 we will find Martin Luther King,
No deep lying schemer, but instead a truthful dreamer
Of visions of freedom, liberty and equality;
But Civil Rights will not just be at inside right in our team,
For Martyr Luther King will inspire the World.
Upfront will be Roy of the Rovers,
The alliterative striker with the onomatopoeic shot,
Whose gentle mythopoeic sportsmanship will be complemented
By the uncompromising aggression of Boadicea,
Whose Chariot of Ire will cut a swathe through any Roma defence.
And who shall our left winger be? So many to choose from!
I plump for 1649 Gerard Winstanley,
For such a Digger could easily double up as a groundsman,
And when we run out onto the pitch,
We shall read his homily above our head,
“Let all quietly enjoy land to work upon,
That every one may enjoy the benefit of their creation,
And eat their bread by the sweat of their brow.”
Can there be better team work than that?
And there’s no substitute for that either.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/top-footballers-11/