Total Football

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Total Football is when an entire stadium is engrossed in silent Euclidean space-time analysis
Whilst simultaneously chewing on stale meat and potato pies at half time;
Total Football is a constant fluidity of movement and telepathy whereby each player
Moves into the space vacated by another player
Whilst simultaneously signing autograph books for small children leaning over a fence;
Total Football means going Dutch, in a Dutch barn with Dutch elm disease in the joists,
Talking Double Dutch, with Dutch courage, and wearing Dutch caps and a lot of orange;
Total Football is a paradox in that even if all the requisite total football variables
Are not present, if there is still a football match and a football and if this is replete with air,
Then you still have a Total Football, even though it is, as it were, less than Total;
Total Football is seeing your best ever goal or pattern of open play reflected some years later
In a rain streaked railway carriage window as you move through your favourite landscape;
Total Football is catching the ball in the crowd and refusing to return it so that the home team
Is forced to put another on the pitch at which point you return the one you have;
Total Football is by definition not partial yet it impresses neutrals with its artistry and artifice,
Whilst overwhelming the opposition with its power;
Total Football is dreaming of teletext scores and waking up depressed if you have lost
In Slumberland to the Sandmen;
Total Football is possession football, constant inter-passing, with unseen stealthy movement
Which seeks out space or holes in the opposition tactics;
Total Football is the Holy Grail of football and is played for pleasure on Atlantis,
But not for profit;
Total Football is played beneath the sea, the sun, the stars, the sky, the moon,
It is played in Heaven, on the Fields of Elysium, on Lethe, with nectar and ambrosia
At half – time, which needless to say lasts a darn sight longer than 20 minutes,
And yet, doesn’t seem to;
Total Football is the attainable unattainable, the Football of the Gods,
The after life reward for all honest and truthful supporters who seek not glory
Nor switch allegiances with the vagary of form and fashion
But who show faithful obedience to their chosen ones, the ones who cannot play
Total Football.
Total Football is when jagged storm clouds divide the sky in two and play a football match
With the moon as a silver ball and no matter how strong the northern wind,
The football moon stays full and constant and uncovered;
Total Football is hearing a yew tree creak in a churchyard on a storm tossed night
And cold bloodedly thinking of mid-field players by the name of Bowman;
Total Football is Christmas Eve 1914 and 15 in No Man’s Land on the Western Front,
Heilige Nacht when you reach a war zone;
Total Football is listening to Radio 5 on an autumn Saturday afternoon, feeding a robin
In the belief that sympathetic magic can bring Swindon victory and ignoring
The ceaseless American aeroplanes flying overhead;
Total Football is algebraic notation and geometrical white board signification
But not route one navigational trigonometry;
Total Football is a refinement of what is possible in Nature and in chess
Without being an over complication of the obvious;
Total Football is attending a public function with your headphones on for the halftimes,
While all around you are form, formality and dignity;
Total Football is PK-35, the Finnish club run by virtual managers and text messages
Where Democracy controls the manager, for s/he is bound by majority text vote,
And note how the club has since rocketed up the table;
Total Football is hiding a pocketful of old money in your new shorts pockets
And dropping a sixpence on the penalty spot, turning on it, right boot poised,
Ready to hammer the ball into the net, and then bringing time to a temporary halt,
So that you can conduct a survey of the stunned crowd’s views
On the bombing of Afghanistan, and text the uncomfortable results to Tony Blair,
And then restart the game and time by planting the ball into the corner of the net;
Total Football is Hubris, Nemesis, Invention, Interpretation, History, Myth, Memory,
Narrative, Power, Artifice, Art, Philosophy, Keepy uppy, yes, Keepy uppy,
Yes, it is mostly keepy uppy,
A solipsistic obsession with self,
And Bathos.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/total-football/