Into the Season

We have yet to see
our exhaled breaths
as we avoid the burn
of the cold handrails
on our expectant ascent
of fifty-odd concrete steps
to our fixed tipped seats

We have yet to inhale
that repeated wide view
of our floodlit pitch –
re-lined in the week
into a restart of hope
against eleven men
in an unloved strip

We have yet to sip
the bitter hot drinks
that we will queue for
in the muted half-time
of slight disappointments
as old rivals are set to win –
according to media streams

We will fear the descent
which others will take
before the hard blast
of whistle and biting winds –
to then exit The Amex
for seats on misted-up buses
which will take us home.

Brighton 1 – Watford 0

This concrete and steel
oozes last week’s freeze
where I sit with my pint
high in the East Stand
having travelled with my boys

but they are already perched
on the folding seats
as I wait for my beer to push
me there via the toilets

where scarfed men shuffle
and queue in silence for urinals

there they unwrap and rezip
after pissing a few quid
before the match
on to others’ left pubes

these gents hope beyond hope
for a home result
as they wash down those hairs

Claudio, No! by Gary W. Lineker

You came to Leicester,
a silver fox to our pack,
the grey Tinker Man,
whom we’ve now sacked:

Claudio! Claudio!
You got me to strip
down to my shorts
– my crispiest bits.

To get me there
you proved me wrong,
you took my team,
at five thousand to one,

up to the top
of the Premiership,
but then you got dumped
for tinkering with it.

Alas you are gone,
no more punditry pokes,
I’ll live with the title,
and ignore Shearer’s jokes.

My pants are pressed,
my abs are tight,
I am now ready for
the relegation fight.

Park Football Parents

The sun momentarily exploded,
from behind fleet clouds,
then gone, sleet-showered,
a return to mourn-shift-shrouds.

Seven days before, without the ice,
this team was crushed in a one-sided match,
so in training our stick-kids are bellowed at:
– On to the ball!
– Off the ball!
– Down the line!
– Wide!
– Mark-him, mark-him!

The coach, never mellows.
Bunched fathers and mothers,
now soaked, are hardly talking
as the minutes dribble
to the end of the session:

Murmurs in the long-stood section,
– Is it ten, does he know?
Eventually, after extra time,
The coach lets them go.

We parents are first in the cars,
door-slammed, venting at nature:
Our dripping-kids stare at the sky,
and wish for release from failure.