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The beautiful game

It’s only a game

This beautiful game.


There was nothing he liked more than a kick-around with a ball

Down the park or the reccie with his mates

He’d stay out til dark and his mum would moan he was late for his tea.

The lads swapped football stickers and wore team shirts for PE

And when he got the latest home kit for Christmas he was delighted.

Okay there was that time that big lad thumped him for dissing United

But it was only a game.


Then he joined the local football club

Practice twice a week and matches on Saturday,

The Mums and Dads would come and watch kids play

And listen as the coach turned the air blue,

And sometimes the parents would join in too,

Cursing any boy that missed a header or made a mistake,

Hurling swearwords and abuse that no kid should have to take.

And so every match day win or lose

They had their self-respect battered and their egos bruised

One match two Dads started up a fight

Right there in the crowd, kids were screaming in fright,

And one of the guys ended up in A&E

With a broken nose and a twisted knee

And the cops were called and they took down some names

But they got off with a warning, cos after all it’s just a game.


Now it’s been ten years or more since he’s kicked a ball

But he still has a ball down the pub with his mates,

His wife sorts the kids and never moans when he’s late for his tea

Supporting his favourite team and above all his country -

One flag, one nation, united in hope and pride

And a hatred of the ref and the calls of off-side.

But supporting’s thirsty work, so he has a drink or two

Or three, or four, then just one more – by half-time he’s had a few

And if they win for sure he’ll get a skin-full to celebrate

And if they lose he’ll drown his sorrows and down pints to commiserate.

From their house down the street she can hear them cheer

And she follows the score as she lies awake in fear

Because she knows that every match day, win or lose

She’ll be the one that ends up battered and bruised.


It’s only a face

Once such a beautiful face

Like the day they fell in love

But now it bears the trace

Of love gone wrong, of love misplaced

Upon a man who loves football more than his wife

As the beautiful game ruins another life

He hits her so hard she’s down on her knees

Is this the match day she ends up in A&E?

Another world cup statistic in the football hall of shame

For those who can’t remember - it’s only a game.

Footballbeautful gamedomestic violence

Contradictions ►


Frances Macaulay Forde

Sat 21st Jul 2018 02:39

Another interesting poetic exploration, Becky.

Personally, I am not a fan of football although in his youth my dad played for Spurs Juniors (1930s) when he said it was a 'gentleman's' game. I gather things have now changed. Like Brian, I'd rather watch Rugby - and I'm fanatical about the tennis!

I enjoyed where you took us in this poem but for all the wandering and different perspectives, the final stanza was the whole poem for me. It very powerfully, stood alone.

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Becky Who

Tue 17th Jul 2018 05:20

Thank you for all the comments. Brian, for me the part about the kids comes from the experience of seeing the local football coach literally swear at the kids on the pitch at our local gym. Our son is begging to join the football club, and his father is refusing categorically because he doesn't want him to enter that world. It's sad really. Maybe it's a local phenomenon - maybe the teams in England are much more respectful, I don't know.

The other part is inspired the campaign by the National Center for Domestic Violence during the World Cup. Not sure I have the right to repost the picture, it was circulating on Facebook a few days ago.

<Deleted User> (18118)

Mon 16th Jul 2018 21:00

Football, a beautiful and emotion making game.
Enjoyed reading this.


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Tommy Carroll

Mon 16th Jul 2018 20:44

Hi Becky, as Brian says it resonates.
Good poem.

<Deleted User> (18980)

Mon 16th Jul 2018 17:17

That is a fantastic poem Becky. The kids football scenarios resonate particularly with me as I ran a boys team about 20 years ago. I didn't scream at the kids but I had my work cut out stopping the parents doing so, coaching from the touchlines etc. And yes we had parents fighting with those from another team. I fell out with half of our parents.

My love of football was lost shortly after mostly due to the antics of professional footballers. I'm a rugby man now...much more civilised. And tennis.

Wel done Becky.

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