Daily Archives: October 5, 2008

That’s why we go to football

I am drenched in sweat. My throat is sore and my voice has a weird hoarseness to it. I cannot quite think straight, but I am extremely happy.

You see I’ve just been to one of those magical games that come along once in a blue moon for most ordinary football supporters. When you’re a Brighton fan, you have to take your excitement where you can find it.

And boy, did we find it tonight. Let me set the scene: Brighton’s home form this season has been less than stellar while visitors Manchester City are now officially the richest club in the world, having spent and spent and spent, and having just stuffed Portsmouth 6-0 without really trying.

We have just lost 1-0 at home to a Walsall team reduced to nine men after half an hour. We are, on paper, going to get totally stuffed. Humiliated. Embarrassed by footballing geniuses.

Except it doesn’t quite work out like that. For starters, the ground – a converted athletics track with the atmosphere of a dull post office queue – is full. And the locals are determined to enjoy themselves, whatever the score. It’s noisy, the banter is flying and the script is being written for a classic Cup upset.

At times, we look like we might be able to play football. City stroke the ball around but do a lot of falling over in expensive boots. The Seagulls players toil and tackle, sweat and bellow and the nouveau riche are unsettled.

Suddenly, a great move – Thomson bursts through, the crowd rise as one man to their feet ready to explode but his shot cracks back off a post and misses Loft following in. Was that our moment?

City spend an awful lot of time with the ball, but either contrive to finish poorly or forget to shoot in the first place. 0-0 at the interval, so far so good.

A few more near things in the second half, and then City take the lead via a deflected shot. Come on! We’re not rolling over yet, and lo and behold David has pinged Goliath where it hurts and we have a scrambled equaliser minutes from the end.

Extra time. The big boys are getting nervous as their junior rivals push and harry, deliver last ditch tackles and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Suddenly, heaven opens – loan winger Joe Ansinya finishes a classy passing move, and we’re 2-1 up. The ground is rocking, we haven’t heard singing like it since the play-off semi-final years back against Swindon, and the impossible could happen.


A long ball from the City defence misses everyone except Stephen Ireland who finishes clinically. 2-2 and there’s frantic City pressure for the winner. A succession of corners are somehow repelled and the ref blows for the end of extra time.

Penalties. That TV drama on a plate. Heroes and villains. Except we’ve already won a moral victory by even getting this far. We can’t lose.

And we don’t. It goes to 3-3 with immaculate spot kicks until a nervy Michael Ball steps up for City, Kuipers picks the right way and parries his less than perfect penalty.

Matt Richards can score to take us through. Everyone is holding their breath fit to burst. The ball ripples the net, the place goes bonkers, we’re jumping up and down and before you know it half the crowd is on the pitch, and it’s like we’ve won the Cup itself.

It’s only a game of course. But it’s a glorious game where golden tinged moments like these make up for all the frustration, boredom and despair that often colours the bulk of the fan’s experience.

And it’s wonderful. And totally inexplicable too.

I guess you had to be there.

September 24 2008 11.56pm

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Filed under culture

Definitions (of love)

Love is a place
Love is a trace
A crackle of reality that looks you in the face

Love is a fire
Love is a choir
A vulnerability litmus test that makes you feel shyer

Love is a fuel
Love is a school
Love can make the biggest geek feel terminally cool

Love is a walk
Love is a talk
If life’s emotional cutlery then love is the fork

Love is a direction
Love is resurrection
Love is much much much much more than looking for affection

Love is a decision
Love is an incision
Love is in the dictionary listed under contrition

Love is how you live
Love is what you give
Love is what is left when you have learned how to forgive

Feb 08


Filed under poems for adults

Walk tall

There was an old song
that went: “Walk tall,
and look the world right
in the eye”.
But you can only really walk
as tall as you are, so looking
the world in the eye really depends
on whether the world is at (your) eye-level.
You’re as tall as you are, generally.
But actually, you’re either growing, in which case
you’re not as tall as you will be.
Or you’ve stopped growing, and have probably
started shrinking, in which case you’re not as
short as you’re going to end up.
Which is a worry.
So I’d adjust the song to read:
“Walk upright, and look at the world in whatever
way suits your height best”
And you may want to invest in some stilts.

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Sky painter

The sky is a canvas
On which God paints
In cloud.
Quite often there is blue
Depending on where you live.
And there can be black, grey and white.
And with a glorious flourish
You will often find gold and pink.
None are kept – for God is creative
Every day.
Unlike some artists, who need inspiration.

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Filed under poems for kids

Home baggage

A snail
Carries his home upon his back
A hiker
Carries his rucksack upon his back
But is less slimy.

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How long is a piece of string?

It depends on the string,
but most pieces are as long
as one end to another.
So next time you ask
someone a question, and
they answer: “How long is a
piece of string?” (meaning they don’t know)
Just get out your prepared piece
of string, and reply: “21 cm*”.
(If it is)

* Adjust according to length

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Too many cooks spoil the broth
it is said,
In which case
perhaps some cooks should consider
doing something else
And leave the soup
To those who are s(o)uper
At it.

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This is a surrealist piece inspired by the work of Edward Lear, Salvador Dali and Spike Milligan

The wind has painted my tractor
Several shades of tree
The walrus in my garage
Has just turned 43
A walnut phoned me up to say
The crisps are tasting stale
And still my auntie says to me:
“My, you’re looking pale …”

The badgers living on our roof
Have stolen all the scones
A bison with a dodgy leg
Just scored for MK Dons
The blancmange in our cupboard
Is shaped just like a whale
No wonder my auntie says to me:
“My, you’re looking pale …”

I thought that everyone would find
A volcano in their fridge
And be woken by the vultures
Every night, as they play bridge
Me, I blame the Vimto-covered
Hippo, built to scale
It’s his fault my auntie says to me:
“My, you’re looking pale …”

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Filed under poems for adults, poems for kids

Body bits

I’m glad there’s a button on my tummy
And lids on both my eyes
I’m happy there are caps upon each knee
And they’re both about the same size

I’m delighted with my nostrils
There’s one each side of my nose
And I’m chuffed both my arms have elbows
(For my funny bones, I suppose)

I’m tickled that my eyes have lashes
And each of my teeth have a gum
I’m well pleased both feet have an ankle
And my hips (at the back) have a bum

Both of my ears boast a lobe, you know
And my ribs are kept in a cage
My knuckles help keep my fingers on
It’s probably down to my age

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Filed under poems for kids