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What are the best poems about football? | The Knowledge


Plus: Zinedine Zidane and Cameroon feature in another slew of songs about specific games

“Are there many good poems about football?” wrote M Stapleton last week. “I’ve read a few anthologies and collections but very few stand out, aside from Paul Durcan’s World Cup ‘82.”

Related: Have any songs been written about specific football matches? | The Knowledge

When at Thy call my weary feet I turn
The gates of paradise are opened wide
At Goodison I know a man can learn
Rapture more rich than Anfield can provide.
In Coulter’s skill and Geldard’s subtle speed
I see displayed in all its matchless bounty
The power of which the heavens decreed
The fall of Sunderland and Derby County.
The hands of Sagar, Dixie’s priceless head
Made smooth the path to Wembley till that day
When Bolton came. Now hopes are fled
And all is sunk in bottomless dismay.
And so I watch with heart and temper cool
God’s lesser breed of men at Liverpool.

The pitch is white where the sun’s not been seen
on its hill-cresting flight. The tea queue is long
and shrouded in breath, as men in fat coats
grunt at each other, though the game’s going on –
but I’m on the terrace, with 64 others,
where a bloke in a tank-top and built like a tank
turns to the dug-outs and breaks the near-silence:
‘Cheynge it up, Billeh boy – we’re fukkin’ wank!’
Then he faces the game again, squinting upfield
as one of their wingers slaps a long cross
out for a throw-in. ‘C’mon lads!’ he bellows,
rub-rubbing his hands.

So, this loss is his loss,
and also his triumph. He boos at the whistle,
says ‘See yer’ to others, and runs for a piss,
and doesn’t drive home, cross a ground off his list,
and know he was no-one. No. He lives for this.

Discover loads more questions and answers in the archive

Dear @TheKnowledge_GU . Back in the glory days when football was new, Sky used to give their man of the match a bottle of bubbly. Did it ever go to a youngster under 18? If so, did they have to leave it with the other interviewee from the club? Ben J, S London

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (23) was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles (20) in the Arsenal v Leicester game. That’s a combined letter count of 43 for this substitution. Has there ever been more?

@TheKnowledge_GU With 3 goals scored after only 5 minutes 45 seconds of the Fleetwood v Wycombe play-off first leg tonight, does anyone know of any instances of 3 goals being scored in quicker time at the start of a legitimate match (not counting the famous 149-0 game in 2002)?

The 2011 Kirin Cup ended with ZERO goals with the three teams sharing the trophy - Japan, Czech Republic and Peru. Has this ever happened in a competition before with three or more teams?? Also, I doubt the 2011 Kirin Cup is available on DVD...!!

Sergio Ramos has now scored 22 penalties in a row. Is this a record?

Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.

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