Search This Blog

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Gaël Givet

Downtrodden he peers,
One brow always cocked higher than the other,
Like a minor character in
Madame Bovary.
But those Norman towns
Sun-swept in a ciderhaze
So far from Arles!
If he did not rise each morning
And to Brockhall go
He would surely be one of those
Perpetually anonymous caricatures -
The French peasant
Avec pitchfork, hay bailer, cap wearer,
Moleskin waistcoat too tight
Braces a-loosed.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Wand of a left foot

Like a scotch egg
Kicked half to death
Covered with a ketchup sash
It's Charlie Adam.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Dalglish Etheree

Was no
Need to come
Back to the league.
Special flickers like
The time you told Wenger
"It's a penalty, piss off."
But now you're the worst of them all
With your DVDs and your referees
Just leave it to Alex, it's been too long.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sayonara Di Franceso (A Neopolitan Ghazal)*

To leave unrecognised, the stranger in the rain
His dreams unrealised, the stranger in the rain.

He stands humbled in the Parthenopean storm
Cheeks damp from tears he's cried, the stranger in the rain.

Those festive colours the yellow-red hold no cheer
A job by no one prized, that stranger in the rain.

He relied on loan signings, gifts from Udine
Short term he specialised, the stranger in the rain.

Looks back at Zeman let loose with his charge of old
By presidents chastised, the stranger in the rain.

He dreams of lacing up his boots again for Rome
Each loss he's penalised, the stranger in the rain.

*This poem is from the future, Eusebio Di Francesco has not been sacked (yet) and it has only proved that the ghazal form is of little use when it comes to satirical football poetry, who knew?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Championship Blues

There's only one last eagle
To grace this windy isle
And it lives in Lakeland
And never Selhurst Park.
And to my knowledge,
There has never been
A single wild lion
Stalking round these parts.

A clash of nature's finest
Beast and bird at one
How truly unfortunate
It occurs in Division One.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Protracted Saga of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City (With Apologies To Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

In Liverpool did Joleon
A stately transfer-request decree:
Where Mersey, the sacred river, ran
Through canals made by man
    Down to the Irish sea.
So twice four miles of fertile ground
Where stands and concourse were girdled round:
And there were floodlights bright with sinuous filament,
Where beamed many lights illuminatory;
And here Eastlands ancient as the colliery,
Enfolding sunny spots of glory.

    But oh! that deep romantic river which slanted
    Down from Manchester to Goodison!
    A savage place! as monied and soulless
    As e'er beneath a blue moon was howled
    By men wailing for Colin Bell!
    And from this totem, with ceaseless mediocrity seething,
    As if this city in fast money sacks were awaking,
    A mighty saga momently was forced:
    Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
    Pound notes and coins vaulted like rebounding hail,
    Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
    And 'mid these dancing guineas at once and ever
    It flung up momently the Mersey river.
    Four miles square with a mazy motion
    Through Stretford and Warburton the Mersey river ran,
    Then reached the Cavern and penniless Goodison,
    And bathed royal blue in golden trim:
    And 'mid this tumult Joleon heard from far
    Sir Alex Ferguson prophesying war!

    The shadow of the Etihad
    Floated midway on the waves;
    Where was heard the jingling copper
    From the men who're paid.
It was a miracle of rare proportion,
Etihad sprung forth with the price!
    A brummie with a pot of gold
    In a vision he once saw:
    It was an Arabian man,
    And on the contract he signed,
    Singing of the Champions League.
    Could I provoke David Moyes
    His harsh words and hate,
    To such a deep pocket 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would play in the Champions League,
The Etihad! those sky blue turrets!
And everyone shall see me there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
Rooney's red eyes, his brand new hair!
Weave a circle round me thrice,
And close mine eyes to win the ball,
For Joleon on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Sons of Rosario
Born in separate centuries
Recalibrated European space.
Manifesto blanco, a rupture
In the canvas
A rupture open to oblivion
Manifesto blaugrana, the result of Concetto spaziele,
La fine di Dio.*
On that green field space made manifest
Another green field, diminutive D10S
Footsteps in knifemarks.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tanka for the recently sacked manager.

How am I to see
Gold plated or silver lined?
How am I to grasp
These bright eternal tributes?
My trophy cabinet bare.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


There is a new breed of footballer
Beyond eccentricism.
Unlike Barthez, Higuita, Zidane
Whose streak was clear to see.
These players seem to be
Certain liabilities
Half grasping that maverick streak.
Can anyone turly confirm
The optimum position of Somen Tchoyi?
His half stumbling bursts
Raw power, loose canon,
Far more noble than those polished rambles
Of Luiz and Eboue.
A throwback to the golden age of mental football
An Asprilla without the insidious agression
Less tabloid than Gazza.
Tchoyi, the embodiment of the half nuts
Begging the question 'What is he doing?'
Even to fans of other teams.
Tchoyi, Paintsil, Bullard
Lovable mediocrity.

Monday, 31 October 2011



The arc, left-shaping swoop
Bodily it curves,
Dutch shaped in entirety
The sun mouth opens.
Suspended in animation
A spherical undoing.
In that second of wholeness frozen
The experience is missed
Lineality shattered he stands


Rush of metro-train past empty stations
Duality of name and action at once
Rounded, sharp.
Foremost frozen and screenbound
Whilst eyes draw to the closing cleft.
Trout-silver the ripple,
But one man's rapture arrived seconds early
Not one witness to his sun mimicry.

Hallowe'en Haiku

Corner taking little witch
Juan Seba Verón

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Canary Haiku

Unless witnessed live
Grant Holt up for a header
Unknowable force.

The QPR Home Kit 2011/12

The hooped jersey
Lacks all majesty this season,
And the less said about
Away, third and change the better
But perhaps.
O! Perhaps
It is fitting such an illfitting kit exists
To be worn by
Shaun Wright-Phillips
For he was cheap
It is cheap
Joey Barton too
And I'm sure Clint Hill can't have cost much.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

What Manchester United Losing 6-1 At Home Has Done To Football, OR, Elegy To The 1990s. (With utter contempt for myself and apologies [again] to William Butler Yeats)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The left back cannot hear the gaffer;
Things fall apart; the referee cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The sky-blued tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some substitution is at hand;
Surely Berbatov is at hand.
Dimitar Berbatov! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste Mancunian grass;
A shape with Charlton's body and the head of Keane,
A gaze blank and pitiless as a Neville,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant Djemba-Djemba, Fortune.
The floodlights drop again but now I know
That three decades of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough diamond, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Old Trafford to be born?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I'm Sorry

Apologies to Juventini
And also Paolo Maldini,
For I have a soft spot for
A man who did once score
A goal against Germany, you see,
To put into the final, Italy.
My favourite left back of all time O!,
It is Fabio Grosso.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Five-A-Side Shouters

There he goes almost running the channels,
Always one in every team -
All the players try and ignore,
He's a five-a-side shouter.
Plays himself up front
And tells you how to defend
You want to tell him to fuck off
But then he goes and scores again.
A simple tap in
He's missed about twenty three!
But he's still scored more than you or me.
Patronising, post-match
Well done to you and you and you
Their keeper was great, we were lucky to scrape through!
Half blind, their keeper. A midfield combined age of eighty three!
Nevertheless your seething resentment subsides
Slips off, diminished
And you pray next week
To be playing that team with Richard Shaw.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Paul Mariner, Bunnyman

He played as a striker,
He won quite a few cups,
He's managed in the USA
And at Plymouth had quite a look.
I'm not talking about when he played there
This overshadows all of his goals
But when he stood upon the touchline
A shade of the Ian McCullochs.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Ode to Gary Mabbutt

He only won two trophies
And he's remembered for his knee
But Gary Mabbutt commands a space
In many people's hearts.

Ask the general public
Who's the nicest man in footie?
Most will say Lineker
But I'd remember Mabbsy.

He won sixteen caps for England
He played over six hundred league games
All the while he had diabetes
And never complained.

His broken legs were devastating
His own goal lost the cup
But injecting an orange on Blue Peter
More than makes that up.

For Gary Mabbutt was more than a footballer
He seemed a normal bloke
And his greatest ever performance
Was on The Queen's Nose.

The Decline and Fall of Portsmouth F.C.

Many reasons were given
But none totally convince
As to why Pompey
Almost ceased to exist.

Was it Redknapp's expensive binges
Backed by Gaydamak?
Or was it all hungover
From the reign of Mandaric?

I have a simple solution
It occurred at Wembley
Almost exactly half an hour
After a goal off Kanu's knee.

Something had to give
Something came a cropper:
Big David Nugent
Subbed on for John Utaka.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

An Italian Romance

I will follow you from port to port
Reggio to Naples and further.
In your white dress shirt
I will follow you
Fitting in at left back
Or centre back
Or on the left of a three at the back
Because really you always have three at the back
How did I forget.

I took you from port to port
Reggio to Naples and further.
Amaranto to Azzurri
I will find a place
To fit you in to my team
Probably on the left
Of three at the back
Because I always play that.

I never score
Hardly run
Not that great in the tackle
But I can be shoehorned in
To any position
On the left or at the back.
This is why you love me
My versatility
And because I cost very little.

The perfect sub
You cover so many positions
I can keep you around
For years and years
I know you'll never grumble
Had I gone to Juve
I'd have taken you there
Flee up to the north
A great return for you
Surely you'd have been
Perfect back up for Chiellini.

Revista de la Liga

I can no longer cope
With watching Revista
And not for the usual reasons,
Not Barcelona
Nor Real Madrid
Could tempt me back again.
It has nothing to do
With Mark Bolton leaving
It's not about Ballagué,
Villarreal, Valencia,
Nothing to do with you.

It's all about Scott Minto
For when I see him on TV,
Something flicks a switch.
I really cannot fathom
How or when it happened
But Scott Minto, lovely chap,
Has stolen Steve Buscemi's face.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


We are the ITV
Football commentary team
Like Bill and fucking Ben.
Peter Drury,
Melifluous anchor,
Puts the patron in patronise
And Beglin...
Jim Beglin...
A man who lies
About things he's just seen
On a monitor before him.

Pat Rice

"Pat Rice accompanying Arsene Wenger on the Arsenal bench"
We know Clive
We know.
We never forget
The man with the tomato face.
Perpetually redenned,
Always a tear in his eye
Because of Arsene's slaps
And pinches.
He is a cruel mistress,
We know.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Non-League Football Supporters Club

The non-league football supporters
Fighting over scraps
Of a little self importance.
"Yeah used to follow 'em,
Too much money in it now."
The cries that drift
And drizzle
The cry of twenty seven
Disenfranchised Aston Villa fans.
Here they're at home,
They flirt with the bar staff
And pretend they care about the score
In some pitiful, provincial meadow.
"The winger's very good you know
The winger's very good."
At full time
Knowing looks in the clubhouse
Betray all the signs
Bent scored two
You'd never know
Twenty seven people's secret pride.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Untied Laces

Any requests? All will be considered, if not acted upon. In the meantime we've made something else It's got pretty pictures! And something else which has loads of words and no pictures. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Mariano Donda

In the Premier League
You'd be compared
With Charlie Adam
But there is so much more,
Sublime inconsistency!
And now you have moved
To be with Maradona
What a team you could make!
It is the loss of all Mendoza
For Godoy's lynchpin has left
Farewell but bring back the mullet.

Bjørge Lillelien - Unwitting Psychic (Norway 2 -1 England, Oslo 1981)

Birthplace of giants
Now shrunken and for sale
Believed a loss inconceivable.
The chevroned predator
Pouncing on McDermott
Poked without fanfare nor whimper.
For England played not as sportsmen
But countrymen
Fighting for a slow burning husk.
Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me?
Your boys took a hell of a beating
Your boys took a hell of a beating
Of course she did not listen.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Ballad of Jeff Kenna

Sucking on a sour sweet
He never looks at ease,
The sun is always in his eyes,
That pass he never sees.
He's played alongside Shearer
At Rovers and Southampton too
And now he's moved to Florida
To start his life anew.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Danny Simpson's Diagonal Ball

Danny Simpson's diagonal ball
It comes out twice a game
And when he reaches half time
He's told never again.

Friday, 12 August 2011

An English Keeper Forsees A Goal (With Apologies To W. B. Yeats)

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the stands above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is St. George's cross
My countrymen St. George's poor,
This likely end will bring a loss
And leave them madder than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor manager, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of finance
Drove to this tumult on the pitch;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The goals to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the goals behind
In balance with this win, this loss.

Brazil 1 - 2 Norway 23/06/98

Tore André Flo,
Imbued with Odyssean cunning,
Deigned to put the world to rights
As they claimed "unbeatable".
Th'Athenian sigh expelled across
the Stade Vélodrome
Rais'd his toes two inches forth
And threw him cruelly to the floor.
Injustice! Outrage!
A penalty, surely not
But Baharmast, whistle to lips, cried foul
And brought two Titans toe to toe.
Taffarel, perpetually bald,
Had no chance, for lo!
Th'adversary o'the day
Was the be-mulleted hero, Rekdal!
The heaven-lit mane betrayed no nerve
He struck the ball clean and true,
Athene's arrow to guide its course
Net-bound it burned through th'air
And in the goal it settled there.
Rekdal (pen) 88'
For once Brésil, nil points.

Davide Biondini

Is he Scottish?
Flame haired -
Not the most flattering
Of body shapes, but!
The Cagliari shirt is so clingy,
He works hard at least.

An unsuccessful spell at Birmingham
Then back to the SPL
Seems more likely than
The catcalls came:
"Oi! Carrot top. You're shit"
But in Italian, obviously.
They were unfair
For he has two caps,
Two caps for Italy,
And two for the Azzurini.
They were unfair.

The Lacéd Boot: In The Beginning

The Lacéd Boot began with the realisation that Brad Friedel's head looks like a rock and it's crawled, dragging itself forward and ruined a few other things. I'm not sure what's ridiculous or ridiculed any more, the football or the poetry but some of you seem to enjoy it. Requests accepted on Twitter @TheLacedBoot and Email @ Thanks!

Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel's calcified face
The goalkeeping crag
Jutting skyward from the penalty area.

The rocky jaws creak apart,
A fissure exposed in the monolith.
A roar issues forth,
"Out! Out!"
The ball bounces clear.
No emotion betrayed in his eyes,
The caves that were his eyes.