The Beautiful Game


Once in a while I like to put aside my own nonsense and compile the gibberish of others to make a ‘found poem’. In reality, I’ve only actually done this three times on my blog, and the last time was back in 2016, so it’s not a regular activity. The last one was in honour of the Rio Olympics and in particular an homage to some of the banal nonsense that the pundits and commentators would come out with.

But if there’s one sport, which has absolutely nailed the art of total banality within its commentary, it would have to be football (or soccer to my US readers).

I don’t attach a massive amount of importance to football, but I’m quite happy to watch it if it’s on the telly, and it is quite a lot at the moment, due to the return of the Premier League as the lockdown eases and the world stumbles towards a state of affairs currently being branded as ‘The New Normal’. Due to the lack of crowds at the games, some of the matches are being shown on terrestrial TV, for free, for the first time in the UK since the 1980s.

So in honour of football’s return, I spent a small amount of time the other night half watching a game while trying to get my ‘daughter who doesn’t like to sleep’ to go to sleep. And for a brief period of time when I thought she had gone to sleep (oh poor naïve fool that I was), I jotted down some of the commentary, which I’d like to present to you today in the form of a poem. Not so much a ‘Found Poem’ as a ‘Heard Poem’.

If you were to stop reading at this point I would not blame you.

If you’d like to persevere, then here it is:

The Beautiful Game

That was nowhere near good enough or acceptable
They’ve not won a tackle
There’s three points at stake here
You’ve got win your first tackle

Can he get it up and over
The goal keeper got a hand on it
An unbelievable save
It shows how much quality is on that free kick

That’s not an easy finish
Look how much time and space he’s got
It’s a good ball
Very very good finish

They look fit and hungry
It’s of massive importance
He’s probably been their best player
Some tidy touches

They’re not even getting on the ball
They’ve got to score the next goal
We spoke about the importance of a fast start
They just seem so pedantic
It’s too predictable
They need creativity
They’ve not even had a shot on target
The players need to look at themselves
They certainly need something
They need a spark

It’s one of them to be honest with you
He’s won the ball cleanly
We have actually seen red cards given for this
There’s no intention
It’s a very harsh one
He got a foot in

The referee has said no foul but that is a foul
And this is in a good position
He just needs to stay on his feet
If they can get one here it just might be the beginning of a comeback

The midfield’s absolutely ran this game
He used the ball very well
It’s gone the other way
He’s no stranger to a yellow card

Heavy touch
Short touch
Corner kick
Well they might get one
But I don’t think they’re going to get two
That’s for sure
Shake of the head from the manager
Injury time and the end of added time and then not much time

Got to expect more there
I can only put it down to tiredness
You had to fancy him one on one there to get his goal

The referee having a little glance at his watch
And there we are
A richly deserved victory
All in all the game was won in the first half
Very thorough professional performance
They’re always well organised
We mentioned that before the game


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  25 comments for “The Beautiful Game

  1. June 26, 2020 at 9:13 am

    It is universal! Have a read of some quotes by a guy called Yogi Berra (that is spelt correctly!) Ho only died a couple of years back, but he was a baseball player/coach. /had this wonderful combination of 2 brain cells, plus a willingness to open his mouth!

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 26, 2020 at 9:18 am

      Just looked him up. In a way, there’s a kind of genius to his quotes. And what a name!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. June 26, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Yes, its back here as well, with all the atmosphere of the crowd, the unbridled rampant excitement of watching a stunning mid-table 0-0 draw. Somehow, already the magic is palling.
    Premier football, and free to air-
    I hardly think that’s bloody fair,
    My full annual Sky subscriptions I just paid,
    I suspect this poor dupes been well played.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 26, 2020 at 10:32 am

      It does seem to be the especially dull 0-0 games that are free to air…

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 26, 2020 at 9:13 pm

        I hope you don’t mind if I ‘appropriate’ this idea? its so loaded with cliche I’d love to have a shot at tipping it over the top?C’mon coach, put me on…

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 26, 2020 at 9:42 pm

        I ‘borrowed’ the concept in the first place so go for it kid, show us what you’ve got…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bear
    June 26, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Well James, y’know, it’s like ‘y’know, it’s all about the next game, y’know, I’m just y’know, pleased for the lads, y’know?

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 26, 2020 at 11:20 am

      Since the gaffer’s come in he’s really turned it around. But it’s a team effort at the end of the day, and it’s all about the three points at the end of the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. June 26, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Did he finish with a double?

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 26, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      You can’t beat a bit of bully

      Liked by 1 person

  5. June 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    My wife, Sandra, could have scored that…

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 26, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      I have no way of knowing Sandra’s skill level so I don’t know if you’re suggesting that the goal was easy or if Sandra is just that good. I’m choosing to believe the latter and I look forward to one day seeing her play.

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm

        A quote from Harry Redknapp after Darren Bent had missed a sitter. I’m guessing Sandra is probably in her 70s by now, so she may have limited first team opportunities.

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 26, 2020 at 1:40 pm

        Thanks for adding context – I still choose to believe that Harry meant that Sandra was just really good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm

        He wasn’t a bad judge of players…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. June 26, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    I’m not a soccer fan but I enjoyed your poem. My only connection of any interest to soccer is that I taught Owen Hargreaves Grade 9 English when he still lived in Canada. He was a really nice kid – really sweet, in fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 26, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      Owen Hargreaves was a brilliant player, although quite obviously Canadian, but we were happy to have him in the England team (I’m really Welsh, but I happily support England when it suits me to do so). His later career was blighted by injuries, which was a shame. He always came across as a really nice guy in interviews.


  7. June 26, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Well, that was really something.
    My little grandson doesn’t like to sleep either. I think he’s afraid he’s going to miss something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 26, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      I think there’s something in that theory. But all she’s going to miss is me sleeping…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. June 26, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Beautiful. I will definitely steal this idea when American Football season rolls around. I do no intend to pay copyright fees.

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 26, 2020 at 9:55 pm

      “Your poetry will be payment enough,” smiled James though he was crying a little inside…

      Liked by 2 people

  9. June 29, 2020 at 9:19 am

    My favourite commentary moment is the classic ‘you can’t legislate for that’. Nowhere else is this phrase ever said, but it really be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 29, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Definitely could apply to quite a few scenarios, particularly in the era we now find ourselves


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