I organise the practice sessions, I co-ordinate the drills
On match day pick my best eleven, To give the fans their thrills
I will give pre-match instructions, On how to win this game
Because I know, should it not go to plan, I’m the one that takes the blame
If my gangly centre-forward, Scores the best header ever seen
And my goalie keeps another clean sheet, All the praise goes to the team
But when results have gone against them, And the crowd they are a booing
I’m the one who gets the chant, “You don’t know what you’re doing”
With a win it’s the best job in the world, The worst with every loss
You have to be of strong heart and mind, To become a football boss
For every one that gets the sack, Another ten step up
With promises to win the league, Or at least the FA Cup
The day I took the manager’s oath, Was the end of my personal life
The team became my children, The club became my wife
Bill Shankly’s quotes always keep me going, When I’m feeling down and flat
“Football isn’t a matter of life or death”, “It’s much more important than that”
If I can be half the man he was, My career path will gleam
But it’ll be long hard road from where I sit,
As manager of an under 8’s football team
I wrote this after one particular weekend where I had once again had to ask parents, from both sides of a junior team game, to remember why they were there. It wasn't the first and it certainly wasn't the last time I had words with parents.
Illustration: Rob Purdon
When I was a toddler, I was good never bad,
All I ever thought of, was going to footie with dad.
But I was very poorly, and my mum was so sad,
She could see all I wanted, was to go to footie with dad.
Lots of dads go to the game, every week, with their lad,
And I often dreamed of going to footie with dad.
I always knew that when I got better, I’d be glad,
Because then I’d be strong enough, to go to footie with dad.
Then came the day I felt better, the best I ever had,
My dreams all came true, and I went to the footie with dad.
Our team lost the game, but I was happy not sad,
All that mattered to me, was being at footie with dad.
So, if you’re born poorly, don’t get angry or mad,
Just keep your focus on going, to footie with dad.
Or even going to footie, with mum, gran or grandad,
But for me it’s the best, going to footie with dad.
Illustration by Rob Purdon
My pal Julian's son was born very ill and during those early years he thought that he would never get the chance to take his son to a football match, thankfully he is now a healthy boy and the two of them are busy making up for lost time. Julian now runs a great charity helping kids get to football games see his website www.footiewithdad.com
Football, we love it, we would watch it all day long,
24 hours a day on telly, how could that be seen as wrong?
We would give up almost everything, to see our favourite game,
But we have to sleep at some stage, it really is a shame
It’s not just us normal folk, who really the love the sport,
The game is watched by royalty, at least that’s what we’re taught.
It’s watched in places like Burundi, Kiribati and Peru,
even in Antarctica, SKY Sports will bring a game to you.
The real beauty of ‘footie’, is its open to one and all,
You just need a place to play and something resembling a ball.
A pair of rolled up socks, an old tin can, even a cabbage will do.
A set of ‘nets’, maybe a referee, and of course a player or two!
The game’s been played since time began, and not that much has changed,
Apart from the offside rule, which is constantly re-arranged.
Two teams, two kits, a football ‘pitch’ and most importantly a ball,
are all the ingredients required to play, the greatest game of all.
From Accrington to Zanzibar and all the places in between,
you will find a football ‘fanatic’ that is crazy for their team.
From Premiership to National League to a Sunday football club,
you can debate every minute of every game, with a pint down at the pub.
Because after all that’s where they are, the best players ever seen,
sat in their armchairs, or in the pub, discussing what might have been.
With their ‘ifs and ands’, their ‘rights and wrongs’ and many other cases,
that ‘diving cheat’ and ‘world’s best player’ is not fit to tie their laces.
It’s a funny old game, a game of two halves, where’s your father referee?
It’s more important than life and death; well at least it is to me.
When all said and done we love the game, through ecstasy and sorrow,
but the greatest thing about football is, there’s another game tomorrow!
Illustration Rob Purdon
We used to go out every week, at the same time to watch our club
Now there’s a game on television, 24 seven down at the pub
You used to be able to plan your week, so that Saturday was for the footie
Now we have to wait ‘til Sunday afternoon, for ‘champers and a prawn buttie’
Your team could be playing on Monday night, Saturday noon, and sometimes in between
As long as the Electronic pitch-side advert boards, are shown on every screen
“own your own house abroad” an “exotic holiday” or even a “brand new car”
Me, I just want to watch the game and grab a beer, at half time down in the bar
Now we have technical areas, formations, statistics and an almost ‘instant replay’
We didn’t need any of this clever stuff, when there was just Match of the Day
There’s transfer windows, squad numbers and even worse there’s squad rotation
Clubs with brand new grounds and massive debt and some in administration
There are footballers all over the world, in pink boots, with matching gloves and tights
The state of some them makes you wonder, what they wear to go out at night
There’s bandanas, earrings, autobiographies, tattoos and super-agents
And after tapping the ball into an empty net, there’s choreographic celebrations
Media training, official statements, mutual consent and an Undisclosed transfer fee
The fourth official and Referee's assistant, (that’s a ‘liner’ to you and me)
Club websites and message boards, Sky Sports News all keep us in the ‘know’
What happened to the days, when all we had, was a Radio phone-in show
There are lots of strange new injuries around, metatarsal springs to mind
I don’t remember ‘Besty’ breaking one of them, or any of his kind
Now there’s a Premier League, a Champions League and a sponsored FA Cup
English clubs have American, Russian and Arabic owners, where will it all finish up
There are lots of changes to our game, since the day it was invented
Some good, some bad, some not quite there, some totally demented
But the biggest change the whole world wide, is the worst change of all
Now that Television runs our game, it’s become the ‘Monster that ate Football’
Illustration Rob Purdon
Every football club has got them, They’re tiresome, loud and gobby
There should be ways to stop them getting in, Perhaps I will start a ‘lobby’
I’ve had one or two sit next to me, Up and down the years
Some have made me very angry, Some have reduced me into tears
The one thing that they all have in common, Is their understanding of the game
Or should I say the complete lack of it, Because the two don’t mean the same
If we really have to allow them in, It should be at twice the price
Or put them in a wooden box, Now that really would be nice
They could have their own part of the ground, I’m not being sentimental
I merely want them all in the same place, So they can drive each other mental
They have an opinion on everything, From the Bovril, to team formation
I’ve even heard them criticize, A goal-scorers celebration
They talk absolute crap throughout the game, It drives me around the bend
They arrive ten minutes into a match, Then leave five minutes before the end
Maybe they could go and watch a different sport, Like cricket, tennis, or even that horse racing
Then at least it would make more sense, When they shout “play the way you’re facing”
“I could do better than that myself”, “You don’t know what you’re doing”
Or when they get tired of shouting abuse, They always go back to booing
The problem with the village idiot is, They always think they’re right
They wind everybody up to fever pitch, And in some cases cause a fight
We’d be far better off without them, Can we get rid of all of them now, please?
We’ve already got enough idiots at the game, Dressed as linesmen and referees
Illustration: Rob Purdon