Anthem For Doomed Yoof

With sincere apologies to Wilfred Owen

Chelsea 1-0 Vidi
Game 2 Group Stage Europa League

Thursday 4 October 2018

A match in which we had great possession, but wasted more chances on goal than my ten-month-old grandson wastes the breadsticks he throws from his highchair. Oh, and Álvaro Morata spared our blushes.

What splendid goals for those who’re loaned as cattle?
Only the monstrous outrage of the fans
Which is seen all over Twitter as we battle.
And people say we have no long-term plans.

No accolades for them, no hero status
Until they’re sold to rivals for a song.
And that, claim some, is why the media hates us
And want it all for Chelsea to go wrong.

What memories do we hold of those who’ve played here
And now score goals in red, sky blue, or black?
And should the world be glad they didn’t stay here
And laugh as Roman bids to buy them back?

© Carol Ann Wood
October 2017


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If Carlsberg Did Birthdays

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

A match in which all players excelled, and which we probably should have won, were it not for the annoyingly excellent equalising goal of an ex-Blue. Nevertheless, a game packed with skill and a day which ended in such personal joy.

Saturday 29 September 2018

If Carlsberg did birthdays, they’d do it this way:
A trip to the Bridge on a fine Saturday,

A pretty good game even though we conceded,
But defence in fine fettle was just what we needed.

And afterwards, heading to Babbo to dine,
An evening with friends, some nice food and fine wine.

Then came a surprise that was better than best.
Our Geezer turned up and I truly felt blessed!

To celebrate with me he’d given his time,
And this made my birthday unique and sublime.

I thought I was dreaming, but no, it was true!
The Man Of The Match, and his gorgeous Brubru

Were sitting beside me on a night I will treasure,
Their kindness is something I can’t even measure.

Now, players can sometimes get negative press,
And so this occasion was a time to redress

And show the whole world how a player should be.
My own Carlsberg birthday Luiz gave to me.

© Carol Ann Wood
October 2018


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An (Extra)ordinary Boy

Chelsea 4 – 1 Cardiff City

A match in which Eden Hazard scored a superb hat-trick, I filmed a penalty for only the second time in my 48 years of support, and Cardiff City players continually sustained mysterious injuries every time a man in blue exhaled near them.

He drives a classic mini,
Like an ordinary guy.
He doesn’t need to flash his cash,
He’s gracious, sweet and shy.

He played the game at breakneck speed
Then went to Eurostar.
But his train had also sped away,
So N’Golo thought ‘Aha!

I’ll go and find a mosque to pray
And give thanks for my joy.’
And in that mosque he made new friends.
Like an ordinary boy.

And while the fans around the land
Were tuned to BBC
With a curry, Lineker and co,
On an ordinary settee,

N’golo did the very same
With the friends that he had met.
A moment they could not have dreamt,
And one they won’t forget.

A flashback to a bygone age
When footballers we knew,
Mixed with the fans who watched them play,
In a street and a house, near you.

It happened with no forward plan,
Like a pure, refreshing story.
There was no aim for instant fame,
No quest for Insta glory.

But just a tale to warm the heart,
No boasts, no gloats, no ploy.
The day N’Golo showed us
He’s an ordinary boy.

© Carol Ann Wood
September 2018


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Mummy’s Precious Prat

Newcastle United 1 – 2 Chelsea

Sunday, 26 August 2018
A game I wasn’t able to attend; one in which David Luiz made an error, leading to a Newcastle equaliser, and for which he received vitriolic and unwarranted abuse from a small section of our ‘supporters’, including one man who regularly makes himself look like a prat on Twitter, and has a following of like-minded prats.

Everything must be perfect,
In your perfect, keyboard life.
Your club must not offend you,
Nor cause you grief and strife.

You are an angry, raging man
And you have to let it out.
I can see you as a toddler now,
As you rant and scream and shout.

I can see you as a schoolboy,
When you didn’t get your way.
I see you in the playground,
As you bullied through your day.

I see you in the classroom,
Blaming others on the sly.
And I bet your teachers saw the man
And it probably made them cry.

Some kids you just can’t straighten out
And their anger keeps on growing.
You were that boy, there is no doubt,
Your venom’s sadly showing.

It’s one thing to debate a game,
To call out our defenders.
But do you have to bawl and gob
Like a Mitchell in Eastenders?

Do you really hate on someone
That you’ve probably never met?
Your narcissistic videos
Make you feel so big, I bet.

But really, all you are is small,
And sad and oh-so bitter.
Try being a real man little boy,
Mummy’s Precious Prat of Twitter.

© Carol Ann Wood


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World Cup Fever

(No pressure, mate)

There’s hope and aspiration,
The nerves are getting fraught.
The England flags are hung up high
And the barbie food is bought.
Deliveroo will make a mint
As riders can’t keep up.
And takeaways are in demand –
They love a World Cup.

The glory and the hoping,
The dreams we’ve had for years
Alas post 1966
Have ended up in tears.
Will this be different, headlines cry,
Will lions roar once again?
Or will the knockout stages
Just bring sadness, grief and pain?

Well, over at the BBC
On Radio Cambridgeshire
There is an unsung hero
That the land will soon admire.
Our destiny depends on one
That we call Andy Lake.
He’ll come up trumps, we’re confident
For all of England’s sake!

Don’t worry Andy lad, don’t fret,
No pressure is required.
You’re the quintessential Englishman,
A trait to be admired.
So when Kane holds that cup aloft
And the land turns crazed and shaky,
Our county will shout loud and proud:
You can put it down to Lakey!

© Carol Ann Wood
June 2018


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Don’t Be A Wannabeeeeeee

I’m going to write about something that I have put off for most of the 2017-18 football season. It’s not about the club’s hierarchy, or the largely disappointing results. Others have blogged about this throughout the campaign and have analysed it much better than I could. The season is over. The club is in a confused state (or at least, the supporters are) but we won a trophy and it’s something that eluded Tottenham. Again. So it wasn’t all bad!

Last season, some of my favourite football moments came outside of watching the games. I’m by no means the only supporter to have met their favourite footballer, to get to know him and his family a little, and to enjoy socialising with them. (All, I might add, by invitation, not by being pushy.) Maybe not everyone gets invited to their favourite footballer’s birthday party though, and I admit that it was a delightful surprise to me when I was invited to David’s birthday bash in April.

I had already been on the receiving end of sarcastic, bitter, and sometimes downright nasty comments after socialising with David’s family. Some comments were posted directly to me on social media underneath the photos I’d shared. Other remarks got back to me via friends. After I’d attended the birthday party, the meltdown started big time. Some of it is to be expected. David has many fans world wide, not least because of his charming and infectious personality, and the way that he engages with everyone he meets. Plenty of these worldwide fans can only ever dream of meeting him. Therefore, I fully anticipated the flood of messages asking me ‘can you please tell David I love him’ and ‘how can I get to meet him’ etc etc. Some of these fans are very young. I wanted to marry Peter Bonetti. But I was only twelve and you know, you grow up.

What I hadn’t bargained for was the bitterness and jealousy of some adults old enough to know better. A few of them have also had photographs taken with players, David included. But a section of them were put out that I should be invited to a private party when surely, they believed, they were more entitled. I was sent a childish rant by one fan who was incensed that I was at the party. He had been to PSG to see David during his time there, he said. And because I hadn’t done so, he declared himself more worthy of an invite. And, I was told, he had been a fan of the player for longer than me. Really? Why is that important anyway? Besides which, I was a massive fan of David in his first spell at Chelsea, but I had a great deal going on in my personal life during that time. Such as working, studying for a full time Master’s Degree, and undergoing a major abdominal operation. All of this necessitated me missing some matches. I was also in a great deal of pain prior to the operation, so I couldn’t hang around to ‘catch a glimpse of David’ after the games I did manage to attend.

In addition to the negative comments, I’ve experienced copy-cat behaviour. The copy cats have wrongly assumed that if they try to write, dress and behave identically to me, they’ll get noticed. Another person who attended David’s party has also been on the receiving end of it. It’s called trying too hard. It’s called attention-seeking. It’s called being needy. It’s called not having a personality of your own. We are all inspired by other people, other things, but simply emulating someone else’s life and posting photos of it on Instagram, that’s a little desperate, no? Exaggerating your experiences, and even lying about things to make others jealous, surely points towards undiagnosed mental health issues. I’m no expert, but I think it’s fair to say some people use social media as an emotional crutch. Maybe they are unable to seek appropriate help, or simply don’t recognise that they have a problem. I am sorry for people in such positions, but I’m not going to let them bully me. Just because they have had bad experiences – and they’re not alone – does not give them the right to use and abuse others.

I am an open person. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I just don’t follow the crowd, and I never have. Because of this, I tend to stick out a bit, especially for the way I dress. But I have always believed everyone should be as creative as they like, and not conform to socially constructed narratives. In other words, if it isn’t hurting anyone else, then it’s largely okay. And I would hope that my presence on social media is a true and fair representation of my actual life. I do silly things, I have hair-brained moments, and I share them. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, just different.

Many of the Instagram accounts belonging to wannabes only display perfect photos and status updates. Look at me, look at me, they scream, I want attention. If they have no perfect things happening, they sometimes exaggerate or invent them in order to get that attention. Often with a cryptic post. If they’re ignored, they’ll try again. And so-on. A friend remarked the other day on how, if she doesn’t immediately respond to a follower’s 1-1 message, they will send another message with a row of question marks. How dare she have a life outside social media!

None of these negative experiences, however, have put me off doing what I enjoy, nor will they stop me from being myself. That’s not to say that it doesn’t hurt, but I’ve been through much worse. I have nothing to feel bad or guilty about. I am happy for other supporters if they meet their favourite players, and if they go to organised events where they get a chance to socialise with them, that’s great. But I am not up for competition, jealousy, spitefulness or lies. That’s for the wannabes to fight about amongst themselves. Include me out.

© Carol Ann Wood
June 2018


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Ray’s Chelsea Story

When the skies of West London were stormy and grey,
And our hearts sank a little with each passing day,
When we feared that our club would no longer be there,
And fans left the Bridge in a glut of despair,
Our man, Eddie Mac put his faith in the young,
And soon a new superstar’s name would be sung.

As kid became captain, and boy became man,
Then fast turned to hero for many a fan,
He led our Blue Army with passion and pride,
He played with great skill as he skippered our side.
And all the girls swooned as they chanted his name,
We were Butch Wilkins’ Babes when we watched every game.

A gentleman, good guy, the nicest you’d find,
Polite and articulate, one of a kind.
He made many friends in his great long career,
And three times returned to the club he loved dear,
To coach and to nurture, to give us more joy.
To encourage the skills that he’d learnt as a boy.

It’s hard to imagine we won’t see his face
Around, on a match day, in his favourite place.
And yet he’ll be with us in every fan’s eyes,
In the grass, in the stands, in the Chelsea-blue skies.
For Butch was a legend we’ll never forget,
And we’ll pass on his story to fans not born yet.

Today as I honour this heart throb of mine,
At the club I’ve supported since I was just nine,
I’ll be fifteen again and his image I’ll spy
With some memories fond and a tear in my eye.
You brought us some good times and, Butch, we’re so proud.
Lots of love, rest in peace,
From your very own crowd.

© Carol Ann Wood
April 2018


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