Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered

The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter
during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri
.
Image of book cover of The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri.
All True Blues will know exactly where they are from this photo…

Click to order.


I had intended to make this an exact sequel to my first Chelsea poetry collection, Rhyme & Treason, (2015/16) producing a poem for every game of the season. However, as 2018-19 progressed, I could see that this was possibly over-ambitious. This time round, we had European football, and also made it to the Carabao Cup Final. So, in Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered, you will see a poem for every league game, plus a selection of cup games, and a few musings on topical issues in between.

It’s arguably been the strangest season in my 48 years of support. Some will still claim that, despite the bad defeats, we can count it as a moderate success. A third place finish and a Europa League trophy is more than some club’s fans can ever dream of. The strangeness, though, mostly came from social media. How did Maurizio Sarri amass a cult following who continually attacked match-going fans on Twitter and accused them all of being ‘alcoholic yer dars’? (Say, what?) And, ultimately, they blamed us for Sarri’s departure – the first manager to leave of his own volition since Glenn Hoddle. I can only hope they move on to Juventus with him, because they won’t be missed!

As with Rhyme & Treason, fellow fans will identify with my verse. You might not share all my views. But real football supporters understand that you don’t have to agree on everything to identify with the raw emotion of following your club.

Often bothered, sometimes bewildered. But, always bewitched.

From independent publisher, Gate17, Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered is available in paperback and Kindle editions. Click to order.

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered is also available on the CFCUK stall, opposite the Fulham Broadway tube station exit.


If you enjoy Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered, why not recall the roller-coaster ride which was the 2015-2016 season in Rhyme and Treason: Chelsea 2015-2016 a season in verse.

Click here to learn more about Rhyme and Treason. Click here to order in paperback or Kindle editions.


Links:
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NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
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Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie, my oh my.
Dissed the birds to make them cry.
Thinks he’s smart and thinks he’s witty.
Posts a lot of arse and titty.

See him have a laugh on Twitter.
If you don’t like it, you’re just bitter.
For he is the king of spiel,
Gives no fucks, girls, how you feel.

Georgie Porgie, what a guy,
Disses birds to make them cry.
Says it’s banter, no harm done.
Just a nice bloke having fun.

Cos everybody knows it’s cool
Subjecting birds to ridicule.
It’s not his fault they might object.
Well, they’re birds, mate, what can you expect!

Georgie Porgie, sweet as pie,
Disses birds to make them cry,
But loves the ones who laugh along.
So he feels, powerful, big and strong.

Well, Georgie, mate, I will not play.
And no, it’s Fucking Not Okay.
So piss right off, you first class runt.
If I liked you more, I’d call you cunt.

Your words have power, but mine do too
I’d watch my back if I were you.
Georgie Porgie, you I thank,
You pathetic nasty piece of wank.

As a poet of the spoken word,
I have a voice that’s widely heard.
So come and see, when I next perform.
Misogynists’ poems go down a storm.

You thought I was some mad old gran.
Well, think again you sad, weak man.
Now run along, Wee Willy Winkie,
Never try and pick on Pinky!

© Carol Ann Wood
June 2019


Links:
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About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Breaking News on PieGate 

breaking-news

The FA have announced, in the light of the recent PieGate scandal involving Sutton United reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw, that they are to investigate a similar historical food-related incident. They are launching an enquiry into former Chelsea goalkeeper William ‘Fatty’ Foulke’s time at Chelsea, during the 1905-06 season, when it was reported that he ate the dinner intended for the entire first team squad, ahead of a competitive Boxing Day game.

A spokesman for the FA said ‘We cannot rule out the possibility that this was a stunt in association with a betting ring. Foulke was a notoriously eccentric character, but we cannot allow anyone to get away with a breach of the rules, even if he died in 1916. As we cannot interview Foulke himself, we will be contacting his descendants, and questioning both them and Chelsea Football Club regarding this matter.’

I asked the FA spokesperson exactly how they would go about collating evidence of foul play. They explained that they are working in conjunction with undercover reporters from The Sun on this matter. ‘The Sun newspaper are especially keen to rid the game of scandals such as this,’ the spokesperson explained. When I pointed out that The Sun appeared to be launching a campaign to get Wayne Shaw reinstated at Sutton United, the spokesperson retorted, ‘Ah, but Wayne was clearly a club legend, doing his best for his cash-strapped local side. Foulke played for Chelsea. They’re rich bastards. They deserve all they get.’ I reminded him that Foulke’s meal-eating feat allegedly took place in 1906, Chelsea’s second-only season of existence, and a long time from the Abramovich-era of ownership. He thought for a minute and said, ‘Yea, but breach of the rules is breach of the rules.’

I enquired of the FA spokesperson what they thought the outcome would be, were the FA rules found to have been broken. The spokesperson replied, ‘Well, there is the possibility of a hefty fine, or perhaps even a points deduction. If Chelsea football club have known about any betting incident and not declared it, then they must be punished accordingly.’ As the spokesperson walked away, they were heard to mumble, ‘There is a way of stopping these irritating ruiners of football from winning trophies. We won’t let them get away with it.’

© Carol Ann Wood
February 2017


Index of Posts:


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Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Chinese Puzzle

More unsettling news for Chelsea, according to SkySports sources. Antonio Conte has today sensationally axed the entire first team squad after lacklustre display against Leicester, excepting Diego Costa. More details below.

Conte was confronted earlier today by approximately 50,000 Chinese journalists, a man from the local restaurant and the chairperson of the Chinese Whispers Association, as he went to put Costa through his paces. Conte explained that there was no row with Diego. ‘He injured his back’ the Italian elaborated. ‘He was bending down to pick up fragments of a broken china cup that Bella the dog had knocked off the table with her tail. I was a bit frustrated about that. So I shouted ‘Mama Mia! Why do you go and get china? You have a lively dog, you should use more sturdy crockery! Diego cried a bit but he was fine after a cuddle and a chocolate biscuit, and promised to try and get to Ikea as soon as possible.’

Conte went on to say ‘As for the rest of the squad? They were awful on Saturday! We are so far behind United, City, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool that it is a joke. We have no chance of a trophy with this lazy lot. They didn’t look as if they wanted to bother during the game so I told them not to bother coming in for training. China can takeaway all they want.’

There was a stunned silence previously unheard of from journalists, followed by the sound of hot air escaping. Conte then smiled politely and said ‘may you live in interesting times.’ Mr Conte added that should the club miraculously manage to turn this season around and finish in the top half of the table, there would be a complimentary serving of Humble Pie provided for all sections of the media at the last press conference in May.

© Carol Ann Wood
January 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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You Are Old Said The Mail

(With apologies to Lewis Carroll)

You are old, said the Mail,
And you dye your hair blonde,
Your jeans are impossibly tight.
Yet still you insist you are worth getting kissed,
Do you think at your age that is right?
You are old, said the Mail,
And your face, it has lines.
You’ve never had botox at all.
Yet you vie for attention
From players we mention,
Should you even BE at football?
You are old, said the Mail
And you don’t fit our bill
Of how an old woman should be.
You held a big banner in flirtatious manner,
And romped for the whole world to see!
You are old, said the Mail,
Past your prime, getting on,
A woman of fifty-six years!
And yet you don’t hide. Have you really no pride?
You’re endorsing our readers’ worst fears!
Well, I’ll say Daily Mail that I’m not yet quite frail,
I’m not gaga, or sweet, or infirm.
I’m a woman quite active
(My spouse says attractive!)
Has that made your readership squirm?
But it’s wrong! Says the Mail
To be visible still.
We’d hoped for a sexy young thing
To be clutching that shirt,
Not a hag in short skirt
And DMs that suggest she’s left-wing.
So up yours, Daily Mail cos I will not conform
To your idea of ‘acting my age.’
And I’ll do what I please, hugging David Luiz,
For I live in the pink, not in beige!

© Carol Ann Wood
December 2016

luiz-elderly-woman


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We Didn’t Want Him Anyway

It’s fine, it’s cool, it’s all okay,
We never even saw him play,
He’s mercenary, or so I’m told,
He’s injury-prone, he’s fat, he’s old,
And well, besides, it’s fair to say,
We didn’t want him anyway.
He’s lost his pace, he’d never fit,
I’m really glad we’re out of it,
And now our rivals have closed in,
We’ll just stay quiet and smug and grin,
They’ve bought him and they’ll rue the day,
Cos we didn’t want him anyway.
He’ll start a game and then he’ll fade,
A would-be, could-be masquerade,
He’ll soon regret his move I’m sure,
Week-in, week-out, he’ll never score,
And we’ll be several points ahead,
Their title challenge will be dead.
He only went there for the pay,
And we didn’t want him anyway.

© Carol Ann Wood
August 2015


Index of Posts:


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About the author
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NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
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How They Destroyed The Beautiful Game

Here are the FA Big Buck Bear Premiership Soccer Results
Chelsea Fulham Lions 22, Manchester Glazier Devils 21
Tottenham Hillbilly Cocks 18, Hull City Tigers 6
Liverpool Toffees 8 Cardiff Redbirds 6
Newcastle Red Sox 14 Sunderland Magpies 14
Norwich Tractor Boys 7, Southampton Blue Sox 16

Charlton Palace Rovers versus Manchester City Reds is a late kick off.
This virtual match is due to be screened by Sky sports channel 5,322 on the Supa Socca Midnight Special show.
Game to start at 2 am UK time.

And that concludes the total renovation, annihilation, globalisation and destruction of the sport that was once fiercely contested by good honest people.

© Carol Wood
January 2014


Index of Posts:


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My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
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NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
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Till Death Do Us Part ….

Anyone who knows me will agree that I am having an affair with my football club. For me, it’s a bit like those tee shirts that were produced a few years back, which stated ‘Chelsea is life, the rest is mere detail.’ Given the circumstances, one might imagine I was a fairly unlikely candidate for becoming a fanatical Chelsea supporter. Firstly, not one family member had ever shown an interest in football. Secondly, I was a girl. (Actually, I still am, albeit an older girl these days.) Thirdly, I was raised in rural Norfolk. I don’t think I need to expand on that one.

Then one day in April 1970 when I was nine years old, some girls in my school playground had cottoned on to the fact that if you wanted to impress the boys, you had to be ‘supporting’ one or other of the football teams in the forthcoming FA Cup Final. To join the girls’ skipping game, thus being with the ‘in crowd’ and impressing the boys, you were supposed to say you supported Leeds. They were were apparently the more popular, and most of the boys were going with them. So I lied. Yea, ok I’m sorry, but I wanted to impress Peter Butterworth, and Barry Broad. The guilt of that lie will stay with me for life. However, even at that stage, I knew deep down I was really meant to be Chelsea. And by the date of the Cup Final replay, I had ‘come out’ and declared my support of the Blues, by which time of course, the other girls had lost interest altogether, and my torrid and passionate affair was only just beginning.

I announced in a serious manner to my parents and older brother that I had become a Chelsea supporter. They laughed. Well it was 1970, and in their world, girls did not become football fans. It wasn’t as if I was even sporty, given my dyspraxic tendencies, meaning I was always last to get picked for any team games, and I dreaded PE. (Just a shame for England that David James didn’t realise he was dyspraxic.) My parents thought Chelsea was a phase I would grow out of, but once I had insisted on swapping my weekly Twinkle comic for Shoot, they realised their mistake. Amongst the girls at school I began to be considered something of an oddity. While my peers were dreaming of Donny Osmond, I thought I was going to marry Peter Osgood. I took great delight in hating Leeds, and annoying all the boys who ‘supported them’ (after all Leeds were the Man United of the day, and I had gone off Peter Butterworth and Barry Broad!) A hatred of Leeds mostly involved making up rude songs about Billy Bremner and Gary Sprake, or defacing their posters with felt tip pens in my copy of Shoot and passing them round the class.

I tried to persuade other girls to join my ‘Stamford Bridge Gang’ and the prerequisite for membership was to answer questions about Chelsea around the packed lunch table. Members also had to swear an oath of allegiance and we held regular meetings in a disused hen house in the field behind my home. I don’t think for a minute that these girls were remotely interested in Chelsea’s latest results, let alone what Peter Bonetti’s favourite cereal was, or where Charlie Cooke went for his holidays. I think they only went along with the whole thing because my mother had a reputation for making great flap jacks.

From then onwards, Saturdays became a bit of a battle ground. My parents had this ritual whereby my father went for a lunch time drink with his friends, was late home, and tried to appease my stony faced mother by suggesting a shopping trip to King’s Lynn. So I had to go too. Naturally I wanted to stay at home with the transistor radio and the television. Saturday afternoon sport on TV consisted of wrestling followed by the football results on the teleprinter. Women could be seen tapping away at their typewriters in the background, wearing what looked like nylon overalls, and that was as sophisticated as it got back then.

Instead, I had to trail around the shops, complaining as my mother picked out yet more hideous crimplene dresses for me, and all the time I would be fretting about Ossie’s groin strain. When the time got to twenty minutes to five – remember when matches were actually finished by then – I would insist on rushing up King’s Lynn high street to the nearest TV shop, to mingle with a crowd of like minded men and find out how we had done. Believe me, I probably could have held the world record for being chucked out of TV shops. Sometimes there was such a crowd gathered that the shop manager came along and switched all the TV sets off in a fit of pique. Those occasions were agony, because I had to hold my crackly transistor radio up to the car window on the way home in order to get the results. More often than not I would lose the reception altogether just as Chelsea’s score was coming through. My father was duly cursed for daring to drive past a building at that very moment.

Eventually, I wore my father’s resistance down and he had to take me to see Chelsea play. He had ‘decided’ at some point hence, that he was a Leeds fan. Funny, that. But I digress. We used to watch Chelsea play at Norwich each season, although for reasons which were best known to him, he made us stand with the home fans. Now I guess I must have looked rather out of place. A young child, wearing a blue and white hand knitted scarf and with a giant Chelsea rosette the size of a dinner plate pinned on to her anorak. You think that was just for match days? Get real, I wore that rosette on my anorak day in, day out. And I was not the sort of child who was going to keep quiet, or feel intimidated by a load of yellow and green canaries. Oh no, I shouted. I gave the home fans some decent stick, especially when they refused on one occasion to return the ball to Peter Bonetti. I hope he’s proud of me! My dad was a bit embarrassed though.

By the time I was finally taken to see Chelsea at the Bridge, the new East Stand was in place, and sadly, I never got to experience the delights of the original Shed. That’s one of my biggest regrets. My dad said it was ‘too rough’ for me. Actually I think he thought it was too rough for him. Because despite my small stature, I could, and still can, look after myself. I may have been watching from the East Stand and not the Shed, but I made my presence felt. Let’s just say that the linesmen, away supporters and opposing substitutes knew I was there! They still do, now that I sit in the Matthew Harding Lower by the corner flag!

So there you have it. Everyone has their own story to tell about how they got hooked on Chelsea. I always hoped that any children I might produce would share my passion, but I’m afraid to say my daughter supports Tottenham. You may be wondering how on earth this happened. I’d like to say that whilst I was spark out after her birth, she was kidnapped by aliens from the Seven Sisters. Unfortunately I have to admit that it’s because her father – my ex – is a Tottenham fan. He isn’t buried under the patio but in recent seasons it has been so much more fun to see him suffer the living hell of being beaten time and time again by Chelsea than to wish him any harm.

Then in 1985 my son Chris came along, and fortunately chose the sensible path. He’s 19 now, and likes to say that he became a Blue whilst still in the womb. He is what I would describe as a natural. I didn’t even have to tell him stuff about the history, the passion and past results. He just seemed to soak up information like a sponge. Maybe his theory is right, and it really is genetic. Anyway I can rest in the knowledge that once I am gone from this earth, the love of Chelsea lives on in Chris. Now there may come a point when I am old and eat cat food, and one of my biggest fears is that I go ‘ga ga’ and think I’m a Gooner. I made Chris promise that he would campaign for legalising Euthanasia if this happens. Growing old and eating cat food is one thing, but believing myself to be a Gooner would be beyond redemption!

As for personal relationships, well over the years I made a bit of a mess of them, I’m afraid. You see, Peter Osgood and Peter Bonetti declined my proposals of marriage – probably best, as I was only ten at the time of writing the letters – and the likes of Garry Stanley never noticed me. Too late now, I’m old enough to be the mother of most of the first team! Instead I’ve found myself involved either with men who supported another club (like the Tottenham fan whom I divorced on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour) or men who are not the least bit interested in football at all. My second husband falls into the latter category. I am actually living with someone who thinks Zola was a French philosopher. He has never understood about the celery, still believing it to be a strange choice of half time snack, and when I once happened to mention the FA Vase, I had to click on google to get him to believe that I wasn’t winding him up!

© Carol Ann Wood, 2004


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Warning

Poet Jenny Joseph declares:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

I shall not wear purple. But I will probably do other inappropriate things…

Warning

(With apologies to Jenny Joseph)

When I am old, I won’t be wearing purple.
Instead I’ll wear a Chelsea shirt in bed,
And I shall not be good, or not be careful,
And I will let red wine go to my head.
When I am old, I’ll run around at matches
And be completely mad and never care.
And if we win some trophies in the future
I’ll dance about in Chelsea underwear.
And when I’m old, if folk are disapproving
I’ll tell them that my mind has truly gone
Then they will show me care and understanding,
No one will know for sure if it’s put on!
But when I’m old, if I should need a scooter
To scoot along the pavement in the town,
I’ll spot a Gooner, then I’ll smile so sweetly
And oh so accidentally run him down!

© Carol Ann Wood
January 2005


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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The Toddler’s ABC Of Football

A’s for Away Fans who shout naughty things,
There’s always a fat man at whom your fans sing!

B is for Burgers, all greasy and yuk,
If you don’t get poisoned it’s just by sheer luck.

C is for Corporates, flash suits and ties,
They sit in glass boxes and never eat pies.

D is for Diving like some players do.
They land with a thud and then roll around too!

E is for Eng-er-land when men with big bellies
Drink cans of lager and shout at their tellys.

F is for Flags on poles, waved very high,
And the man in the front yells you’ve poked out his eye!

G is for Going Down, it’s called relegation,
The fans weep and scream and then shout in frustration.

H is for Half Time, you stand in a queue,
When the second half’s started you’re still in the loo!

I is for Injuries, see players groan,
Then the stretcher comes on and they walk on their own!

J is for Jammy, like some teams in red,
And all their supporters have got a big head.

K is for Kick Off times, made for TV.
In the olden days, matches all started at three!

L is for Losing which makes fans quite cross,
And for Linesmen with whom players argue the toss.

M is for Mascots, all bouncy and funny,
Like a bee or a wolf or a bloody great bunny!

N is for New Grounds, no history behind them,
Stuck miles out from anywhere so you can’t find them!

O is for Offside, a goal disallowed
When the man with the flag disagrees with the crowd!

Q is for Quiet grounds where fans sing no more.
They just clap politely if their team should score.

R is for Referees – fair, firm and kind,
But sometimes supporters suggest that they’re blind!

S is for Sending Off, players get mad,
As the ref waves his card they yell “You’ve got no dad!”

T is for Time Added On at the end
When a manager’s watch becomes his best friend.

U is for Unfair, when referees seem
To be a big fan of the opposite team.

V is for View when the game is a thriller
But you might not see from behind that big pillar!

W’s for words that are not always nice,
Don’t say them in nursery, take my advice!

X is in eXtra time when no goals are scored,
You’ll want to go home cos you’re getting quite bored.

Y is the Youth squad whose players all dream
Of being old rich and foreign just like the first team!

And Z is for Z list, the girls who hang round
To catch all the players when they leave the ground!

@ Carol Wood
July 2009


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Oh for the Cup Winner’s Cup

Oh for the Cup Winner’s Cup
That trophy they made obsolete
I’d still take the highs and the lows
I’d still take that Tromso defeat
When Jonathan Pierce got a trifle excited
“It’s snow joke for Chelsea,” he said
And on the return leg we sorted it out
And turned it around on its head.
Oh for the Cup Winner’s Cup
With Dennis and Zola et al
When small teams came calling
It all seemed such fun
In fact, we were having a ball.
Oh for the Cup Winner’s Cup
First conquered in 71
I loved it, I loved it, so why did it end
Just when we were having such fun?

© Carol Ann Wood,
May 2007


Index of Posts:


Links:
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About the author
Contact the author
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NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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League Ladders

I got so excited about my league Ladder
Which came free with Shoot every season.
Just a bit of cardboard with twenty two slots
For the twenty two teams
Of the mighty first division.
Oh how much fun it was going to be
Watching Chelsea move up the league
Week by week, until hopefully, in May, they would be top.
I knew it would happen. Of course it would.
When the first league table was printed in the paper,
(Usually after three games or so)
Chelsea were often around fourteenth.
But that didn’t matter …
There were lots of games to go
And, by May, they would be top. Of course they would.
September came and went, then October.
Then I got a bit bored waiting for Chelsea to be near the top,
And more than a bit cross about Leeds being there instead.
So I thought it wouldn’t matter if I swapped them around.
As the season wore on, I’d get madder and madder.
Leeds stayed bottom in my alternative table.
Chelsea were top. Except of course, they weren’t really.
I wish they still made League Ladders
And all fans could have their own alternative Premiership!

© Carol Ann Wood
May 2007


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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He Doesn’t Go

Look love, you don’t seem to get it!
I know you mean no harm but why should I forget it?
Cos when I say he doesn’t go, he doesn’t go. Okay?
No way.
He won’t go just to ‘keep me company.’
And no, he doesn’t mind
And he lets me out on my own,
Far away from the female zone.
And yes, isn’t he kind!
He doesn’t go because he doesn’t like the game.
So no dear, no, men are not ‘all the same.’
And no you tosspot geezer, he is not gay.
But even if he was, so what.
Stick your homophobic neanderthal tendencies away
Where the sun don’t shine.
Cos if you can’t understand – fine!
Why would I drag him along
To make things right for you
Which you seem to think are wrong?
No, he doesn’t go, not ever.
Cos he won’t suddenly wake up one day and go “OOOOOH!”
And ask to come to football too.
Is that okay with you dear, or don’t you think he’s being a man?
After all in your world – as you tell me often –
It’s the male who is the football fan.
And did I ever tell you that you must be a time traveller
Living in the wrong year?
As this is twenty sixteen, love,
Not nineteenth century, dear!!

© Carol Ann Wood
Written March 2010, updated June 2016


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Back To The Future

Thwack. Biff. Splot. Smack. People are asking me if I’m alright. I am. I’m fine, the ball has hit me on the side of my head. But I’m fine. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I’m weak. Someone says Butch Wilkins is on the bench. I don’t know why he wasn’t playing today. He must have got an injury. We’re playing Aston Villa. But something’s different. All the players on the pitch are wearing really long, old fashioned shorts. And they’ve got writing on the front of their shirts, and names on the back. It must be a new thing they’ve brought in. I can’t have read the papers properly this week. Maybe Mum used yesterday’s sports section to put on the floor to clean out the budgie’s cage, instead of using an older copy.

One thing is the same though. We’re playing crap. Probably missing Butch. But I think we must be playing some of the younger players as I don’t recognise any of the names. Most of them are foreign names. That’s odd. Foreign players? The defence is very shaky. We’ve never won the league since I’ve been alive, and winning that is something we can only dream about. I don’t think we’ll even win another major trophy like the FA cup or the league cup at this rate. Someone just said we’re 17th in the table.That’s typical for this time in the season. I hope we won’t be relegated but you get used to working out goal average on your calculator every April to see if we are safe.

Fans are singing some chants I’ve not heard before, but then someone starts We All Follow The Chelsea. I like that one. I like hearing Liquidator, too, before the game starts. I can see the Match Of The Day cameras which is exciting because we don’t get on the telly very much. They always choose Liverpool and if not them, Man United or Leeds. They’re so biased, although I do like Motty, and he’ll be commentating on this game.

I hope there won’t be any trouble on the tube going back to Liverpool Street. I know some people think it’s fun but they scare other passengers with their punch ups. Oh! Wow! We’ve scored! Hang on, there are some Villa fans in part of the Shed. I can see their colours. Villa, taking the Shed? Come one Chelsea boys, don’t let them away with that! I know I said I don’t like the fighting but they don’t come here and walk all over our patch.

I might get a new satin scarf from the club caravan on the way out of the ground, I think I’ve got just enough money. They’ve had some good things in lately. I got a blue leather wrist cuff at the last game, and I’m wearing my new badge Chelsea Run From No One. I even wear it to school when I can get away with it. Some of my friends get fed-up with me running on abut football but they put up with it and some of them even agree that Tommy Langley is sexy. I forgot to get his autograph today, but I’ve got it loads of times already. I say the same thing to him before the game if I can catch him pitch side. I say: ‘I hope you’re going to score today, Tommy.’ And he says ‘I’ll do my best, love.’ He even winked at me once. I was so happy. No one at school believed me though. I wish I’d brought my camera but I can’t afford the films for it all the time.

My head still feels a bit funny. We’ve had half time and I never saw the peanut seller. Some girls came round the pitch with some trophies, I think they’re from the local girls’ school and it was a special treat for them to parade round the pitch. Lucky them, getting to play football at school. We have to do hockey and I hate it. I wouldn’t be any good at football but at least I’d enjoy it. YEEEEESSSS! A goal at our end! 2-0, that will help us up the table and I can put our real position on the Shoot league ladder. Sometimes it gets too depressing so I put Leeds at the bottom and us at the top. My dad gets cross and says that it’s stupid but I have to cheer myself up somehow.

I’m feeling quite hungry. The man next to me is eating something called a S .. snickers? What a stupid name for a chocolate bar. It must be American or something. Just hang on, Chelsea, please. We need these two points. I’ll have to wait till I get home and see Match Of The Day for the other results unless anyone in the crowd has a transistor radio with them. We don’t pass a Curry’s. I hope Leeds have lost and then I can laugh at those boys at school who are always having a joke about Chelsea.

Someone is talking to me and saying I might need to be checked over. Look, I’m okay, honest. Unless they’re offering for me to be checked over by Tommy Langley and then I’m not okay, I’m in need of first aid.

Oh. What, you mean this is not the 1970s? Well, pardon me for thinking it was, but given the way we’ve been playing lately, surely I can be forgiven? Yes, yes, my mistake. I know it’s 2015 now. I was just a bit stunned by that ball hitting me on the head. The players? Oh, well, they’ve caught up a bit. They’ve probably reached the early noughties, today. Pre-Roman, late Bates era. Still a lot of work to be done.

© Carol Ann Wood
October 2015


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are placed there by a WordPress algorithm. They are not indicative of any endorsement by the author.


Rare Find

I’ve never seen a pig that flies,
Nor spied a moon that’s blue.
But I have seen a rarity,
I swear it’s really true.
The other day I met a man
Who thus inspired this ditty.
He told me he supports Man U
And lives in that same city!

© Carol AnnWood
May 2009


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are placed there by a WordPress algorithm. They are not indicative of any endorsement by the author.


The Football Supporter’s Guide To The Close-Season

Does the thought of more than a week without football fill you with dread?

Do you get withdrawal symptoms the day after the season ends, even though your team have been relegated for the third consecutive year, lost their star players and can’t even afford any tea bags, let alone new strikers?

Then you, my friend, in case you didn’t know, are an addict. You are in need of guidance during those fretful, restless weeks from mid-May to mid-August. That’s assuming, of course, that there is no World Cup, Euro competition or even a meaningless tournament in an obscure part of the world to take your mind off things.

This guide is here to show you how you can still enjoy the summer break. It tells you how you can use this time to reflect, learn from past mistakes and recharge your batteries. Spend this time fruitfully. With this guide, you can emerge successfully from the close-season, prepared anew for the nine months of torture that your club are about to put you through.

New Songs

Of course, we all know that the best terrace chants are spontaneous, and often refer to an incident in a particular game. Or, they may stem from the last time your team met these particular opponents. However, there is advantage to be had in a certain amount of preparation. You could be the envy of all your mates as you amaze them with your quick wit. Firstly, you have to learn off-by-heart all the latest chart hits. Once you have mastered the tunes, you need to join all the football groups on Facebook, and have your TV permanently tuned to Sky Sports News. You will then be readily informed on the latest gossip concerning what your least favourite players from rival teams get up to in the summer break. Then, write new words to the songs. You will surprise everyone next season, including the player concerned, when you sing loudly about his decorating accident to the tune of the latest Boy Band hit. Your mates will be in hysterics when they hear how Arsenal’s newest signing got his big toe stuck in the bath tap, and how that diving so-and-so from Tottenham lay on the pavement for hours after tripping on a loose flagstone because passers by thought he was play-acting.

Spotting the opposition

This can be an amusing pastime. If you happen upon fans of teams that yours screwed over last season, you can strut about, smirk, and tell them you’re sorry they’ve had such a rough time and awful bad luck, and that you’re sure they’ll do better now they’re in the Piddlington Minor League. Knowing that their club are also skint, you can ask politely if they have made any new signings yet. This will leave them spitting, because they can’t knock seven bells out of you when you’re being so nice, can they? Fans of teams like this are easy to find – sitting alone, staring dejectedly into a half-finished pint, in the furthest, darkest, corner of their town’s Wetherspoon’s.

For fans of teams who screwed yours, actively searching them out is probably not such a good idea. Should you accidentally encounter supporters of teams you consider a bunch of arrogant tossers, make a point of ignoring them. Look through them as if they’re not there. This will leave them spitting because they can’t abide being ignored. If you are spotted by fans of a particular club from the North of England who want to engage in conversation, ask them what it is like to live in Cornwall/Japan/Korea. Also (and for any other team which plays in red) remark on the supporter’s wife’s pink sun dress, and say it’s a shame that the merchandise from their club-shop has faded as much as their team. Then scarper.

Laughing at other team’s new replica shirts

This activity can be a hoot. Fans who buy replica shirts will usually pre-order to receive on official release day, so that they can wear them all summer, and be the latest in footy haute-couture. It matters not how awful the style is, nor whether it has zips, chains or whips incorporated into its design. Some people will still happily pay £60 a throw. I use the word throw quite deliberately. We all know that there will be at least one moment during the coming season when the actions or words of the team/manager/ref/opposition will cause us to throw said shirt on to the ground in disgust. Or perhaps, occasionally, it’ll be thrown in celebration.

Wearers of the latest replica shirts can be found in abundance along the coastal catwalks (promenades) of Britain’s resorts. Inevitably, the styles and designs of top club’s shirts will filter down to the lower leagues. This can cause great mirth if you keep your eyes peeled. For example, a goalie shirt incorporating a famous bridge into the background may be seen as inventive, even artistic, at a stretch. But can you say the same for an outline of the old gas-works in Upper Bloggsville? Especially when worn by Upper Bloggsville’s greatest fan, Mrs Shirley Higginbottom?

Look also at the names and numbers on the backs of the replica shirts. Fans of lower league clubs will fail to understand what you find so funny about names like Wally, Pratt and Bogg as you and your mates proudly show off the names of your latest signings, Giovanni Wotaninni and Karl Vanker. The more they ask you what’s so funny, the more you will all laugh. This will leave them spitting. Of course, if you spot a six-foot-six geezer with a neck the width of your own thigh, displaying ‘Hardballs 69’ on the back of his shirt, it is safest not to laugh. It might be his own name. Don’t even ask about the number.

Another note of caution about shirts: If your own team haven’t yet brought out their new kit, tread warily. You could be laughing at Allmouth Town’s brown, grey-and-purple get-up one day, and the following morning find that your team have produced a shirt of fuchsia-and-silver with orange hearts, sponsored by a well known brand of panty-liners.

Be the first to know the transfer gossip

To be ahead of your mates in the transfer gossip, you need to ignore all the most obvious moves being discussed. Use social media cleverly, by following as many lesser-known footballers you can on Twitter. Read their every remark, because behind that seemingly innocuous tweet about buying their wife a new car is a transfer story waiting to break. Ted Twobob doesn’t get paid that much at Cruddbourne FC. Clearly he’s going places if his wife has a new BMW. Check their photographs on Instagram. That 21-year old Brazilian, who you’ve heard is the new Jamie Vardy, may not be sunbathing at the Copa Cabana beach after all. Look at the photograph’s background. Might it resemble Redcar? You will be the first to guess he’s moving to Middlesborough. Your friends will be spitting because you knew it before them.

Pre-season friendlies

Club tours are organised with great precision nowadays, some way in advance. It is important therefore, if you intend to follow your team by drinking your way around the world/UK/Upper Boggington, to book your summer break early. Try and be evasive when your non-football supporting boss finds it hard to understand, in December, why you pre-announce your intentions to visit Solihull in the last week of June.

Pre-season games may be treated as a bit of a laugh by you and your mates, but it isn’t the same for everyone. These matches are often designed to give smaller clubs a chance of extra revenue, and the experience of playing a larger club. So if your mighty men are away at Thornside Wanderers from the Tampons R Us League, don’t expect a friendly welcome. Facing your team’s reserves is the biggest game in their club’s history and they will take it seriously. Their fans think you’re a bunch of pampered higher league wankers. Those un-flushed bogs, half-defrosted grease-burgers, mugs of dishwater tea – and the bollock-kicking defenders – have been saved up for your visit. They are out to prove that they are the toughest, bravest, dirtiest team in the district. Ditto their fans. Please don’t attempt to prove them wrong, as it is probably true. Instead, listen to their views about the grass roots of football. Nod and smile admiringly at their tales of away match exploits at Dullville Town. If it all gets too much for you, ask them what they think about the latest news that Roman Abramovich’s cousin has bought Woolerton United, their local rivals. Let their jaws drop whilst you talk disparagingly about too much money in the game. As they’re all so hard, they won’t be able to show how gutted they are. This will leave them spitting.

Resolve to abandon all silly superstitions

Well come on, hopping backwards out your front door with one hand in a trouser pocket and the other on your nether regions didn’t do a lot for your team’s form, did it? Nor your reputation amongst the neighbours. And remember the office dispute about the stench from your socks in May? It’s time to take off your cat’s flea-collar/Local Vicar’s Dog-Collar, and stop being so ridiculous. You know realistically that none of these things have any effect whatsoever on your team’s performance. It doesn’t matter whether you run around Tesco naked, save for your club scarf, arrive at the ground on one roller-skate, or wear a Gary Lineker mask. If your team are going to lose, they’re going to lose. Nakedness and roller skates are one thing, but you don’t have to embarrass yourself by wearing a Gary Lineker mask. Now we’ve got that straight, perhaps you could also resolve not to spend quite so much money on club merchandise. If you fail to buy those dart flights, it doesn’t mean your club can’t afford Mario Moneygrabber from Serie C. Take a look at your purchases from last season. Just how many club-branded beach-mats can you actually use? Make a pact with yourself to stick to basic leisurewear and the occasional flag. However, just because you are cutting back yourself, it doesn’t mean that you can’t spend some time in the close-season inventing new merchandise. You will be the envy of your mates when you receive a nice letter and gift voucher from the merchandising department, in thanks for your wonderful ideas. Because of your creative genius, your club will now be stocking club-crested cheese graters and ironing-board covers. Your mates will wish they’d though of it first, and they will be spitting.

Prepare for future away cup ties

Your team may be drawn against little-known clubs in the FA Cup next season. On-line guides to league grounds are simply not enough to see you through the coming months. The best way to find out about non-league grounds is to familiarise yourself with the websites of as many as possible. When, in January, your team is drawn out of the hat for an away tie at Husband’s Bosworth United, you will impress your mates by immediately telling them the name of the ground, admission price, and capacity. However, don’t rely too much on the accuracy of the information received. A close inspection of Muesli Town’s website – listing their prices as ‘£5 for adults, £1 for juveniles’ – will also say ‘Last updated September 2003’. Follow their site’s directions to the stadium, and you’ll find that it’s been a housing estate for a decade and the club have moved to a brand-new stadium twenty-five miles up the motorway next to Ikea. Far from being impressed, this could leave your mates spitting.

Learn a language

If your team are lucky enough to be playing in Europe next season, just going to the away tie is not sufficient to impress your mates. Anyone earning a fortune or borrowing money on a credit card can go abroad with their team. It’s old hat. You, however, could use the close-season to learn some new languages. After all, what fun is it to shout rude things at the opposition/ref/local louts when they can’t appreciate your wit? You may as well be singing ‘Barcelona, Barcelona, you’re a silly load of twits’ or ‘Referee, referee, you’re a really naughty man’. Anyway, given the number of overseas players in the leagues these days, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a spot of, say, colloquial French. Your team’s local defender may not have a clue what Percy le Pratt said to him after that tackle, but you can impress your mates by lip-reading, and then contacting the FA so they can review the incident and get le Pratt suspended.

Of course, if your team’s only foreigner is Petar Pavlov whose granny was a Slovakian body-builder, and your lot have as much chance of ever playing in Europe as Dodsworth Marsh Rovers, you may find that learning other English dialects is more appropriate. For example, a big part of Geordie pride is based on the fact that no-one else can understand them. When you play away on Tyneside, imagine the effect when you can respond appropriately to their delightful humour? It will leave them spitting.

Write a book

Everyone is writing footy books nowadays. It doesn’t matter if you’re semi-literate, totally unimaginative, or boring. If you are all three of these things, so much the better. You can write about last season’s adventures from the perspective of the die-hard fan. Publishers just can’t get enough of fan memoirs – especially if you have previous convictions for GBH but are now head of quality control for a pepper-spray manufacturing company. All you need to do is write down everything that happened last season, including the incident at Elland Road with the Yorkshire Curd Tart. It may not have seemed that important at the time, but fans everywhere will be able to identify with it. This is the sort of thing they want to read. They don’t want to know about corporate hospitality or prats who can’t tell a free kick from a free match ticket. They want to get in touch with the nitty-gritty, the good old fashioned mooning of arses out of supporters’ coach windows. They want to know about the hilarious songs sung to the opposition fans like We can see you sneaking out. They want to know about your mate Dave and the women of Grimley Vale. You are what they want to read about. Mark my words, you’ll be signing copies in Waterstone’s before the end of next season. You will get to meet all your team’s stars and be the envy of your mates. They will wish they had thought of this idea first and it will leave them spitting.

So there you have it! Just a few little tips to get you through the long, boring days when you are desperate for the company of the obese, whinging geezer who breathes curry fumes all over you in the stand, and missing the online virtual waiting room when trying to buy away tickets. Wasn’t it all such a laugh, watching Barry Brimstone, your local idiot, get arrested in that Northern town, and how comradely that you all had to club together for the fine. Well, there’s no need to get too nostalgic, because by the time you have read this, the new season will be upon you. It might seem a long stretch without the beautiful game, but these days, one season slips into another without anyone noticing. In fact, there is hardly a close-season any more.

© Carol Ann Wood
June 2016


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are placed there by a WordPress algorithm. They are not indicative of any endorsement by the author.