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:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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Shirt Man: Sign Of the Times

And all to make themselves look big
‘I beg, therefore I am.’

For clarification: I am not against players gifting shirts per se. I have one much-treasured match-worn shirt myself. But when individuals describe themselves as ‘shirt collectors’ and their signs are getting bigger by the game, I believe it’s gone too far. Their greed has not gone unnoticed.


He must get Toni Rüdiger’s,
He must get Hazard’s too.
He must get every match worn shirt
That’s worn by those in blue.

He doesn’t care who he might shove,
He’s like a battering ram.
He holds aloft his home made signs
Then boasts on Instagram.

You’ll see folk like him after games,
They chase the players’ cars.
They hunt them down near restaurants,
The training ground, and bars.

If shirt man doesn’t get his prize,
He’ll yell and shout some more.
With his cornflake packet held aloft,
It’s what he’s living for.

The players sometimes drive on by
But he will not relent.
A shirt’s his status symbol
And he thinks it’s time well spent.

If stewards scold, he simply throws
His sign out of his pram.
For he is shirt man, King Of Greed,
And he boasts on instagram.

And shirt man says we’re jealous
Just because he gets the most.
But some of us support the team
With no desire to boast.

What happened to the sport we love
Where grown men feel no shame
In snatching prized material
From children at the game?

And all to make themselves look big
‘I beg, therefore I am.’
A sad, sad sign of modern times
As they boast on Instagram.


© Carol Ann Wood
May 2019


This poem is part of the collection Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered:
The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri
.

Click here to learn more. Click here to order in paperback or Kindle editions.


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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


This poem is part of the collection Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered:
The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri
.

Click here to learn more. Click here to order in paperback or Kindle editions.


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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


This poem is part of the collection Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered:
The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri
.

Click here to learn more. Click here to order in paperback or Kindle editions.


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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


This poem is part of the collection Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered:
The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri
.

Click here to learn more. Click here to order in paperback or Kindle editions.


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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

An updated version of this poem is part of the collection Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered:
The poetic ramblings of a die-hard Chelsea supporter during the head-scratching 2018-19 reign of Maurizio Sarri
.

Click here to learn more. Click here to order in paperback or Kindle editions.



Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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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


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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


Index of Posts:


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I was a Butch Wilkins Babe

When the untimely death of Ray Wilkins was announced I, like many other supporters, was instantly transported back to my youth. We mourn the loss of all Chelsea greats, but Ray’s playing time at Chelsea is reminiscent of a remarkable and turbulent time in the club’s history. It’s hard to put into words what I feel about that era, but I’m going to try.

I was one of the incoming supporters of 1970. April 11th that year marked the formal announcement to my family that I was a Blue. My parents laughed, thinking that I’d forget about Chelsea after a week or so. Little did they know that they’d given birth to a die-hard. And, pretty soon, I was going to learn, in the harshest possible way, about what what being a football supporter really meant. 

My first heroes were Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood and the rest of the great team that won that FA Cup, following up with the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1971. It was pretty good being Chelsea then. I’d rope my school friends into playtime imaginary match scenarios where we’d thrash Leeds, Gary Sprake letting in about ten goals, and Billy Bremner being sent off. But then Chelsea slid into decline on the pitch and into financial crisis off it. My support never wavered, though. The club had captured my heart and, despite their relegation and near-liquidation, I ignored the taunts from supporters of other teams. Chelsea was for life.

Then, out of the turbulence, came the fresh young kids under the guidance of manager and former player Eddie McCreadie. Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins was centre stage. Captain at 18, he showed remarkable maturity as well as an abundance of talent. What was different for me, was that I was now a teenager. You know, hormones and all that. Ray was a pin-up, my first heart-throb. Like countless other young Chelsea girls, I swooned over him with his dark, soulful eyes and his trendy clothes. 

My favourite girls’ magazines would regularly feature a poster of Ray. But I wasn’t content with just one on my bedroom wall; I would swap sweets with my friends in exchange for their duplicate posters. Mostly, these friends weren’t into football, so the arrangement worked very well. Nowadays, I suppose, I might have been described as a wag wannabe. Except, it wasn’t quite like that back then. I was fifteen, but didn’t have access to the type of makeovers that fifteen year olds have today. I had no clue how to apply make up, and I had spots which I covered with orange-tinted Clearasil. I sported a boyish haircut that definitely didn’t make me look chic. I was also a realist, knowing that I didn’t have a hope in hell of marrying Butch Wilkins, but I could still adore him. 

Carol Bedroom copy

Back in the mid-seventies, there was little chance of post-match photographs with players – film was expensive, and we didn’t bring cameras to every game. I was, however, often to be found pitch-side with my autograph book, there being no replica shirts to get signed. And players rarely gave their own shirts away. One shirt had to last, rather than having two per game as is the norm now. The club was on its knees financially – even the subs bench didn’t have a roof. Young supporters are always incredulous when I recount how substitutes sat huddled in sleeping bags when it rained.

I expressed my own adoration of Butch with a homemade badge displaying his photo, and a satin scarf proclaiming ‘I’m A Butch Wilkins Babe’. The scarf was bought from the temporary club shop, which was actually a caravan, accessible by only five supporters at a time. But, oh, the inventiveness of the memorabilia back then! So much better than the bland, unimaginative, over priced tat of today’s Megastore. 

My excitement knew no bounds, when my dad promised to take me to Chelsea’s Mitcham training ground during the Easter school holidays in 1976. I bored my friends silly with the talk of meeting Ray properly, and yes, getting a photo. I had a Chelsea pen friend by then. A girl of around my age, whom I got to know via Fab 208 magazine. (Sally Harlow, from Witham, Essex, if you’re out there, I mean you!) I told Sally that we were going to Mitcham, and she arranged to meet us there with two of her friends.

Of course, meeting Ray was as wonderful as we’d imagined, and even my mother developed a middle-aged crush on him, because he was so articulate and charming. Footballers didn’t always have a great reputation, but he was a model professional. I even took my cassette recorder to the training ground, and taped snatches of the conversation that we had with Ray, and his brothers, Graham and Steve, as they returned to Graham’s car – a Cortina, I think. How I wish I still had that tape.

I do still have the treasured photo of me and Ray. It’s a bit blurry because my dad wasn’t a great photographer and basic cameras weren’t very sophisticated. Oceans of water have passed under Stamford Bridge since then, of course. It broke my teenage heart when Ray was transferred to Manchester United, but I tried to understand, because the club was in a precarious position and we had to sell our best assets. Little did I know then that we would see him return three times in a coaching role, the favourite period of which has to be as assistant to Ancelotti.

Carol & Ray Wilkins

Ray had his demons and his tough times, but I’m not going to dwell on that. I didn’t always agree with his match analysis of late, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t respect his opinions. He was honest and spoke eloquently. Moreover, he always spoke as one of us, a supporter who loved the club as we do. Even when you have a shared passion and ultimately desire the same outcome, you won’t agree on every point.

My ‘I’m A Butch Wilkins Babe’ scarf will be taken for its final outing at the Bridge on Sunday when we pay tribute to Ray. I noticed one in the Chelsea museum recently, and remarked on the fact that it was in such pristine condition compared to mine. Mine is much-faded, because it was clutched, waved, and cried on a lot during Ray’s Chelsea career. But memories don’t fade. This weekend, I will be fifteen again in my heart, and I will wave that scarf, on which tears will once more fall.

RIP Raymond Colin Wilkins

© Carol Ann Wood April 2018


Links:
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About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
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That Day Will Never Come

When the bars of Liquidator fail to move me,
When I care not for the pride that stirs the soul,
If I speak not of the future or the old days,
If my life without them wouldn’t leave a hole,
Then I’ll know it’s time to stop supporting Chelsea.
If that day should come, then yes, I’ll let you know.
But that day is never, ever going to happen.
Till my dying day I’ll always want to go.
For whatever all the troubles that befall them.
Then as long as I can move, I’ll give my heart.
Different players, different owners, different coaches.
But the club I love and I will never part.
If the chanting and singing should get boring,
If I cannot take defeat and then move on,
If I never wake with great anticipation,
Then I know that is the time that I’ll be gone.
If my heart no longer sings at Fulham Broadway,
If away trips do not give me nervous chills,
If I care not for the passion and for friendships,
If I don’t enjoy the the frequent thrills and spills,
Then I’ll know it’s time to stop supporting Chelsea.
Yet that day will never come, I know it’s true.
In the good times, in the bad and in between times,
I remain for all my life a Chelsea blue.

© Carol Ann Wood
February 2018


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
About the author
Contact the author, or follow this blog
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 Basics:

Have we forgotten how to be supporters?

‘Something’s clearly not right.’

‘There’s tension, you can see it in their body language.’

‘They just didn’t look interested. Have they gone on strike?’

‘Something’s happening behind the scenes.’

I’m as guilty as the next person of over-analysis of the football psyche. The journalists and the pundits all do it. Now, it’s common place for supporters to proffer their amateur sports psychologist-speak as an answer to why their team aren’t playing well. I’m not knocking professional sports psychology. I think it has much to offer. But most of us haven’t studied sports psychology, so maybe we should get back to being supporters.

At Chelsea, our fans can probably be forgiven for going down the ‘something’s not right’ path every time our team has a bad run. We sometimes feel the club’s being run like a soap opera. Or a funfair. Roll up, roll up, all the fun of the managerial merry-go-round. It’s little wonder that when an ex-manager is spotted watching a game, the media go into overdrive. Chelsea have form in this respect. Our owner is infamous for pressing the ‘Sack’ button – sometimes a justifiable decision, at other times bafflingly so – at regular intervals. And, given the fiasco of two seasons ago when it did appear some players had stopped playing for Mourinho, we sort of expect it to happen again, and continually brace ourselves for the latest instalment.

I can’t help feel, though, that we supporters are feeding back into the perceived drama a bit too much. We tweet about every kick of the ball. We tweet about players as they come out of the tunnel. Do they look ‘up for it’? What was Cahill’s sniff of all about? Was it a sniff of contempt? Complacency? Clue: He could just have been suffering from a common cold. Or was it not a sniff, but a sneer? And then the tales get taller and taller.

Chinese whispers have always been a part of the beautiful game, but before the advent of social media, they were confined to print journalism and the two stalwarts chatting over a pint down the pub. One of them had a neighbour whose sister was tea-lady and she saw the manager and his centre forward have a brawl after the 4-0 drubbing. But contemporary football supporters are saturated with news, fake or real, any time of day or night that they care to peruse it.

It’s hard to get my head around the fact that in 2007 when Jose Mourinho was sacked in his first spell at Chelsea, I didn’t know till I heard the news on breakfast radio. No smart phones then, no Twitter to be perpetually connected to. Whilst things weren’t going so well early that season, the news was still a bit of a shock for those of us not party to The House Of Roman. In hindsight, I would probably have preferred a little forewarning. But I think it’s gone too much the other way since.

Being amateur sports psychologists, means we can’t have a single day where we don’t predict what’s going to happen, or fret about what already might be happening. Last summer, after winning the league but losing the FA Cup Final, the constant rumours spoilt the enjoyment of the season. I hardly had a day where I could revel in being being Champions of England. Conte had apparently had a rift with the board over frustration at the lack of signings. That may have been partly true, and given our current situation with injuries and a wafer-thin squad, it could prove to be our downfall during this campaign.

Of course we all want – and are perfectly entitled – to voice our opinions on these issues. But I feel we’ve reached saturation point. Our brains can’t cope with the constant stream of rumour on social media. I can’t count how many amateur sports psychologists, would-be journalists and budding football managers I have had to block on Twitter, as they spread their opinions and ‘analysis’ from their bedrooms in Zachoalia. Or Upper Piddlington.

I would love to read good old fashioned match analysis and a bit of a grumble.

Well, we got three points but we’re still not on form. Bit crap at times. Defence is looking wobbly, needs sorting. Anyway, UTC. Buzzing for Bournemouth mate!

I’m a bit weary of : You can tell he’s not happy, he went straight down the tunnel after waving to the fans. Clue: He could have been desperate for a slash.

Or: He was smirking. His head’s not right. Did you see the way he pouted just then? Yea, definitely gone in January. Clue: If we were filmed continually during a game, how many different facial expressions do you think we’d have? I have seen screen shots of myself during matches. At times when we’ve been winning comfortably, I’ve looked decidedly angry. At times when we’ve been losing, I’ve looked as happy as Larry. I must be plastic, then!

As I said, I am as guilty as anyone of over-analysing. But I’m trying to do less of it. I don’t have any control over what happens during games anyway, other than getting behind the team as much as possible. Like, when we’re losing or playing badly, urging the team on, rather than bad mouthing individual players. Players can, and often do, respond positively to crowd encouragement. Now that’s real sports psychology!

© Carol Ann Wood
Sunday 22 October 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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Lazy Players Don’t Work Hard

In response to Paul Merson, who called David Luiz ‘lazy’

Lazy players don’t work hard, they languish on the bench,
Or gamble all their wealth away amid a media stench.
Lazy players don’t play through a barrier of pain.
Instead they drown their sorrows or perhaps they take cocaine.
Everyone deserves a second chance, I will agree,
But your attack on Geezer does not resonate with me.
Lazy words from a bitter man is how you come across.
So please cut out your nasty jibes, we’re sick of all your dross.
Dear God, Merse, you are laughable, so what, you won a lot?
But it doesn’t mean you’re justified to venom-spew. You’re not!
Geezer is a real man and a better one than you.
From in your cosy studio, you probably know that’s true.
You’ve clearly never watched our games, you cannot see his fight.
For every ball, for every pass, our warrior, in flight.
And yes, mistakes are sometimes made, he’s human, after all.
But at least his life is clean and good when he’s not playing football.
So think on, Merse, before you judge, and pick upon his flaws.
Our man Luiz defends the line, but you just snorted yours.

© Carol Ann Wood
October 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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The Transfer Troll Is King

It is the silly season and the meltdown’s in full swing.
It’s all going off in Twitter-land where the transfer troll is king.
The fanboys in their bedrooms are a-weeping and a-wailing.
They say our club is going bad, and at transfers we are failing.

The sky will soon fall in, they tweet, if we don’t hear some news.
They cannot stand this untold stress of following ‘da blues’.
The toys are falling out of prams, when a player joins a rival.
‘WE’LL FAIL!’  they write in capitals, ‘WE’LL BE FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL!’

They tell the world what they would do, to them it’s such a breeze.
They play their Fifa 17 with skill and expertise.
It is the silly season and the fanboys feel the sting.
They’re hurt, affronted, wounded, and the transfer troll is king.

The clickbait-fodder swallow every story they devour.
The tales get taller, all the time, with every Twitter hour.
As ‘sources close’ have inside news about a ‘breaking deal’
And the fanboys wet their beds again and tell us how they feel.

‘Announce! Announce! Announce!’ they say, as they tweet their chosen star.
‘Come join us, bro,’ they tell a man who knows not who they are.
The rest of us just roll our eyes – we’ve heard it all before.
The silly season’s full of shit and likely there’ll be more.

Supporters have no power, no say, in who we sell or buy.
The board won’t listen to a word, so cry you fanboys, cry.
In ninety minutes of each game, we can chant, and shout, and sing.
But, in the silly season, it’s the transfer troll who’s king.

© Carol Ann Wood
July 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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The Night The League Was Won

The night the league was won, the Chelsea gathered in their blue.
At West Brom, where we hoped our boys knew what they had to do.
The Tottenham had been saying that they were coming for us soon.
We waited but they never did. Oh Tottenham, change your tune!
We Chelsea sang our hearts out and we urged our players on.
A Pullis team is stubborn but we roared our love in song.
And Michy stepped up to the task to bring us all such joy.
He’s not had many chances, but he is a lovely boy!
The night the league was won we were ecstatic and elated.
It felt so sweet, and most of us had not anticipated
The changes that Antonio would bring that club of ours.
Last season we had thunderstorms. This year, just hearts and flowers.
And sunshine, sunshine, all the way, from a man with such a passion.
He celebrates each goal as if they’re going out of fashion!
He’s charming and he’s dignified, endearing and a gent.
He’s taught his squad his methods and they’ve warmed to his intent.
The night the league was won, we laughed as Luiz danced and smiled.
He’s proved his critics wrong and driven all his geezers wild.
We watched as Victor Moses went from loan king to a star.
We watched as Kante bossed midfield by running near and far.
The night the league was won, we all remembered loved ones gone.
But they were with us still, we knew, to urge our blue boys on.
To win the title on the road, and on a Friday night,
It is a strange experience. To some, it’s not quite right.
And yet, we had to get it done, so we can celebrate
Back at the Bridge, our home sweet home.
The feeling’s simply great.
The night the league was won, we felt an era new was dawning.
Each day is blue and when we wake, each morn’s a Chelsea morning.
Let’s hail the great Antonio and seasons in the sun.
For we were WORTHY champions,
The night the league was won.

© Carol Ann Wood
May 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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A die-hard Chelsea Woman

A die-hard Chelsea woman doesn’t follow many teams.
She has our crest inside her head, one club is in her dreams.
A die-hard Chelsea woman doesn’t re-apply her gloss
When there is action on the pitch, and when the weather’s dross.
A die-hard Chelsea woman doesn’t care for camera’s gaze.
What matters is the team’s result, each game that Chelsea plays.
A die-hard Chelsea woman laughs when rain destroys her hair.
She doesn’t mind if she looks nuts, what matters is she’s there.
A die-hard Chelsea woman is the one who’ll never leave,
She just has Chelsea in her heart, her passion on her sleeve.
What matters are the friendships and the laughter down the years,
The wins, the comebacks and the joy, the heartache and the tears.
A die-hard Chelsea woman knows the offside rule and more.
She simply can’t be patronised, this woman knows the score.
A die-hard Chelsea woman may be tall, or may be short.
She may be large, she may be small, but die-hards can’t be bought.
A die-hard Chelsea woman won’t be judged by how she looks.
She’s not an It girl wannabe in magazines or books.
She’s smart, she’s clever, and she’s lived
Through many, many things.
She’s real, not plastic, just herself, she swears, she shouts, she sings.
A die-hard Chelsea woman comes from near or from afar.
What matters not is distance, but instead, how loyal you are.
She doesn’t need to preen or pout, she’s comfy in her skin.
It’s how she loves the Blues that counts, not what she’s covered in.
If you’re a die-hard Chelsea girl, young, old or in-between,
Be proud and loud when in that crowd.
Be vocal and be seen.
For glam may sell a TV show, but glam is quickly gone.
It’s us who are the backbone that the club relies upon.
It’s us the Chelsea die-hard girls who, when the going gets tough
Will stick around through stormy skies and still can’t get enough.
A die-hard Chelsea woman suffers fools not well nor gladly.
So cross her at your peril or you’ll find it could end badly.
Good Chelsea men all know our worth, beyond our arse and tits.
For plastic’s only temporary, but we’ve got proper bits.
We’re die-hard Chelsea women and we’re worth as much as you.
We love our this club, we’re here to stay,
We’re Chelsea through and through.

© Carol Ann Wood

March 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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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:


Links:
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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Older Fans Matter

Carol Ann Wood
Cambridge
CB1 KTBFFH
Friday 30 December 2016

Mr Roman Abramovic
C/o Chelsea Football Club
Stamford Bridge
Fulham Road
London
SW6 1HS

 

Dear Roman,

I don’t really have a lot to complain about, currently. So this isn’t a letter of complaint. It’s more a few words for you to reflect on. We know how much you love our club. We know that you are not the man that many predicted – namely the sort who would get bored after a few years and sell up. You are a supporter too, passionate about winning, just like the rest of us.

I would like you to think about your staff at Chelsea TV, Roman. Whilst I understand we are seen as a global brand, we are also a club with older supporters who have lived and breathed Chelsea for many years. They have tales to tell. Interesting tales. The past wasn’t all about violence, Roman. You don’t have to feel worried that if Chelsea TV speaks to older supporters, they are all going to reveal things that would damage the club’s image. Many of them have amusing and emotional stories about their journeys following Chelsea.

I went to the megastore recently to meet Michy and N’Golo. I don’t often get the opportunity to do this kind of thing, but a friend alerted me to the fact they were appearing, and I was free that day. So off I went, feeling especially upbeat, given that it was shortly following the Spurs game at the end of which I was the happy recipient of David Luiz’s shirt. What an exciting week, I thought. I purchased my obligatory photos of the signees, then joined the growing queue outside the megastore. Hot chocolate was dispensed to us, as it was a freezing cold day. (Thanks for that, by the way. A nice gesture.) Chelsea TV people came along to speak to some of the fans in the queue. Now, let me make it clear that I am not against foreign supporters. That would be hypocritical of me on every level. But I will say this: The first ten people in the queue ahead of me were asked if they wanted to say why they were there. (Wasn’t the answer a bit bleeding obvious?)

Roman, none of the first ten people in the queue could speak enough English to participate in an interview. They had less English than Diego Costa, if that’s even possible. (Although I think Diego understands more than he lets on, but he’s perhaps not confident enough to speak in front of the cameras.) The TV people then walked along the line, completely ignoring me – a little old lady, if the Daily Mail are to be believed. Just ignored me. Now, I am not normally one to push myself forward. I don’t seek the limelight, but to be honest, I thought blimey, this is going to look embarrassing if they don’t find anyone with enough command of English to interview. And as I had something nice to report, namely getting David’s shirt, I actually called to one of them that I would be happy to speak. I hate the camera! Whilst I get that a pretty face is more appealing to the wider audience, surely someone who has something to say makes for interesting TV?

I think your TV people seem to look for the prettiest face rather than the old-timers like me who have had their mugs ravaged by the worry lines Chelsea helped put there in the first place. I feel like we are being written out of history to an extent, in the same way that some of the ex-players have remarked upon. Not all the older fans will put themselves forward like the fan-girls who hang around the East Stand vying for attention. (Some of whom are seeking fame, a free ticket or possibly access to Pedro’s pants.) Older fans have memories and knowledge of the club that should be celebrated. Such as the stalwarts who go to midweek away games. I can’t always go to them myself, unless I can get home by public transport, but I have one friend who survived on two to three of hours sleep after the Sunderland game, before going to work the following day. She does that because she loves the club. I have two friends who were once involved in a car accident en route to a game. Thankfully, they were not badly injured, although their car was a write-off. Guess what? Another Chelsea friend turned back on their journey and picked them up so they could still get to the game. Tell your TV staff to seek out those sort of supporters, Roman. They won’t be coming forward voluntarily, as they are not courting fame. But they are important to our club and they need to be celebrated as such. It’s too late when someone passes away and they get a little obituary in the match day programme. Speak to them while they’re still alive.

On Boxing Day, I happened to be killing time after visiting the megastore, waiting to see which pub my friends were going to. I watched the Chelsea TV crew walking around the ground. I wasn’t seeking an interview, but it was noteworthy that I wasn’t approached to speak about the forthcoming game, whereas a much younger overseas visitor was. I believe that this is as a result of unintentional bias. Again, nothing wrong with overseas supporters if they’re genuinely passionate about Chelsea. However, while it’s important to have an ethnic mix of people featured, it is also important to have a wide age demographic. Speak to the older guys and gals who have been knocking around for a few years. Make them feel that they are still of worth. Because, whilst a large proportion of the once-a-season/once-a-lifetime attendees were having an online hissy fit during the awful days of last season, the stalwarts were resolute. We didn’t like what was happening but we’d seen worse, so we gritted our teeth and carried on.

Roman, there is a lot that you have done for the travelling fans, and I praise you for your introduction of discounted club coaches and trains. It’s something I can’t often take advantage of, living 55 miles out of London, but many of my friends use it regularly and it’s appreciated. It goes some way to compensate for the fact that the TV companies don’t give much thought to supporters who attend games, preferring to concentrate on their global audiences for ‘Super Saturdays’. Somehow, that analogy reminds me of 1970s kids TV. I half-expect Chris Tarrant to appear and shove a custard pie in Jamie Carragher’s face. (Actually, that might not be a bad idea.)

If you could just take a look at what Chelsea TV are doing on match days, who they’re speaking to, and why, many of us would be very grateful. All supporters are of value, wherever we are from, provided we are genuine and here for the long-haul. Of course the younger supporters are crucial, because one day, the oldies amongst us won’t be around. But before we pop off, we’d really like to to pass on our love of the club, our knowledge, our special memories. People (well, a few whinging scousers to be exact) say we haven’t got any history. We have. Some of us are part of it and we’d like to share it, if that’s ok.

Yours sincerely,

pinky-sig-1a

Carol Ann Wood

PS Would you like to hear about the time I missed the train home from Manchester when we’d won the league in 2005, and had to spend the night on a railway bench with a transvestite scouser who’d been working in a fetish club?

PPS Or maybe you’d like to hear about my overnight coach trip to Munich when someone swore they’d seen a lion at the side of the road? Those are the sort of tales that you couldn’t make up. And they need to be told widely.


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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Bradley Lowery’s Goal

Carol Ann Wood
Cambridge
CB1 KTBFFH
Friday 16 December 2016

Bradley Lowery
C/o Sunderland AFC
Stadium Of Light
SUNDERLAND
SR5 1SU

Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
(But, also: Sunderland 1-0 Chelsea Goalscorer for Sunderland Bradley Lowery)

Dear Bradley,

I have never met you, but during the last week, I got to hear all about you. I learnt about your story via some Chelsea friends, and also John Terry, who posted it on social media. You are five years old and you have a horrible illness. The treatment for this illness has made you very tired and poorly. You are crazy about Sunderland, and it was your dream to score a goal for them.
I understand all about being crazy for your football team. I feel the same about Chelsea, and have done ever since I was a little girl. (Which was a very long time ago!) Despite your horrible illness, you have grown to live and breathe every moment of every game, and to feel that you are kicking every ball with your team. Like all football fans, you will feel sad when they lose, and happy when they win. You love wearing your team’s replica shirt, and you love shouting and cheering in the crowd.

I couldn’t go the the Sunderland versus Chelsea game on Wednesday, Bradley. I live in the city of Cambridge, over 200 miles from the Stadium Of Light, and it would have been impossible to get back home again on the same night. But many of my Chelsea friends were there. They are talking about the banner that some of them made especially for you and your family. They are talking about how everyone sang your name on five minutes. They are talking about your special moment when you stepped up and scored a goal against Asmir Begović. He dived for the ball, but he dived the wrong way, so it was a well-taken penalty. I think you fooled him there! I saw the footage of you as a mascot, leading your team out, and I saw Diego Costa paying you special attention before kick-off. He looks like a fierce man when he’s playing, but as I’m sure you and your family will have seen, he is really a very kind man. There are a lot of kind people in football, and Wednesday night brought that home to supporters everywhere.

You won’t know how much good you have already done for the football community in your short life. You have touched more people’s lives than even your family will be able to take in right now, as they take care of you and try to make your Christmas really magical. The most important thing that you have done is to remind a lot of grown-up people that football is a game. We all love that game, and we all want our teams to be champions. But it’s a game and sometimes we don’t win. It’s not as important as being well, and having people in our lives who love us.

I get in a bad mood sometimes when Chelsea lose. I go about in a grump, and blame the referee if we don’t get decisions awarded. I often blame a particular player for missing a chance, or an opposition player, for committing a bad foul and getting away with it. But after I’ve calmed down, I start to look forward to the next game. On Wednesday night, you were the perfect example to grown men and women who often come out of stadiums saying lots of bad words. Some of them even wish horrible things to happen to the players they are angry with. That’s not nice at all, is it. All clubs have those sort of supporters, who don’t think carefully about what they are saying when their team have lost. I hope that now, they will do so. The world of football has seen you, one brave little boy, smiling through your horrible illness, showing your pure delight at your special evening. Okay, so we know that really, Chelsea won that game 1-0. I know you’ll understand that I am happy about our result. But really, you were the winner on Wednesday, Bradley. You won people’s hearts, and I hope, their minds. I hope that by your family and Sunderland AFC telling your story, you have reminded people of what’s important. Well done Bradley, you are a star, and on Wednesday night, you scored a winning goal that all of Sunderland and the wider football world will never forget.

Much love,
pinky-sig-1a
Carol Ann Wood

PS When I was a little girl, Sunderland won an FA Cup Final against Leeds, of which I am sure your family have lots of memories. But I think your goal was even more important than that winner a long time ago.

PPS A lot of my Chelsea friends have said that if they have a bad day at the football or at work, they will try much harder not to grumble about it, and that they will think of how brave you are instead. I will do the same.


Index of Posts:


Links:
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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