Poem – Bobby Charlton

THE WORLD CUP
I did have an idea to celebrate 40 years since 1966. I wanted to get 11 poets to write 11 poems about the team of ’66. However, I couldn’t get a publisher or sponsor interested, so in the end I wrote a series of poems myself. They are everyman recollections that try and capture something of the men, the magnitude, the mood and the memories. You can click on the names on the image to see the poems.

AS HONEST AS THE DAY IS LONG
( For Bobby Charlton )

The equal power of both left and right
No-one knew which was your strongest,
To you there was no such thing
As a weaker foot

You embodied everything that’s good
About football for your country …
Tough, fair minded, totally reliable
You never let us down, on the pitch or off

Perhaps because you never seemed as young,
Had the pop star look of others,
Or just because you looked like someone
From our family photo album meant we trusted you

That – and the goals you scored …
The spectacular, power blasting net rippling scorchers
That we all envied and tried to emulate,
But never could

But this poem cannot be complete
Without a special mention
Of that one thing we remember –
Your own individual flair

When it comes to the comb over,
You made it your very own
And the fact that minutes into any match
It looked like a lop sided pony tail trailing behind

And because of that you were an ordinary god,
One of us, one among us – blessed but not above us
For that and everything else, a nation loves you
Uncle Bobby

PAUL COOKSON