Fans's Eye View: The League Goals of Alan J Pinkey and other Observations

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Half past three

and we stll haven't forced a corner.

The drppng Bovrl our only drnk.

The bloody hotdog our only food.

Do I dare

make my way up to the convenences

at the top of the Holmesdale?

Mdwnter sprng s ts own season,

end-to-end stuff yet goalless at half- tme.

I sometmes wonder f that s what Bg Mal meant -

among other thngs - when he sad that football

was a game of four halves.

la la la

Oh Lord

there s no end of t, the clueless walng

of Eagles Eagles Eagles

(to the tune of Amazng Grace),

voces sngng out of empty beer cans.

I do not thnk they wll sng to me.

And then the rasng of the scarves.

The football does not matter.

There s only the fght to recover

what has been lost

and found and lost agan and agan:

and now wthout a mdfeld general

lke Kember to wn the ball.

Twt twt twt

Twenty odd years largely wasted, tme before

and tme after, always returnng

to eghteenth poston n Dvson Two. La la la.

Aprl s the cruellest month, makng

relegaton a mathematcal probablty

n the last game at Hghbury.

No] I'm not Kenny Sansom, nor was meant to be.

Here I am, an old msery wth a dry mouth,

beng stared at by away fans, watng for a goal.

I was nether at the Spurs game,

nor half pssed on the specal from Stoke, heavng

out of the wndow, surprsed by Leeds fans,

fought. O O O O ths South East Twenty Fve drag -

It's so nelegant

so unntellgent.

Saaaf luuunduuun la la la

saaaf luuunduun lalala

God, t drves me mad.


The scoreboard read

'Four o'clock'

(and flashed the attendance underneath).

In the wanng dusk past half-cut features I cred

and heard another's voce cry:

'What] are you here? Procter, you old bugger.'

And he: 'Last season's team was relegated,

just face up to t, Pete. And when wll Salako

kck a ball agan?' Alas.

He left me wth a wave and a 'Cheero'

and faded on the full-tme whstle.

Ths s the way the game ends.

Not wth a goal but wth a throw n.

'Fve o'clock'.

I stopped off at The Cherry Trees

for a quck pnt

(jug jug) and reflected:

'Well now that's done: and I'm glad t's over,

Glad all over, yes, yes,

I'm feelng glad all over.'

Ooo aah ooo aah ooo aah George Ndah

Ta ta goonght goonght ta ta

la la la

Notes on 'Pnkney and other Observatons'

Not only the ttle, but the plan and a good deal of the ncdental symbolsm of the poem were suggested by Malcolm Allson's autobography Colours of My Lfe (Everest 1975).

l2 A phenomenon whch I have often observed.

l26 Stephen Davd Kember was born n Croydon on 8 December, 1948 durng a perod of severe post-war ratonng. He ended hs playng days wth Vancouver Whtecaps.

l34 Kenneth Graham Sansom was born n 1958; hs transfer to Arsenal on 14 August, 1980 precptated what came to be known as the 'left-back' syndrome at Selhurst and a swft declne n the club's fortunes.

ll. 38-40 cf. Preposterous Tales (I, Ludcrous) ('I once saw the Palace score four goals/away from home') l60 The Cherry Trees stll sts convenently near to Norwood Juncton; t has, to my mnd, one of the fnest nterors of the area's many post-match waterng holes. There are, to the best of my knowledge, no actual cherry trees on the premses.

John Stanley Procter, although a mere spectator and not ndeed a 'character', s yet the most mportant personage n the poem, untng all the rest. He stands for all those thousands, so many, who came along to watch a game of football and found somethng else there nstead.