KEVIN GRAHAM joins our 'What Football Means To Me' series with his poem 'Football Matters'. Because guess what? It does.
The great men that are Stein and Shankly,
Gave us all the guiding principles of life
Football without fans is nothing
Football is more serious than life and death
Who are we to argue with such greats?
It gives you status with a glance,
The moment you wear the badge.
Fans identify with you and judge you
Before they know whether you are
Quiet, loud, shy, awkward or just an arsehole.
It gives you religion when you have none.
Like all religions it causes worthless conflict
It makes holy places out of breeze block
An altar of a turnstile
Miracles in out of town retail parks with added conference facilities and hotel.
It gives you a sense of geography school never did
Far flung towns, countries and capitals
Favelas, areas of Montevideo, motorways to Nowheresville
Learned, stored, remembered and cherished
Hoping that one day it comes up in a pub quiz.
It gives you signposts in life
Events are remembered by games
Dates signified by wins, defeats and no score draws
You remember Kenny Dalglish's birthday
Before the due date of your house insurance
(it’s the 4th March but if you’re reading this I’m sure you already know that)
It gives you a reason to make career decisions
The promotion will increase your workload
Getting in your way attending
Midweek cup replays or pre-season friendlies
In grounds you will never see again.
It gives you social skills
In situations when you have none
Parties where you know no one
Monday mornings with forgettable work colleagues
You have something to talk about
It gives you hope, it allows you to dream
No matter how many times
It breaks your heart
That your heart can’t be broken anymore
The pieces are scattered like ashes on the pitch
And you don’t care. Because Football Matters.
FOLLOW KEVIN ON TWITTER @anorthernprose