Football Focus
Forty minutes in to the close season cup of tea  
and weíve managed not to mention his Parkinsonís Disease,  
how much he lost on the scratch cards this week  
and his novelís latest letter of rejection.  
Weíre here to talk football, transfer speculation,  
next seasonís prospects, local rivalry  
and the lack of loyalty in the modern game.  
His missus comes in to collect the cups  
and asks him if heís asked me yet.   
He protests that it isnít quite half-time  
and when it is he tells me theyíve got  
a bit of an issue with their daughter.
That bloke whoís refusing to move from the flat  
above the bargain shop thatís been closed down,  
who always wears a boiler suit, cowboy hat  
and orange high vis jacket, about 6o he is,  
not very big, used to be a talented musician,  
you must have seen him around. (I havenít.)
Well, according to Anna, heíd asked her when  
the school term ended and she said tomorrow,  
they were all going up on the hills to picnic.  
He replied, Iíd like to get to know you better,  
but your mother keeps you on a tight rein.  
I realise now that Iím not here wholly
on account of a shared passion for football,  
but in my capacity as foster-carer, adoptive father,
psychiatric nurse. They want the benefit  
of all the wisdom Iím thought to have accrued,
and Iíve come out with the wrong hat on.  
All I can think is definitely yellow, probably red card,  
though tight rein sounds a bit like might rain,  
so maybe he was saying the weather could be better.
If only weíd got VAR to zoom in on his lips
I might utter something unequivocal,
but you know when a streaker runs across the pitch
the cameras focus only on the football.

Raymond Miller

If you have any thoughts on this poem, 
Raymond Miller  would be pleased to hear them.