Football Story – a poem by John Foster


As nippers we were more than partial to the odd game of ‘footie’ played in the back yard. Jumpers or half-bricks as posts. It was always the world cup final and we were England. First one to 10. ‘Rush’ goalies, which meant no goalkeeper, and everyone wanted to be Kevin Keegan or Peter Barnes. We played until the evening light started to fade and we could no longer make out the ball or until mothers opened back doors to shout for their errant sons. One by one weary footballers trudged home muttering under their breath until there were just the die hards and the hard of hearing. Down to three and match abandoned.

Which is why ‘Football Story’ by John Foster strikes such a redolent chord. The final! The ball flying over the neighbours wall! The father dragging home his son! Poignant stuff and such a wonderful poem/story to perform. It’s a good idea to limber up before the performance as before any match, so we always get the audience stretching. Heading to the left and right! Fists punching the sky and guttural cheers as the winning goal goes in! And finally kissing and lifting the cup aloft, elation etched on rejoicing faces!

And then it’s simply a case of acting out the poem. Pointing to the foot! Kicking the ball!Celebrating the goal! Lifting the cup………The constant repetition means that the ‘crowd’ soon join in and it’s a breathless ninety minutes until ‘the boy who can’t sit down’.

Football Story.

This is the foot.
This is the foot that kicked the ball.
This is the foot that kicked the ball that scored the goal.
This is the foot that kicked the ball that scored the goal that won the cup.
This is the foot that kicked the ball that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

This is the ball.
This is the ball that was kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.
This is the ball that flew over the fence when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.
This is the ball that flew over the fence and smashed the window of next-door’s kitchen when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

This is the boy.
This is the boy who ran away.

This is the boy who ran away to hide in the shed when he heard the crash made by the ball that flew over the fence and smashed the window of next-door’s kitchen when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

This is the father.
This is the father who found the boy who ran away to hide in the shed when he heard the crash made by the ball that flew over the fence and smashed the window of next-door’s kitchen when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

This is the father who dragged home the boy who ran away when he heard the crash made by the ball that flew over the fence and smashed the window of next-door’s kitchen when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

This is the hand.

This is the hand of the father who dragged home the boy who ran away when he heard the crash made by the ball that flew over the fence and smashed the window of next-door’s kitchen when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

This is the hand of the father who spanked the boy who ran away when he heard the crash made by the ball that flew over the fence and smashed the window of next-door’s kitchen when kicked by the foot that scored the goal that won the cup the day that the final was played in our yard.

And this is the boy
Who can’t sit down!

John Foster

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About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to istanbuljohnm@hotmail.co.uk.
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