I wish I could write poems. They are so immediate. A line in a poem can stay in your head all day. A whole verse can be life changing. One of my favourite children’s collections is called Salford Road by Gareth Owen.
It was published in 1979. I used to read from it all the time when I was a teacher (in the days of yore). Here’s one about the footballing hero of the time, Denis Law. Today’s equivalent would be Wayne Rooney (only Denis had his own hair). It should be noted that Law learned all his footballing skills at the mighty Huddersfield Town before moving on to Manchester United…
I live at 14 Stanhope Street
Me mum, me dad and me
And three of us have made a gang
John Stokes and Trev and me.
Our favourite day is Saturday
We go Old Trafford Way
And wear red colours in our coats
To watch United play.
We always stand behind the goal
In the middle of the roar
The others come to see the game –
I come for Denis Law.
His red sleeves flap around his wrists
He’s built all thin and raw
But the toughest backs don’t stand a chance
When the ball’s near Denis Law.
He’s a whiplash when he’s in control
He can swivel like an eel
And twist and sprint in such a way
It makes defences reel.
And when he’s hurtling for the goal
I know he’s going to score
Defences may stop normal men-
They can’t stop Denis Law
We all race home when full time blows
To kick a tennis ball
And Trafford park is our back-yard
And the stand is next door’s wall.
Old Stokesy shouts, ‘I’m Jimmy Greaves,’
And scores against the door
And Trev shouts, ‘I’ll be Charlton,’
But I am Denis Law.
Well, I’m off to the Galpharm today. Huddersfield are home against Colchester. We’ve had a sluggish start to the season – three draws so far. I hope the match inspires me to write a poem. Think of words that rhyme with ‘Rhodes’ while I’m gone.
I took this photo outside Old Trafford before the play-offs in May. Denis Law is in the middle.
PS: Huddersfield Town beat Colchester United 3-2.