Alpha at the Euros - Part III - 'Miracle in Stockport'
The big one, eh? Well they can do it if they’re brave and Sterling (especially), Saka (if selected?) and Grealish (if he gets on?) do what they’ve been doing throughout the tournament, which is to: TAKE ‘EM ON! HIT THE BY-LINES! CAUSE HAVOC!
(By the way, did I emphasise that point enough?)
And who better than the late, great, Georgie Best to inspire them to do it? This poem was written when it was really all over, for George – yet he still lit up the stadium!
Miracle in Stockport
Stockport County v Stoke City, 1975
We’d shot through in my mate’s van
for the evening kick-off
and stood on the terracing near his wing.
The latest stop on a goodbye tour
of small clubs, scattering stardust
for the faithful, the converted.
Dunstable Town and his old United
team-mate, Barry Fry, had started it all off,
now he was here: with us in touching distance.
No-one was expecting miracles, now;
but when he ambled round, to collect
a ball, creating his own bubble of space,
as all great players do, my mate laughed
at the audacity, the nonchalance.
And then, with myself and the rest
of the ground, gasped, as he bent in
a free kick from thirty yards
that went in off the far post. No problem.
Mike Di Placido
Alpha (Poetry Salzburg, 2020)