Goalkeeper Joe

A poem by Marriott Edgar

Joe Dunn were a bobby for football
He gave all his time to that sport,
He played for the West Wigan Whippets,
On days when they turned out one short.

He'd been member of club for three seasons
And had grumbled again and again,
Cos he found only time that they'd used him,
Were when it were pouring with rain!

He felt as his talents were wasted
When each week his job seemed to be
No but minding the clothes for the others
And chucking clods at referee!

So next time selection committee
Came round to ask him for his sub
He told them if they didn't play him,
He'd transfer to some other club.

Committee they coaxed and cudgelled him
But found he'd have none of their shifts
So they promised to play him next weekend
In match against Todmorden Swifts.

This match were the plum of the season
An annual fixture it stood,
'T were reckoned as good as a cup tie
By them as liked plenty of blood!

The day of the match dawned in splendour
A beautiful morning it were
With a fog drifting up from the brick fields
And a drizzle of rain in the air.

The Whippets made Joe their goalkeeper
A thing as weren't wanted at all
For they knew once battle had started
They'd have no time to mess with the ball!

Joe stood by the goal posts and shivered
While the fog round his legs seemed to creep
'Til feeling neglected and lonely
He leant back and went fast asleep.

He dreamt he were playing at Wembley
And t'roar of a thundering cheer
He were kicking a goal for the Whippets
When he woke with a clout in his ear!

He found 'twere the ball that had struck him
And inside the net there it lay
But as no one had seen this 'ere 'appen
He punted it back into play!

'Twere the first ball he'd punted in anger
His feelings he couldn't restrain
Forgetting as he were goalkeeper
He ran out and kicked it again!

Then after the ball like a rabbit
He rushed down the field full of pride
He reckoned if nobody stopped him
Then 'appen he'd score for his side.

'Alf way down he bumped into his captain
Who weren't going to let him go by
But Joe, like Horatio Nelson
Put a fist to the Captain's blind eye!

On he went 'til the goal lay before him
Then stopping to get himself set
He steadied the ball, and then kicked it
And landed it right in the net!

The fog seemed to lift at that moment
And all eyes were turned on the lad
The Whippets seemed kind of dumbfounded
While the Swifts started cheering like mad!

'Twere his own goal as he'd kicked the ball through
He'd scored for his foes 'gainst his friends
For he'd slept through the referee's whistle
And at half time he hadn't changed ends!

Joe was transferred from the West Wigan Whippets
To the Todmorden Swifts, where you'll see
Still minding the clothes for the others
And chucking clods at referee!

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