The Game. The. Game.

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I’ve turned my attention to the 120 minutes and penalties of the playoff final this time, though in truth, there’s little mention of the game – it ended up not being about the performance, I think that was apparent pretty early on. Only the result mattered.

To dare to win, to fear to not,
An ever-present playoff plot,
And that’s exactly what we got,
With barely any real shots,

The best chance came to Izzy Brown,
Was in from our side of the ground,
And then that awful flatt’ning sound,
The horror wrought on those around,

It’s wide, and how the bloody hell?
Though Reading had a go as well,
And their supporters couldn’t tell,
Quite where their curling efforts fell,

And hearts were pounding out of chests,
Though each performance far from best,
They were not ready for their rest,
Before they passed this final test.

They knackered one another out,
Like boxers after one more bout,
When legs and footing come a doubt,
But still stand up, and keep their shout,

They lasted two hours just as well,
To plunge supporters into Hell,
They cheered when the tossed coin fell,
The tension rose, unparalleled.

Hefele, the dreamer, the guiding light,
Went low and to Al Habsi’s right,
A feeble shot, without much height,
And instantly, its Reading’s night.

So, many taken, most were scored,
Then Moore blazed over, hope restored,
Again, come forward Danny Ward,
Who stopped Obita, Yorkshire roared.

Schindler stepped up and time stopped dead,
“Schindler’s last” my message read,
With every footstep growing dread,
But who should take the kick instead?
A German with a clear head,
Then Schindler struck, Al Habsi read
it, but it nestled in the net!

They rose as one, they rose as all,
They rose as 26,
They rose on weary heavy legs,
They rose on walking sticks,

They rose applauding their support,
They rose for Reading, rose for sport,
They rose despite extreme fatigue,
They rose up to the Premier League.

Heads In Hands

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Amongst the jubilation of the playoff final victory for Huddersfield on Monday, I was acutely aware of the speed the Reading fans spilled out of the stadium. Not all of them, and a good few stayed and applauded, or stayed to take in the end of their season. It must have been heart-breaking and I hope they can bounce back and better next year. They were a good bunch to a man, and didn’t deserve for their team to lose.

Heads in hands they sink,
Alone.
Heads in hands they think,
All the moments gone,
All the chances gone.
So many decisions,
So many choices,
Each seemed correct, each was wrong,
They sink.
They will recover, they think,
They tell this to microphones that arrive too soon,
They will go again,
They are immensely proud,
Heads in hands they sink,
Broken.

Heads in hands they sink,
Together.
Heads in hands they console,
Hugging as the tears come,
Anger, yes, but misery,
They are thanked,
For being there, for believing,
They are immense,
they are told.

They clap them off the field of play,
Those men whose wages they part pay,
Although they came up short today,
And some of them will move away,
While those in tears have to stay,
And come back on some August day,
Or maybe Non League Team away,
A summer weekend getaway,
But soon the skies above go grey,
The hope perhaps becomes dismay,
Or not and they’ll be ‘on their way’,
So that this time the coming May,
They’ll come back here and see them play,
And win.

Heads in hands, they’ll sink,
Elated.

4/4 A Brief Summary of the Afternoon Session

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A scorching day in Tunbridge Wells,
The crowd inside the Nevill swells,
and Kent are bowling seven bells,
from Sussex’s lower order.

Darren Stevens never wavers,
Match winner on a field of savers,
The hosts offering their guests no favours,
From just across the border.