Seasonal Affective Disorder

A long mood cycle

That goes up and down each year

Here it starts in May

n.b. SAD is a serious mental health condition that diminishes life quality. It is triggered in many instances by the reduction of natural light during the winter months. Those of us who find ways to fill each winter with distractions put ourselves at risk of low mood, after hopes and dreams are left dashed when the season ends. Two thoughts: 1) If you don’t like the challenge and associated risk of losing an occasional match, do not support a football team; 2) If you choose to support a football team, enjoy your summer without it, appreciating all the beauty and happiness that this lighter, warmer season brings every day of the week.

CLP 16/05/2019

On The Terraces

Now replaced by seats

Vast expanses of concrete

Filled with hopeful faces


p.s. I wrote this before travelling to London to stand in the away end to see Pompey lose 2-1 to Charlton Athletic at The Valley, (another club and ground with some great stories to tell). 


CLP 08/03/2019

On The Front Page

Through now hollow eyes

Looking down on Walsall lives

No questions asked.


Founded in 1868 The Walsall Observer lived a predatory existance absorbing competitors throughout its 122 year existance, until it was culled itself by its eventual and ultimate owner, Trinity Mirror. This is a conglomerate of newspaper titles, which now calls itself Reach plc that is based at Canary Wharf in London’s revived docklands.

Observer is a passive role. Would this regional title have lived longer had it been given a more lively title? Does nominative determinism apply in business?

Walsall FC formerly Walsall Town Swifts FC currently struggle in the depths of League One, (the 3rd Division). Would they be doing better had the club not dropped the surname in 1896? The club is certainly long established enough to be amongst the high flyers, like their neighbours, Wolverhampton Wanderers, (The Wolves). I sense it has remained a modest competitor because of its more modest branding. Follow the Wolves, or follow the Swifts? It’s easier keep up with a wolf, I suppose.

Had this town newspaper been called The Walsall Inquisition, would people of power been more wary of the Fourth Estate in this community? Would the newspaper been a ferocious watchdog for the people’s interests?

The sandstone used to build this imposing facade was glowing in the last light of late afternoon, but the building looked most sad. Its bold headline never more apt, as life went on below and the old Observer watched on without comment.

CLP 04/03/2019

Season’s End


At last wind from the sea is welcome.

Dust not leaf litter blows along gutters

Pollarded beech trees add leafy tints

to Frensham Road.


The movement of people is looser

in summer shorts, blue shirt tops,

although blue and white of Pompey scarves

is still worn despite cricket weather heat.


Excitable sons gambol alongside

long-striding men looking ahead

to August,

ignoring twelve mid-year weeks,

while grandads show gentle interest,

kindly coaxing little lads back

onto root-lifted pavements,

answering high-pitched questions about who might play

and why another favourite won’t

and this and that and, and, and…Grandpa?


A block-shaped car

is parked particularly precisely,

a wheeled chair is removed,

unfolded, locked into shape

and careful, strong-gripped manoevres

position a determined animated,

colourfully dressed fan,

safe into place, ready to roll

to sit in concreted shade,

where eyes sharpened,

alight to athletic movement

on mown patterns, across white lines

pitched between flag-marked corners,

watch keenly every detail of pre-match

preparation and ritual.


Contrast from the shadowing South Stand,

marks near black on brilliant green,

cuts so sharp that momentary

sight loss flickers in eyes squinting

to adjust as they chase

colours, given stronger tone

by Sun set high with a perfect seat,

but who has to drag herself reluctantly away out west

before the final whistle,

but only after pouring one last gulped pint

of welcome warmth

into sun-glassed faces.


Impenetrable bright sky, sets off the scene in blue hue not seen inland,

so blue that stars behind become anxious

they will not get on to play tonight.


Wide-winged gulls’ cries of the sea are drowned at birth,

over-whelmed, engulfed in waves of voices,

by microphoned, amplified announcements,

strong rhythms, clapping, chants and songs.


For some this is the last match.

No substitute will step in when they get pulled from the pitch.

Some will know their part near played up,

others will depart the game in shock,

their removal a surprise to all.

Unfair, unwarned and fiercely questioned,

why did they get The Manager’s call?

Yet another sign of unfathomable tactics.

Next season, last game in fresh May

their names will be on the lips

of the man who reads The List

of those who once so happily

trooped along to Fratton Park.



CLP  05/05/2018

Dedicated to Albert Perry “Grampy”