An inspirational headline

A grey squirrel

More dangerous than he looks ….

This morning a headline caught my eye on The Guardian website:

“Scunthorpe manager Alan Knill ‘could have been killed’ by squirrel”

You have to admit, those words do tend to grab your attention. It conjures up a pretty surreal image.

Obviously, I read the story, and as a keen cyclist and someone who’s fairly knowledgeable about football I could empathise with his predicament.

Cycling blissfully along, he collides with a squirrel that gets caught in his wheel, and he catapults over the handlebars and lands on his head, shoulders and neck. Thankfully Knill survived the fall with just a few bruises and a philosophical view of the incident:

“For a minute, I thought I might have been in trouble because I landed on my head. Then, all of a sudden, I thought: ‘I’m not, I’m alive! I could be dead and it’s so stupid. I’m not and you have to put things into perspective.”

He was lucky. It could have been fatal. And what a way to go, felled by a small furry rodent.

But this near-miss has certainly helped him to look at his professional problems in a different way. His Scunthorpe team have made a terrible start to the season, and are currently bottom of League One having lost all their first six league games, and their cup game on Tuesday night. He’s under a lot of pressure, but his personal dice with death  has made him appreciate what is really important:

“The situation we’re in at the moment, I don’t cherish, but there are worse situations.”

Bill Shankly may once have famously suggested that: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” But then, he’d never almost been killed by a squirrel.

Anyway, the headline, and Alan’s response to the incident, and his determination to ‘always look on the bright side of life’  inspired me, and I wrote this little poem in response.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Poor Alan Knill, rides his bike down a hill,

to escape from The Iron fans’ invective.

Gets a squirrel in his spokes,

but survives, and then jokes:

“Well, it puts our bad form in perspective!”

All the best Alan, and I wish you and Scunthorpe United a full and speedy recovery.

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Thierry Henry – a poetic tribute

Thierry Henry gesture to crowd

"Hey, Gobby: What's French for va-va-voom?"

He’s back. And this time he’s bearded.

Seeing as Monsieur Henry is back at the Arsenal and back in the headlines, I thought it was about time I brought my poem about the legendary Renault-Flogger-and-Handball-Cheat out of mothballs, for the attention of a wider audience.

It was written in 2004 (hence the title) when he was arguably at his zenith: in terms of popularity and celebrity anyway.

Nice to see him back, but I still don’t like him.

Enjoy. Or otherwise….

Thierry Henry: Bore of 2004

I won’t be applauding Thierry Henry
On his PFA Player of the Year victory.

He’s an elegant graceful goal-scoring machine,
He’s quicker and better than ever he’s been.
Each goal is a masterpiece, never a tap in:
Instinctively spotting the tiniest gap in
The other team’s back line
He strides through majestic
And perfectly balanced he pulls off balletic
Defence-throwing shimmies and finds the top corner:
Turns every opposing fan into a mourner.

But the bloke’s just too good, and what’s more he is French:
He even looks stylish just sat on the bench
And wearing a tracksuit. It just isn’t fair,
Thierry just oozes more than his fair share
Of talent, athleticism, sex appeal:
Let’s face it, he even looks cool at the wheel
Of a Renault. With va va blinkin’ voom
When the advert comes on any girl in the room
Is soon drooling.  And that’s just the last straw
Adding insult to all of the injuries before.

He can’t stop scoring goals, and I’m glad that’s the case,
But I’m sick of that grin on his good-looking face
Every time one goes in.  He began as a winger!
Redressing the balance he should be a minger
Like Merson or Beardsley, Chadwick or Keown:
A player who celebrates goals on his own,
And never gets kisses or even a hug
On account of his ‘only a mum could love’ mug.

But instead he’s Adonis.  He’s hip and he’s cool,
He’s probably even a champion at Boules.
So I can’t help resenting him, feeling so green
As he struts in slow-motion, all moody and mean.
I’m hoping at Euro 2004, the headlines are full of his failure to score
Against England, Croatia or even at all:
This high-flying Frog’s overdue for a fall.
It isn’t sour grapes, I’m not that kind of man:
I just can’t stand Henry, and ‘je ne regrette rien’!