Let’s be honest
He said, she said, they all said
As I sat there flipping that coin
Nonchalant and repetitive

You never wanted any of this
Its not how you planned
What you dreamt
What you thought and where you
Imagined you would be
Could be

When you stood so proudly ten years ago
With dew glistening on those fresh white wings
Spreading out behind you
Feeling the breeze on your face
The wind in your hair

And now the sand in your eyes and ashes in your mouth
As you clamber through the dirt
They lied to you when they told you that those
Crisp feathers were for anything other than decoration
Ornaments laden with sentiment

Yet you were the only one who didn’t see through it
You must have done something wrong to end up here
Hard work and humble pie makes a man into
A mouse

A snivelling, sniffling rat
With a scabby fur and mouldy tail
Those crude pigeon wings strapped, taped to your back
By capricious kids and the cackling fat masses

You never wanted this
Or saw this coming, creeping and climbing
Declining like your health and mind
Wrapped up, trapped in that bone skull shell

Heck, I know what I want
But how to get there
And where there is
Will always escape and elude me

I’m far too old, far too soon and so far from
The goal, I’m kicking it about
Playing keepy-ups by my own corner flag
Flung far back in defence
Too cautious and still sat soundly on the wrong end of a five nil thrashing
I shake my tail and wonder

Where is the cheese
Far beyond several false doors, buzzers, shocks and strong lights
Far too far for your furry white snout
Far too far for my pasty white self

Wigan Robin Park

One of the published articles I wrote for AFC Liverpool’s Matchday programme

Wigan Robin Park FC will make the short trip to Merseyside to face AFC Liverpool in a fixture that reads like a mini premierleague game. Of course, Wigan Athletic versus Liverpool FC is a tie that we are more familiar with, though for some players it is something of a de ja vu, albeit a diluted one. Much like us, Wigan Robin Park also have a connection with their more illustrious namesake, whom they regularly welcome to their home ground of Robin Park. The Lactics reserves play their home games at the nearby stadium. It is this ground in which Liverpool reserves played against Wigan in the 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 seasons.
Wigan Athletic reserves played Liverpool FC reserves at Robin Park in 2005/2006 with Paul Willis named as a substitute. Our current number one was unfortunate to not make it on to the field that day, though it is of course understandable when you consider his competition for a place on the day. The hero of Istanbul, veteran Polish keeper Jerzy Dudek used the reserve fixture to make his comeback from injury and played the whole 90 minutes, leaving his young understudy on the bench.
Liverpool won 2-0 with goals from defender Zak Whitbread and Ramon Calliste and stand out performances from Danny Guthrie, a Bolton and now Newcastle premier league midfielder who played solidly before getting injured, and promising centre back Jack Hobbs. It was a day in which Robin Park was packed with talent, with the big names of Guthrie and Dudek coming up against a Lactics side featuring Josip Skoko and David Connelly.
The 2006/2007 reserve fixture was again held at Robin Park and is also notable for featuring a current AFC player. Ryan Wignall was named in the squad but, like Paul Willis the previous season, was an unused substitute. Liverpool won 2-0 again, this time with goals from Paul Anderson and Besian Indrizaj, the widemen combining well to see off the Lactics. It was because of the ruthless efficiency of the wide players, Anderson, Indrizaj, El Zhar and Guthrie bossing midfield that Wignall was left to watch on. Doubtless both our ex-LFC stars will play a key role this time round and will be looking forward to the return fixture where the spotlight will be firmly upon them rather than their former teamates.


One of the published articles I wrote for AFC Liverpool’s Matchday programme.

AFC Liverpool isn’t the only team in the North West Counties with a connection to a Premier League side. Today’s opponent, Darwen Football Club, have a rich 133 year history, yet for most of their fans a single, legendary 90 minute match aptly defines the spirit of the club. Darwen Football Club’s impressive FA cup run of the 1931/32 season culminated in a fixture that they and, their opponents on that day, Arsenal will never forget.
After beating Chester at home in the second round Darwen went through to the third round, where they were drew away against Arsenal. Darwen were truly up against the big boys, Arsenal were the reigning champions, having secured their first ever league title. Non League Darwen saw the opportunity of a life time, to prove themselves against one of the great teams.
The match played on January 9th 1932 is better known to Arsenal fans as their highest scoring competitive game, thanks to an incredible four goal effort from Cliff Bastin, a hat-trick from David Jack and a brace from both Joe Hulme and Jack Lambert. Arsenal won 11-1, however, taken in the context of that season, Arsenal trounced far more glamorous opponents than the part-timers from Lancashire. In that same season the rampant Gunners beat Liverpool by a hefty 6-0. Three seasons on, in the 34/35 season Arsenal beat Liverpool 8-1, showing that their domination in this period wasn’t limited to non league sides. Darwen lost to an Arsenal team who controlled the decade with a haul of five league wins and two FA cups.
Over 75 years on and Darwen are still proud of their heroes, and rightly so. Their defeat was far from a humiliation and the Lancashire side and their travelling fans did a great service to the league, showing great sportsmanship and that part timers could compete with the big boys.
However, it wasn’t only honour that the visitors took back to Lancashire. Darwen’s share of the 35,000 gate tickets funded the building of a new stand and, more significantly, the Arsenal team were so impressed by the conduct of the visitors that they donated a full strip of their red and white home kit. Darwen were honoured and adopted the colours, the red and white kit has endured to this day, and although modernised since its adoption, it still resembles that awarded to the heroes of the FA cup, carrying the spirit of Darwen’s golden age into every game.

John Durnin

One of the published articles I wrote for AFC Liverpool’s Matchday programme.

As you would expect from a local team, Waterloo Dock have seen their fair share of Liverpudlian talent. One such local lad was impressive enough to be picked up by Liverpool FC, John Durnin played for Waterloo Dock before being spotted and snapped up at twenty one. John joined the reserve team squad and played regularly but found first team opportunities scarce, appearing only twice for the senior squad, both times in the league cup. A short loan deal to West Brom allowed John to play first team football before he moved on to Oxford. The wandering attacker laid down roots in the university town and enjoyed four and a half years at the club. The U’s enjoyed a good period and were promoted to Division One in 1992 though John left shortly after for Portsmouth, the club where he is probably best remembered. John was a first team regular on the south coast making 181 appearances over seven seasons, and it wasn’t until age started to show in those industrious legs that he was loaned out to Blackpool and Carlisle. After a short spell full time at Carlisle John began the inevitable gradual drop down the leagues with Kidderminster Harriers then Welsh side Rhyl in a player/coach role. John spent less than six months in Wales before returning to England with Port Vale. Thirty six year old John put in an impressive 47 appearances for the Valiants though his strike rate understandably was not quite what it had been with Oxford and Portsmouth. John played his swansong season with Accrington Stanley in the conference before hanging up his boots in 2004, aged 39, his professional career lasting 18 years and spanning the breadth of the football pyramid. All this started with Waterloo Dock giving a chance to a boy from Bootle.