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The Ball Completes Him

BY JOHN SULLIVAN / @clockend5 

“I knew where he was, I knew”

He has practised this countless times,

On rain sodden training pitches,

On baked, childhood playgrounds.

This ballet of touch, turn and push defender aside.

A camera flash grabs him then,

Leaning forwards, towards glory.


“It has to be, boom! Drop. Dead”

Imperiously snatched from the air,

The ball completes him.

He changes its direction in an instant.

Leicester obligingly obey the choreography,

The keeper is rendered moot, he knows

Such beauty cannot go unpunctuated.


“ if you are standing still, but in the air”

Ayala is briefly puzzled by geometry,

He has shrunk to a speck, with the world watching.

Still it is not ignorance that lames him, for

He knows exactly what is going to happen.

Straight lines only occasionally impress,

It’s the parabola that momentarily stops the breath!


“Behind every action, there must be a thought”

If there has to be a Heaven, then I know this,

It will be Highbury bathed in sunshine,

And Dennis Bergkamp, in an infinite loop.

And all the living and all the dead,

Fixed in an eternal gasp,

Reaching out to touch him. Reaching out forever.


The first line of each stanza comes from Dennis Bergkamp’s interview with David Winner in Issue One of The Blizzard in which he describes his goal for Holland against Argentina in exquisite detail. 

To watch the goal, click here. 

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