Having a ball with soccer's poets

2nd March 2007 at 00:00
So the official poet of Bristol City football club and head of English at Smithdon high school in Norfolk describes the ritual of chant and counter-chant in football songs as a "beautiful example of the poetic craft" ("Soccer chants are ancient history", TES, February 23).

In his classroom, he plays a CD which includes the words "We are the boys in red and white Love to drink and love to fight We hate the Rovers..."

On reading this, I recalled the words of "Goodnight Irene", the song which supporters of Bristol Rovers turn to at times of deep emotional anguish:

"Sometimes I have a great notion To jump in the river and drown." Poetry should lift the human imagination, not demean it.

TES readers should note that Bristol Rovers FC was founded by teachers. The "black" of their original name (the Black Arabs) signified the gowns they wore, and "Arabs" symbolises the poetry of their cultural cosmopolitanism.

Ivor Morgan. Lincoln

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