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FA Cup poem 2021

[please listen to Ringing The Blues for full audio experience]

The ballad of the swan

By a river in the valley, by a tree of solid oak
Lives a wizard in a hut, Swan man: just a bloke
He calculates the future, he reconstructs the past
Football is his passion; he does sums really fast
Multiplication he rates, addition… yeah it’s fun
Subtraction is a theory, but division is the one

Take a number, any number, ok 14 will do
Divide it how you want it, I’d recommend by two
You’re left with dear old seven, like Dave Carroll on the wing
But what about 33, that number has a ring
Divide by 3 and it’s Steve Guppy… gliding on the flank
350k from Newcastle, let’s chuck it in the bank

Players leave the Wycombe, it’s painful but it’s true
Desouza to Peterborough, Barry Fry on YouTube
“nah nah you ain’t gonna get that Migs, you sure?”
“10 grand for 30 goals, all comps”, Barry: please, no more
Calculate that, rural wizard, magician in the tree
And while you’re there find an algorithm that can mend Sean Devine’s knee

But the wizard he is busy, he’s painted his mud hut white
A swan painted crudely, barely picked up in the light
“I can’t do my sums now” he sobs, “something… has come up”
“Wycombe are too powerful, they’ve been… further… in the cup”
“Oh Swan man,” I whisper quickly, “is there heartache, is there sadness?”
“Why yes,” he groans, “these numbers, they’re crazy, it’s utter madness”

The swan man, the wizard, the hero, writhing in his nest
He thought he knew the football, he thought he’d clocked the best
Dividing sums, dividing hearts, his calculator weeps
“This isn’t right, this makes no sense” he roars in lieu of sleep
I catch his eye, a sorry sight and understand the fear
He never thought he’d see Wycombe in the second tier

Three weeks later I walk back through the valley of despair
The Swan man wizard charlatan has chosen a new lair
His hut is empty, the roof caved in, a plate of uncooked maize
A poster: Alan Smith smiling, “they detest my London ways”
Oh Swan man how I miss you, although your maths were poor
I’ve found you a brand new number: one point seven four

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