The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes; everything else is just theory. Sepp Herberger.
Except that the ball is oval.
The bar has spent a lot of money
on a widescreen telly
and isn’t going to waste it.
Passes from end to end
are noticeably quicker
that the ones from side to side,
and when a player bends over
to rearrange his socks,
his head is warped disturbingly
from short and wide
to long and thin.
Football never seems right, anyway,
without the sound on.
It’s like some kind of solemn ritual theatre;
with Giggs as the Three Muses
and Rooney symbolising Discord.
They take their turns to mime
frustration, anger, outraged innocence
a stylised repertoire of gesture
before a silent crowd.