England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney is said to be “devastated” after football memorabilia was stolen from his parents’ home last weekend.
Poor Wayne, all your mementos
have been taken in the night
to be sold for pennies or perhaps a fix of smack.
In the absence of World Cup glory
they were all you had of sentimental worth.
All your parents’ dreams for you were wrapped in them
You’ve developed fast – in football.
But your ball control’s outstripped
your ability to control yourself
so let this be a lesson –
remember these trinkets, these signposts
to a better-tempered past
and each time you see red,
count them quietly to yourself:
four England caps, one Trinidad and Tobago shirt,
two signed footballs from Everton, the team that made your name
one shirt from Man United, a trophy
from the youth teams’ FA Cup,
Young Sports Personality of the Year 2002.
Count them and breathe in,
count them and think of George Best, of Gazza,
of how easily you could end up like them
Count them and remember how it felt
to connect with the wrong balls against Portugal
and how your slow march off the pitch
turned beer to vinegar in a million mouths.