The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Clement Clarke Moore Stares Down at Me from Heaven, Brandishing His Naked Fist

Christmas stockingWe’ll be on a holiday schedule for the next few days, meaning posts will occur infrequently, like moments of lucidity in the speech of Joe Kinnear. I’ll try to keep in touch with any major developments in the Bracewell-Smith imbroglio and the occasional Pro Vercelli update, but otherwise I make no promises.

Check back before Christmas, though, for our Second Annual Run of Play Holiday Poem, which under no circumstances will be a reimagining of “A Night Before Christmas” as written by Alex Ferguson if he had somehow been reconsituted as a mediocre disciple of Philip Larkin. Because I just wouldn’t do that to you, ever, for any reason.

December 24th, the house quiet,
myself sleeping, sleeping beside me my wife,
from the lawn it arose, a clatter of such proportions
that I sprang to the window and immediately regretted it,
for what was the use of it, what was the aim of all this fun,
if a fat man with red cheeks, smoking,
jiggling with laughter, could show up at 3 a.m.,
some harebrained practical joke, convulsive with jollity,
and strumble across my lawn, upending the aspidistera,
triumphantly leading eight confused-looking reindeer?
You’ll hear about this in training tomorrow, Wayne Rooney,
I said to myself, closing the sash with a curse.
Go home, Wayne, I said. And got into bed with a sigh.

You see what I mean. It just wouldn’t be right.

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Clement Clarke Moore Stares Down at Me from Heaven, Brandishing His Naked Fist

by Brian Phillips · December 20, 2008

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