A Poem by Steven Kedie

Kick Offs at Three

It’s Saturday, just him and me.
We’re on the train, in the chippy.
Mountain of chips, an ocean of gravy.
First timer, he calls me.
Makes a joke about losing my virginity.
He’s not stressed or tense like he’d normally be.
Come on, he says. Let’s go. They kick off at three.

It becomes our thing: Saturdays, just him and me.
No sister, no mum; just half the family.
Spend my days counting down to that train ride, the smell of chippy.
Replay the funny things he says about shite meat pies and piss weak tea.
Everything becomes about those kick offs at three.

We tour the country, him and me.
Away days to Sunderland, south to Torquay.
Bristol for Rovers, Birmingham for their City.
Up and out early for kick offs at three.

Hours spent remembering, him and me.
About the day we scored one but then conceded three.
The day of that last-minute winner from a dodgy penalty.
About him shouting and moaning about what the ref didn’t see.
About all of the Saturdays and the kicks off at three.

Life moves on. I finish school and college, go away to uni.
Where I meet a girl, get a degree
Always trying, but mainly failing, to get home for the kick offs at three.
We travel, try and see everything there is to see.
Return with a ring on her finger, my wife to be.

There’s a wedding, then a baby
Now we are three.
Him, me and the little one.
All together when they kick off at three.


Steven Kedie lives in Manchester with his wife and their two boys. He is the author of the novel Suburb. When not writing, Steven spends his time running, watching football and trying to complete Netflix. The father featured in Kick Offs at Three is not based on his own father, who would happily shut the curtains if the Manchester Derby was taking place in his garden. It is an imaging of some of the father and son relationships Steven has seen at football matches throughout the years. 

A Poem by Sheila Jacob

Something To Remember Your Dad By

Your sister writes and yes,
unwrapping the leather purse
and inhaling its sharp sweet fibres,

I remember how your Villa scarf
draped claret and blue
around the cubbyhole peg.

I remember your slippers,
overcoat, a crumpled hanky
that fell from its sleeve

all parcelled in tobacco-tang
long after you’d smoked
your final cigarette.

This purse you made
during the war, convalescent
from the pneumonia

that almost killed you.
You scored and stitched it
for your own Dad,

brought it home one weekend.
Perhaps he used it straight off,
counted coppers onto the bar

and you shared pints,
Woodbines, family news, the air
a sharp sweet fug as hours slid

away like beer down a glass.
Sunday came before you could blink,
the purse warm in his inside pocket

and you on Snow Hill’s
sandbagged platform, time to spare
before the night train’s judder and hiss.



Sheila Jacob lives in North Wales with her husband. She was born and raised in Birmingham and resumed writing poetry in 2013 after a long absence. She is frequently inspired by her working-class ‘50’s childhood. Her poems have been published in a number of U.K. magazines and webzines. Last year she self-published a small collection of poems dedicated to her Dad who died when she was almost fifteen.