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.