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 Veronica Aaronson

Cold Calling

I dream about my father.  He’s young,
the goalkeeper for his regiment again, but
the pitch is pitted, covered in debris, 
like a war zone.

I wake mindful that today anything could 
happen, babies will be born, people will die.  
I ring and tell him how much I appreciated 
the fires he lit before I was out of bed, 
all the school shoes he polished, the bacon 
and eggs he cooked, the football matches
he took me to, how he managed to find 
the exact balance between rules and freedoms 
for me to flourish.

Silence is all he can muster – the opposition have
scored  before he’d realised the ball was in play. 
Finally, he gathers himself.  He clears the ball to 
the other end of the pitch:  Isn’t it terrible news 
about Charles and Di?  Poor old Parker-Bowles.  
He was in my regiment, you know.



Veronica Aaronson is the co-founder and one of the organisers of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival.  Her work has been published widely in literary journals, online and in anthologies and she has won and been placed in several competitions. Her first collectionNothing About the Birds Is Ordinary This Morning was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018 and has been put forward for the 2020 Laurel Prize. 
https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/veronica-aaronson/4594449130