Oh Ashley


It got covered on the Guardian and Telegraph sports blogs and in Sabotage Times, and even spread as far as the Yorkshire Fishing community messageboard – the premier angling website in Yorkshire. But to no avail. Back with a new version in 2014, if we qualify.

The Nation's Prayer 2012

The Nation's Prayer 2010

The Nation's Prayer 2012


We are badge-kissingly proud to present this poem and downloadable mini-poster for the Euro 2012 championship, which kicks off this evening.

The poem is an update of a version I wrote two years ago for the World Cup, which was itself inspired by Ian Dury’s Bus Driver’s Prayer.

Working on something like this adds an extra frisson to news reports about squad selection and injuries. The surprise call-up of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain posed what looked like an insuperable problem. Ledley King is also much missed from the previous version. That said, I was glad to see Leighton Baines in the squad and have been praying he avoids a last-minute injury. Sports-related poetry is a stressful business.

The poem proved remarkably ineffective last time, but who knows, this year could be different. We can but hope. And pray.

The power of prayer

Hope Jim Davies has better luck.

The Nation's Prayer


Here's a prayer in anticipation of Sunday's match. Background and inspiration here

You can download and print your own version if you like (landscape format).

Godspeed, England.

The Nation's Prayer – Background


Yesterday morning, The Partners produced this beautifully simple England poster.

Yesterday afternoon, their prayers were answered: England beat Slovenia and will now play Germany on the 27 June – a Sunday.

That got me wondering about writing a prayer for England, which in turn brought to mind the Bus Driver's Prayer, of unknown origin, but immortalised by Ian Dury. Frith Kerr made this lovely poster out of it for the 2009 London Design Festival:


All of which eventually led me to write a similar thing involving the current England squad. Sue has turned it into a poster, which I'm about to stick up in the next post.