Instant reaction to Villa's loss to Man. United: The Hollow Team

We are the hollow ball - Matthew Lewis

Aston Villa got trounced at home by Manchester United today. This is my reaction.

With apologies to T. S. Eliot.

I

We are the hollow team
We are the stuffed team
Falling together
Midfield filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We cheer together
Are quiet and meaningless
As a Benteke first touch
Or another super effort from Guzan
In our cursed goal
4-3-3 shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed attack, Sylla without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to United's box
Remember them - if at all - not as lost
Feckless souls, but only
As the hollow team
The stuffed team.

II

Passes I dare not meet in dreams
In Villa Park's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the passes are
Crisp on a sunlit pitch
There, is a goal scoring
And voices are
In the air singing
More joyous and bright
Than a new-formed star.
Let me be no nearer
In Villa Park's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
10, 11, 20
On a pitch
Behaving as strikers behave
No nearer -
Not that final match
In the Villa Park kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is the Welbeck land
Here the Red Devils
Are raise, here they receive
The supplication of a dead team's hand
Under the twinkle of camera lights.
Is it like this
In Villa's other memories
Waking alone
For only fifteen minutes and then
Trembling with fear
Legs that would kick
From dreams to broken hopes.

IV

The goals are not here
There are no goals here
In this stadium of dying stars
In this hollow stadium
This broken shell of our lost ambition
In this home meeting place
We grope together
And avoid winning
Gathered on the edge of the tumid pitch
Winless, unless
The wins reappear
As the perpetual advantage
Advantageous home
Of Villa Park's kingdom
The hope only
Of Villa fans

V

Gabby Gabby Gabby
Gabby Gabby Agbonlahor
He's fast as fuck
He's fast as fuck

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the counterattack
And the run
Falls the Shadow
For United's is the Villa Park
Between the awakening
And the whistle
Between the emotion
And the other whistle
Falls the Shadow
Three goals are many
Between the desire
And the rage
Between the impotency
And the fecklessness
Between the first fifteen
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For United's is the Villa Park
For United's is
Villa Park is
For United's is the
This is the way the match ends
This is the way the match ends
This is the way the match ends
Not with a bang but 0-3.

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