If…

If you can keep your head when all about you
Have five minutes left to score against you,
If you can trust yourself when all men mock you,
Because they all have bloody loanees too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
When you’re not 3-0 up by halftime;
Or play nice stuff, don’t overstate it
And muck about, just clear your lines:

If you can dream—but not assume you’re going to piss it;
If you can tut—and not moan they’ve lost their way;
If you can find a striker like Blissett
Don’t sell him in January: wait ‘til May;
If you can bear to have a two goal lead taken
When all of a sudden your defence unspools,
Or see your best player’s plantar, broken,
And not degenerate into a bunch of incapable fools:

If you can take one team of all your signings
To an away match and not play like toss,
Or lose, and start again at your beginnings
Instead of deciding you need a new boss;
If you can not spend a pre-season entirely on ball skills
And serve your turn long after your legs are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the crowd which says to you: “Come on! Stop defending so deep! God, they’re going to mess it up again”

If you can bring through kids, but play with virtue,
Or sign wunderkinds—who could actually give a f***,
If you can get that Hungarian bloke to join you,
If you replace your good players, but not with muck;
If you can fill ninety five good minutes
With five thousand seven hundred seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is Bournemouth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—next year might not be as bad, my son!

 

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