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No. 8

Hard as nails
Box to box
Centre mid.

Scored from his own half
Long before Beckham did.

40 goals a season
A players’ player
The good old days, remember?

Subbuteo in the 1980s
Pre-Arsene Wenger.

Before the game changed
The diet
The conditioning.

The players left out all night.
Managerial indiscipline.

Saturday night
After the Cup Final
United v Arsenal

A horrific injury
Not cruciate or metatarsal.

He’d hit the winner
Stayed out late
His teammates went back.

A bedroom. A misplaced foot
His ankles snapped.

They stuck him back together
Back into the team
Next game.

But he knew it, and they knew it
He’d never be the same.

A cultured left foot
Won every 50:50
Back in the day.

Now in every tackle
His legs gave way.

Finished his career at left back
Gone are the girls
The cars.

Left with only his memories
Of that hat-trick against QPR.