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Do you want to plan a funeral that feels unique to the person who has died? You could start by looking for poems and readings that reflect their favourite hobby – whether that’s music, history or their local football team. 

In this article, you’ll find a selection of poems on football and death, as well as some inspirational football funeral readings from literature. We’ve also picked out a few verses about popular football teams, such as Manchester United and Liverpool FC. 

Football poems for funerals 

Nostalgic and inspirational funeral poems for a football fan 

My Old Football by J. Milton Hayes 

In ‘My Old Football’, J. Milton Hayes pays tribute to a worn-out, well-loved football. As the poem goes on, it becomes clear why it’s so important to him. The ball holds cherished memories – of his father, who gifted it to him, and of his brother who died in World War I. 

"You can keep your antique silver and your statuettes of bronze, 

Your curios and tapestries so fine, 

But of all your treasures rare there is nothing to compare 

With this patched up, worn-out football pal o’ mine."

This is an extract. You can read the complete poem here

Twice a Week the Winter Thorough by A. E. Housman 

This famous soccer poem comes from a popular 19th-century book called A Shropshire Lad. It focuses on memories of childhood football matches, so would make a good funeral poem for a footballer or anyone who played in their youth. 

"Twice a week the winter thorough 

Here stood I to keep the goal: 

Football then was fighting sorrow 

For the young man’s soul. 

Now in Maytime to the wicket 

Out I march with bat and pad: 

See the son of grief at cricket 

Trying to be glad. 

Try I will; no harm in trying: 

Wonder ’tis how little mirth 

Keeps the bones of man from lying 

On the bed of earth."

The Football Song by Sir Walter Scott 

Sir Walter Scott was a Scottish poet and historian. Here, he uses football to salute his country and the strength and resilience of its people. 
"Then strip, lads, and to it, though sharp be the weather, 

And if, by mischance, you should happen to fall, 

There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather, 

And life is itself but a game at football. 


And when it is over, we’ll drink a blithe measure 

To each Laird and each Lady that witnessed our fun, 

And to every blithe heart that took part in our pleasure, 

To the lads that have lost and the lads that have won. 


Then up with the Banner, let forest winds fan her, 

She has blazed over Ettrick eight ages and more; 

In sport we'll attend her, in battle defend her, 

With heart and with hand, like our fathers before."

Positive and funny football funeral poems 

The Passing of a Footballer by Michael Ashby 

Michael Ashby’s poems often use gentle humour to help make sense of grief. In this religious funeral poem, he imagines what matches would be like in Heaven. It’s a footballer’s paradise, he says, where ‘there’s always a top team to play on’ and ‘the matches never end’. 

Read the poem on Michael Ashby’s website. 

The Footballer's Prayer by Paul Cookson 

There are no football verses in the Christian Bible, but Paul Cookson’s ‘The Footballer’s Prayer’ feels a bit like a religious reading. It’s a playful, humorous take on the Lord’s Prayer, where ‘Hallowed be thy name’ becomes ‘Hallowed be thy game’ and ‘Amen’ becomes ‘Full time’. 



The complete poem is available on the poet’s website

Funeral poems about football teams 

A poem about Alfreton Town FC 

Alfreton Town 0, Brackley Town 1 by Rory Waterman 

‘Alfreton Town 0, Brackley Town 1’ is a poem on football, passion and bouncing back from disappointment. When the character’s team loses, he still sees it as a triumph because he lives for the thrill of the game. 

Read the poem here. Be warned: it contains a few swear words. 

A poem about Bradford, England and football fandom 

England by Sarah Wardle 

Sarah Wardle is well-known for her football poetry – she was once the poet in residence at Tottenham Hotspur FC in London. This poem, however, is written from the point of view of a club caretaker in Bradford. It covers lots of topics, but one of its main points is that football can be a powerful source of inspiration for normal, working people. 

Visit IPPR to read the poem in full. 

A poem about Everton FC 

Blessed is the People's Club by Paul Cookson 

Like ‘The Footballer’s Prayer’, this is a playful take on a famous Bible verse. While Jesus said ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’, Cookson pays tribute to the ‘tea makers’ – and everyone else who makes match day possible. 

Cookson has published the poem on his website. Scroll down to find it. 

A poem about Liverpool FC 

Jester's Hats by Dave Kirby 

This poem is about football memories and changing times. The poet takes his son to a Liverpool game and thinks back about his own youth, when tea was cheap and supporters didn’t wear jester’s hats. However, he doesn’t mind because he knows his son is making his own special memories. 

‘Jester’s Hats’ would make a good funeral poem for a football fan who passed his enthusiasm onto his children. 

Read it at The Liverpool Way. 

A poem about Manchester United and Manchester City 

Legends! by Tony Walsh 

The Manchester derby days are among the biggest events in UK football. Walsh’s ‘Legends!’ celebrates key figures on both sides, such as Manchester United’s Matt Busby and Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli. You could also read it as a tribute to a ‘legend’ in your own life. 



Funeral readings about football 

‘We are forced to mourn in public’ – an extract from Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby 

Here’s a thought-provoking passage from Nick Hornby’s famous football memoir. He describes how every supporter feels an intense and personal type of grief when their team loses a match. This might feel especially poignant if you’re saying goodbye to a passionate fan. 

Read the extract at AZquotes. 

‘A repository of traditions’ – an extract from How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer 

It’s hard to describe the sense of community you feel as a football lover. But Franklin Foer sums it up perfectly here. Football isn’t a religion, he says, but it certainly feels like one. 

Read the quote at Goodreads.

Photo by Tembela Bohle at Pexels