• 07/11/2023
The Coach & Horses Pub

Matchday at The Coach and Horses by Chris Towers.


It was match day at the Coach and Horses.

You said the football looked like an orange,

bobbling on a carpet of snow, mottled green.

You were nibbling treacle toffee which stuck


between the many crannies of your teeth,

as you watched your team in the falling fog.

Then settling in ‘The Coaches’ with humbugs

in the pockets of your old duffle coat.


I saw your fingers snaking through crisp bags,

lounging in the bar room, talking Sheffield.

Your eyes like gas lights, a soft, burning, glow,

with games and glories recounted with spark.


With beer mats smelling of white vinegar,

or papers folding chips in salt and grease,

and barrel-waisted men with scarves of wool,

buttoned with badges of colliery teams.


I saw you lingering with the programme,

feeling the sheen of the paper, shining,

like satin on skin, and just as wicked.

Then sliding on seats of worn soft leather.


There's still match day at The Coach and Horses,

and you’re standing stout outside the pub,

hearing the clicky, clack of turnstiles,

smelling diesel from the old Sheffield Road.


Old punters stand with beer, like sturdy oaks.

They used to drop shiny silver in palm 

of savvy barmen but now slide slippy

credit cards, like old pennies at the slots.


Yes, it's match day at The Coach and Horses,

and you see the amber street lights flicker,

smell coffee remnants from solid steel flasks,

hear the talk of the football in the snug.