Haiku: Soccer on Saturday

Photo Vienna Reyes

Haiku copyright Francis Barker 2020

I used to enjoy football (soccer) but the lockdown situation of this year and the non spectacle of games being played in empty stadia has made me see all sport in a different light.

Poem From A Picture: ‘A Firm Distant Memory’

IMG_1953 (1)
Flower festival Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire, England. Summer 2019

It’s iconic now,
England versus West Germany,
countries no longer existing,
old adversaries meeting
on a dappled pitch in late July,
still embroiled in controversy;
such as goals which were not goals,
views strictly dictated along partisan lines,
or the keen eye of a Russian linesman.

copyright Francis Barker 2020

The VAR Soccer Controversy – It isn’t ‘Cricket’!

action activity balls day
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is at times making more headlines than the football (soccer) action these days.

The latest controversies, decisions which have swung on measurements of no more than a few millimetres, plus perhaps inconsistent interpretations of the offside rule, have affected the course of games and perhaps even decided the results of some.

For years there was a clamour for the use of such technology, now it seems many can’t wait to get rid of it. I also detect that there is a sense among some that the technology somehow favours the ‘bigger’ clubs, although I don’t think this is true.

However, when you examine the great majority of incidents, even if the decisions are minimal, they are invariably correct. Yet, as in some cases, a player is adjudged to be a few millimetres offside after the referee initially gave the goal, there is no leeway, no place for ‘commonsense’ or the application of the spirit rather than the rule of ‘law’.

My own opinion is that VAR should only be used sparingly, and, if an attacking player is only the merest snip offside through VAR but looks onside by the naked eye, then the referee’s original decision should stand and the benefit should go to that attacker, otherwise I believe the whole nature of the game (and it is a game) is surely in doubt in the long term.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Liverpool FC – The Reds Are Simply The Best Ever Premier League Team

multicolored soccer ball on green field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Since the inception of the English Premier League in the 1992-3 season, there have been only a handful of teams who have ever won it: Manchester United, Blackburn, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester City – a quite remarkable statistic.

Considering the dominance of Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s it has been surprising that this famous club has not yet had its name engraved on the Premier League Trophy.

However, that drought is almost certainly about to be quenched by what I regard as the greatest team to have ever graced this most difficult league, Jurgen Klopp’s irresistible Liverpool side.

The transformation that the charismatic German manager has achieved is utterly remarkable. He arrived a few years ago with a peerless CV. Here is the man who managed turn Borussia Dortmund into a German giant with the capability of rivalling and beating the mighty Bayern Munich in a style of football which is both skillful and totally uncompromising, relying on the highest possible fitness levels. The drive and relentless posivity which Klopp has infused to every team he has managed, has brought the greatest rewards with Liverpool, earning them a Champions League trophy and World Club Cup Championship in 2019.

The Premier League is the greatest goal

Nevertheless, I think it’s fair to say that the greatest prize Liverpool are seeking is the English Premiership Title. The last time the club finished at the pinnacle of the English game was in 1990, nearly 30 years ago.

What’s more, a Premier League trophy in 2020 would also take Liverpool’s tally of top flight championships to 19, just one behind their bitter arch rivals, Manchester United, a fact which is bound to stir the North West giant into seeking their own renaissance over the next few years.

The only question remaining for this season is not who might win the Premier League, but rather if Liverpool can go unbeaten the whole season and beat Manchester City’s tally of 100 points from 2017. The way Liverpool are playing I wouldn’t bet against either of these.

copyright Francis Barker 2019


Astrology Musings: Contest Astrology – Can It Work?

Photo by Pixabay

The idea is to cast the chart for the beginning of the contest, whatever the sport.

But can astrology give any clue as to which team or contender might win? A preposterous idea, you may think; I haven’t attempted this for a time but here are my musings. It’s going to be a little complicated but please read on.

Let’s take the recent FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in England, on May 18. Manchester City, the clear favourites before the game started, won it emphatically, 6-0.

Home or Away

First you have to assess who are the home and away teams. That’s easy enough for a normal league game where there is an obvious home team.

But in these circumstances, at a neutral venue, I took the favourites Manchester City to be represented by the ascendant or rising sign, and Watford were given the opposing descendant.

What an Atmosphere

For a start, as the game began, there was an applying full moon in Scorpio. The full moon in itself creates tense and unusual atmospheres, a sense of dichotomy perhaps.

At the time of kick off, Libra was on the ascendant. The ruler, Venus, was astonishingly in an exact conjunction with Uranus in Taurus in the eighth house.


At best, Uranus brings something unique, surprises, something extraordinary perhaps. In a sporting context, therefore, the final result of 6-0 is surprising. Manchester City’s performance and finishing were indeed extraordinary.

The fifth (favourites) and eleventh (underdogs) houses are also considered important in terms of the teams’ performances on the day.


The ruler of the fifth house, Saturn, was conjunct Pluto in Capricorn very close the IC of the chart, again portending an emphatic, even drastic result for the opposition’s reputation.

And what about the opposition themselves? With Aries on the descendant, it’s ruler Mars was found in Cancer in the tenth house, making no major aspects, though this in itself says more about the determination and reputation of the favourites, their penchant for ruthlessness.

The eleventh house (opposition form) is ruled by the Sun, which as we saw earlier, is being opposed by an applying full Moon, ruler of the tenth house.

So maybe we see here Watford being fully opposed, cancelled out as the game went on.

No Surprise

All in all then, a Manchester City win was no surprise, though the manner and margin of it certainly was. The time around full Moon can be a bit unusual. Combine this with Venus (ruler of the ascendant and significator of the favourites) exactly conjunct Uranus, and bingo. Quite extraordinary.

Just as an aside, what might be gleaned from the chart for the start of the Champion’s League Final on Saturday, June 1 in Madrid? A very fluid, changeable game, a roller coaster perhaps.

Favourites Lose Their Way?

Liverpool are definite favourites, may start well, but they could lose their way a bit tactically, creatively (or through injury?) during the game. Tottenham, on the other hand, seem to have luck factors (and maybe a trump card) in their favour, with a closely applying Moon conjoining Venus in Taurus, amongst other things.

I will assess this again next week, after the game, but I think it will be tight. If luck and favour can translate into goals at critical times, Tottenham can win this.


copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019


*If you would like a personal astrology report, please contact me at: leoftanner@gmail.com for further details.

Poem: ‘August in Yesteryear’

English: Summer field in Belgium (Hamois). The...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer was once ices poles and living
on bikes; we were free like swifts
screaming circles in the air. Greens
were for football and teams twenty a side,
roads for playing cricket, where cars
were stalling aberrations. We lay
on lawns watching clouds, minds unfettered
in those zenith blues; guilt
and care belonged to
some other world and school
might well have been
beyond the moon.

Only later came guitars with boys’ awakenings;
serenading neighbours
sunbathing in the yard, or the shock
of full moons rising late in the day. We really
thought we had credence, like southern
Skynyrd boys, singing in that
sultry heat with school coming at us
like banks of cloud, the football season
begun and cricket nearing its end,
watching shadows gathering
where the sun once shone

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012

Poem: ‘München 1980s’

Toit stade Munich
Toit stade Munich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Munich was the revelation, a summer
day and sultry night spent on streets
full of girls.
Americans from Boston, all eyes,
all teeth and smiles, never knowing
the word ‘retreat’. But they froze
in the face of my voice, my accent
(and so what is that all about?). Not a word
to comprehend, though one
would understand my kiss.

Then we rose in circles of museums,
BMWs going back in time— looking
further out toward Alps, first glimpses of
Olympic legacies, where Bayern now
played in their blazing red. More
a work of art than a stadium; like
the girl at the counter, almost beyond
beauty, leaving me speechless
and sadly gawping. “What is this?”
I asked myself. “What are you
doing to me, this feeling?”

So typical of me, my mind going off
in tangents, to eastern philosophies
of afterlives and rebirth. Patience
has made her beautiful, patience
in forgotten pasts, risen up
into this image which attracts
without trying, like a baby or a kitten,
yet so deep, more profound.

I found myself smiling into
cobalt eyes, stuttering my worst
German words. And all the poor girl did
was blush

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012
* inspired by a trip to Munich way back when
and Claudia’s fine prompt for dVerse.


Some favourite music for a hot sultry night…

‘Ull Ice Hockey – I wouldn’t have believed it!

Matt played footie yesterday (lost), then went to Whitley Bay to play for ‘Ull Uni at Ice Hockey (lost but one assist) and is now about to face Edinburgh (yes, that’s right) in ‘Ull for another battle at Ice Hockey. I was young once but it was never like this!!!