The Man on the Side – Tom Warburton

The goalkeeper come out to catch the ball.
Arms stretched out, legs up high.
For his first time in goal, I think he did alright.
But the man on the side didn’t. No.
In fact, he thought the complete opposite.
Abused, both physically and verbally.
The black boy in goal, he didn’t do anything wrong,
he didn’t deserve it, he was just a normal boy,
doing what his job is to do.
It’s only a Sunday morning after all.

So the boy got home wet and cold,
but that wasn’t what he felt down about.
Up the stairs without a noise coming out of his mouth.
Ignoring his mum and his dad,
even his dog which he adores so much.
Onto his bed, he lay staring at the ceiling,
next to his school clothes, with his tie,
standing out, shining right in his eyes.
He didn’t need those clothes for school.
It’s only a Sunday morning after all.


Tom Warburton was an Orwell Youth Prize Junior Winner in 2019, responding to the theme ‘A Fair Society?’