He tweaked his cap and scratched his head,
While pondering the question,
And fixed me with a look that said
I’d giv’n him indigestion.
The dewdrop glistened on his nose,
The well-worn face grew wrinkled.
I knew I’d spoiled his sweet repose,
But still those pale eyes twinkled.
He bade me sit with finger slow,
And then he sighed defeated.
“Why do I hate Arsenal so?”
He wearily repeated.
“It must’ve been ‘bout thirty-eight,
When Grimsby were on fire.
The lads were doing really great,
And boy, could they inspire!
‘Best centre forward in the game,
The Pride of Grimsby Town.
Jackie Bestall was his name,
A striker of renown.
‘The crosses came in from out wide,
And Jackie’d score for fun,
And hopes were high on Humberside
That something could be won.
‘The FA Cup was our big hope,
We reached the final four,
And we were sure that we could cope
With Arsenal in the draw.
‘Now Arsenal were a decent team,
But they were getting old,
And so we held on to the dream
That destiny foretold.
‘We all went down to Villa Park,
And squashed in like sardines,
Hoping Jackie’d make his mark
And spark off joyous scenes.
‘But Arsenal did their homework well,
And in the second minute,
They kicked our Jackie as he fell,
And made sure we’d not win it.
‘Crippled him, the Arsenal backs,
Such cynical defenders.
They might as well have used an axe,
‘Twas utterly horrendous.
‘Jackie, ‘course, stayed on the pitch,
For subs were not allowed,
But he could barely hobble which
Incensed the Grimsby crowd.
‘And Arsenal won the match one nil,
And we went home disgusted,
And hatred lies in our hearts still,
Although ‘tis done and dusted.
‘Our trophy cabinet is bare,
Our single chance was lost,
‘Twas Arsenal, playing so unfair,
Who made us pay the cost.”
Upon his cheeks, a reddish glow,
His pale eyes opened wide.
“And that’s why I hate Arsenal so,”
He bitterly replied.