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“Take Up the White Man’s Burden
Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captive needs
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild
Your new caught sullen peoples
Half devil and half child.”
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One day he won a race by several feet,
But the man on the line was a cheat.
Proud Arthur would not accept second place,
And smashed the prize bowl in the judge’s face.
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This man of many talents had other strings to his bow,
He held the Preston to Blackburn cycling record did you know?
For Darlington he played football and cricket too,
There was just so many things that Arthur could do.
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Running, cycling and cricket for a token fee,
Could never match the money from P.N.E.
Major Sudell, their Manager, decided his role;
The World’s fastest man would play in goal.
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Crouching by the post he would spring to catch the ball,
And punch it clear of forwards some of whom were six feet tall,
Hanging from the cross-bar an entertainer he became,
Arthur, ‘The Prince of Goalkeepers’ had arrived to grace the game.
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Our Prince reached the Cup Semis in 1887,
Aiming for the final and a football kind of heaven,
But West Brom were the team to leave him feeling glum,
When P.N.E. finished losers by a score of three to one.
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When goals flew past him the insults would begin,
His talent couldn’t shield him from the taunts about his skin,
He may have been a ‘Prince’ but there was to be no England cap award,
What Arthur ever made of his there is sadly no record.
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But Arthur wasn’t one to shed a selfish tear,
As he showed them up in Scotland on the first day of New Year,
As a shot flew beyond the reach of P.N.E’s great star,
He reached up to let it over by pulling down the bar.
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But things turned sour and Sudell was left to frown,
When Arthur left to sign as a pro with Rotherham Town,
Many asked why Arthur should choose to join this club,
The answer lay in Town’s gift to him; the license of a pub.
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Friends should have warned him, should have made him think,
Of the dangers to his talent of indulging in the demon drink,
But Arthur couldn’t see this, how could he possibly know,
Like so many before and after, he just drifted with the flow.
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Inthose days the game was often violent,
But Arthur had his ways and means of keeping rivals silent,
Taunting forwards were made aware where greatness lies,
When Arthur jumped up and caught their shots between his thighs!
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Times were hard in Rotherham, and Arthur was dismayed,
That Town could never guarantee his wages would be paid,
Tom Bott, poached him for Sheffield United in 1894,
But Arthur was no longer the keeper he was of years before.
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Drink was was sapping away his speed and athletic grace,
When a young man from Sheffield came along to take his place,
His name was Fatty Foulke, twenty-four stone and that ain’t lies,
A baker’s friend if ever there was, “Cos he ate all the pies.”
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Arthur’s fall was gradual it didn’t happen overnight,
From Stalybridge to Stockport he continued on his fight,
Was it age or was it drink? either could be true,,
When Arthur ‘Prince of Keepers’ retired in 1902.
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In 1930 Arthur passed away, a forgotten legend of his time,
He’d spent his last sad years working down the mine,
He died alone without a penny to his name,
Laid to rest in Pauper’s grave despite his once great fame.
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And that would be the tragic ending of a long forgotten tale
Of a black burning star blinkered by his love for the demon ale
Then sixty years later a wise historian had good reason
To find Arthur’s granddaughter, name of Sheila Leeson.