My mate called me frantically, via teephone,
telling me I’ll have to travel—–to City alone.
Gave me an excuse he’d just made up,
same as when we drew Millwall away in the cup.
Callaghan was prime minister, Slade and Sweet the bands,
and when you travelled away, you took your life into your hands.
I went to football matches, minus any malice,
all I wanted to do was follow CRYSTAL PALACE.
So on Saturday morning, I said goodbye to the wife,
hoping to return, with victory and my life.
I exit the M6, the journey’s gone to plan,
and the first person I see, is a City fan.
UP THE PALACE ! I bravely shout, at the lad who’s about nine,
and speed away up the road as he gives me the V-sign.
I park a mile from the ground, to be on the side of caution,
but straightaway I’m the victim, of local mob extortion.
“It’s 25 pence mate, so no one cuts your tyre,
and another 25 so your car don’t go on fire.
In London he’d be told, to F-off and get lost,
but when you’re travelling away alone it’s all part of the cost.
I looked around at the terraced street and thought of Coronation,
as I gave the little bastards their 50 pence donation.
I notice jean clad city hoodlums, hanging out in pairs,
checking out the strangers with confrontational stares.
Travelling away, one thing you were taught,
don’t wear no scarf if you ‘aint huge support.
It’s alright for the Chelsea’s, Uniteds’ and the Pool,
but to wear my Palace colours I’d be a bloody fool.
Still three hours to kick-off, I’ve got some time to kill,
maybe a couple of pints will help my nerves to chill.
I ask a friendly copper,——-where I can get, a peaceful drink,
and he rubs his chin in thoughtfulness and at his colleague gives a wink.
“Ooop the road lad, make a right, you’ll find a nice saloon,
it’s perfect for away fans, it’s called’ the Old Blue Moon’.”
Into the public house I go, it’s a mass of City blue,
and a hundred hostile faces thinking ” who the hell are you.”
Squeeze my way to the bar, afraid of being vocal,
one word out— of my mouth and they’d know I’m not a local.
I know a London accent, would be their excuse to start a fray,
oh how I wished I ‘d stayed at home and never went away.
The barman had an Irish face, and an Irish brogue that matched,
and when he asked me what I wanted, a cunning plan I hatched.
” Oil have a point o guinness” I asked in an Irish twang,
and I stood my ground till half past two, when last orders rang.
“He’s just some paddy who’s got lost, I heard a patron say,
as any attention on me seemed to go away.
The pub was getting noisy, as of their hero’s they did sing,
of Colin Bell and Rodney and Tueart upon the wing.
They sang they hated Forest and Man United too,
these were the rougher element of the City crew.
It was nearly time for kick-off——- and as I walked out of the bar,
I was grabbed by a City bruiser, whose face it bore a scar.
” Hey you Irish bastard.Don’t come in here no more,
and this is for the Birmingham bombs” as he knocked me to the floor.
I decide my safest action, is to make a fast retreat,
and I find myself by the ground on a place called Kippax Street.
Then in my utter confusion,——I did something I didn’t intend,
I entered the first turnstile, into the City end.
The game kicked off, with ” COME ON CITY” echoing in my ear,
as I stood their frozen in my spot, to terrified to cheer.
City scored before the break, and the Kippax end went wild,
and I clapped my hands politely and very falsely smiled.
Then in the final minute, Don Rogers made a break,
and he left a trail of City players chasing in his wake.
He rounded big Joe Corrigan and tapped it in to score,
and in the City end I could contain my joy no more.
I jumped up and down, joyfully punching air,
I was signing my death warrant but I didn’t really care.
A thousand fingers pointed, chanting my head would be kicked in,
for I was a cockney in the City end—-and that was a mortal sin.
They surged down the terraces, telling me my destination,
even letting me know the form of transportation.
I took a couple of blows, as they moved in for the kill,
but then thank God I was rescued, by a handful of ‘old bill’.
They took me by the arms and led me from the ground,
and escorted me through the back streets, until my car was found.
I slumped into the seat, of my faithful morris minor,
and looking in the mirrror, saw I had a whopping shiner.
Once on the motorway, I let out a mighty sigh,
as I looked back at Manchester, where I thought I’d die.
It was just after midnight, when I got to face the wife,
“for God sakes John, what have you done, why don’t you get a life.
So for a week I grovelled and took care of her needs,
and two weeks after City I was driving up to Leeds.