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Blue Night At The Swiss Chalet

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 There is a pub in Swindon Town
they call the Swiss Chalet
it’s been the home of many a fan
on any big match day
and driving fans like me we just
drink J2O or Cola
and don’t expect a greeting from
the great Gianfranco Zola!

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 but there he was on match-day in
an article I’d found*
a blue oasis nestled near
that red and ancient ground …
so ticketless but hopes renewed
we journeyed to be there
past Robin fans whose Cup tie plans
oozed ‘upset-in-the-air’..
and over in the corner
a strange surreal surprise
for there behind the mural
we saw where ‘Zola’s’ lies ~

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 can twenty five years have gone by
since I stood quiet and still
as Swindon in the Members Cup
thrashed us that night four nil?
and memories of that ‘drubbing’ **
are still recalled today
as Reds and Blues sup as they choose
outside the Swiss Chalet

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 as time ticks on we ask around
a new-found friend comes through
and rings his mate who’s on the train
and says he might have two –
hot-footing to the station
those tickets make our day
and all because we chanced upon
those fans at Swiss Chalet

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 we walk towards the looming ground
expectant in the night
drawn in like moths to some great flame
bathed in that bright floodlight
past dodgy bootleg sellers
it’s not Cup Final day
but at this timeless County Ground
it could be anyway…
the game itself no classic
its passes without fear
a stone’s throw from our homes in Stroud
we’re grateful to be here
among the humoured banter
where standing is ‘OK’
the battle won we’re back job-done
outside the Swiss Chalet

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 you see them on your travels
like temple shrines they stand
for fans a thousand miles away
in distant far-flung lands
In Barcelona and Madrid
in Lisbon and in France
in Ireland too you’ll find one
and often quite by chance
a Fulham club in Singapore
a Dutch Man U café
just like this Chelsea haven
in Swindon’s Swiss Chalet

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 our modern online nightmare
of ticket lottery
for festival or gig or match
still brings it home to me
how when locked out as little kids
it didn’t stop us then
we would not yield to greedy touts
it’s like old times again
like queuing for the Beatles
or maybe Glastonb’ry
ticketless but hopeful
just my mate Rik and me

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 and by that pub in Swindon Town
where locals mix and stray
there is a home for different fans
come any big match day..
the lesson is the same old one
when sold out signs appear
you never know when luck will land
and something gets you there
and I will not forget the time
when kindness flowed that day
and lady fortune shone like stars
outside the Swiss Chalet

Swindon 0 Chelsea 2 ~Capital One Cup Sept 24. 2013

* To see Zola welcoming fans click here…
Gianfranco Zola Welcomes Chelsea Fans to Swindon Capital One Cup Tie.courtesy of Daily Mail

** Swindon 4 Chelsea 0~ Full Members Cup~ 13 January 1988
(A night to forget when Chelsea fans roared if they won a throw in!)

True but over-long tale here (apologies guys ) with an early dash of the Animals ‘Rising Sun’ classic.

I literally found out about the Swiss Chalet pub on the morning of the game having tried unsuccessfully online( like many a Robins and Blues fan) to get tickets. Though we’re now one of a fair few rich and often despised clubs, back in the struggling Div 1 and Div 2 Chelsea days, a visit to Swindon often held deep fear and trepidation for the Londoners. Spare a thought then for John Honeyman, who runs the Swiss Chalet in Swindon. John lovingly set up Zola’s Bar as a memorabilia-lined home for Wiltshire bound Blues fans and the Swindon branch of the Blues Supporters Club. However here’s the downside. As a landlord he is forbidden to leave the premises on any Swindon match day!

A tricky season then of planning out the Sunday, Monday games to follow his team, no doubt around the constant risk of changed dates -through TVs football stronghold?

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/blue-night-at-the-swiss-chalet/