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Driving up lee way,
I knew to avoid Lewisham, Blackheath,
Eltham to Shooter’s Hill would be crowded,
I parked in Charlton Park Road.
The village was shopping its Tuesday shop,
People working away the day, aimlessly.
Charlton Church Lane was not crammed
Full of cars, parking on pavements,
Forcing their way into minute spaces.
Seas of red did not emblazon the sky
Prophesying Premier League expectation.
Nor did bantering fans tail back excitedly
Jostling happily from floydd Road.
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Old fans die hard and
Durham voices discourage friendship
Between fans wanting tickets for Wembley.
Berkhampstead is a long journey
For a Sunderland man working south,
Whose club had sold all their tickets.
Old fans pass ticket stubs to journeying fans
To get them through the gate.
And twenty fans calling for ticket stubbs
Can kiss my ass
‘cos We are through – and breathing steady
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SASA ILIC SAVES.
And is buried in a mound of
Red and black tops – beige suits.
We’re up and dancing, hugging each other.
Sasa Ilic saves
Wiping away years in the wilderness.
Ground sharing at Selhurst and Upton Parks.
‘Curbs’ is on the pitch
Players shaking hands and waving to the crowd.
“Going up, going up, going up,
Going up going up going up
Sasa Ilic saves – wiping away
Jokes about being a Charlton fan;
“And I’m the other one.”
Flanagan and Allen (Hales).
Fireworks explode – showering silver shale,
Freddie Mercury: full volume-
“WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS”.
We are a flag waving, banner shaking
Mass of red. “Su-per super Clive
Super Clive Mendonca”.
SASA ILIC saves – giving value
To those who formed the valley party.
The RETURN TO FLOYD ROAD.
Kinsella raises the trophy.
Reds blacks and suits leap, dance
And throw themselves around the pitch.
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The ‘Appian Way’ is a slow procession –
Red and white stripes sagging
Against the afternoon sun.
Flags furled, chants of praise
Rolled into discarded lager cans.
Calls of “CHARLTON” suppressed
In respect of defeated warriors.
Songs folded into victorious programmes
Given to grandchildren.
A woman writes herself into childhood history:
Gives a boy her hat.
Policemen mount guard on a whistle tune…
Peep, peep, p peep peep – “CHARLTON”
Quickly put back.
Together we pile down the tube.
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From Football: Pure Poetry. 2. Creative Energy Pubcns. 106 pges
ISBN 0953429652. £8.99. Anth of fans poems inc Stuart B, Crispin,
Dennis G, Ian Mac, Roger Mac, John Fashanau and Abt 30 more.
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WAR TIME CUP FINAL.
I can’t believe our luck
Charlton in their second War time Cup.
(Two more yet to come).
How can this be fun?
As I’m the best believer,
Stuck at home with scarlet fever
Temperature and an aching head
But mum’s done out my room in red
Listen on the wireless,
Hoping it won’t be a mess.
hiding here, behind our settee.
Spilled my steaming cup of tea
And we have beaten Ch..el..sea.