Durban Derby Days

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Remember those Durban Derbies
In the days of New Kingsmead,
When football was compelling
And the players a different breed
When United took on City
There was not an empty space
And Castle Corner raised the roof
When the teams came face to face.
Some fans were dressed in green and white
And some in white and blue,
Whichever team they followed
They were soccer fans through and through.
There was Gentleman Les Salton
And Dashing Dan Le Roux,
Bustling Bobby Chalmers
And “Twiggy” Exall too.
The goalies were the hard men
And I can name a few
Who thrilled the crowds week after week,
Stopping shots from getting through.
Lightening, Ryder, Wootten,
Grierson and Hartmann too,
Goalies from those games long past
Played football strong and true.
There also were the brothers,
So lauded by their fans,
The Petersons, the Barratts,
The Barkers and the Manns.
And then there were the Managers
Well known throughout the town,
Norman Elliot – the Silver Fox-
And gentleman Topper Brown.
Week after week the men of words
Waxed lyrical in their papers.
They covered all the matches
And described the player’s capers.
Reg Wright , Fred Forge,
Reg Sweet and Ed Gray,
All masters of the written word
With Mike Bradbury and John Holliday.
Although they brought the games to life
With words that painted pictures,
The “cartoon men” Leyden and Lund,
Were drawing all the fixtures!
There were many, many players,
Far too numerous to name,
Who played their hearts out for their clubs
And for the love of the Beautiful Game!
Many of them were local
And some came from abroad
And it’s thanks to every single one of them
That Soccer in the Sixties
Was followed and adored.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Ianthe Exall 2013


I wrote this while my husband Francis Exall was very ill with cancer. He was at the top of his pro career during those special soccer days in South Africa in the ’60’s. He sadly died in May this year.

Editor Note:Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your poem Ianthe. I lived in Jhb, Cape Town and Durban from 72-79 .
Having experienced football here in the UK and London since the late fifties, I remember vividly during those apartheid days, how different football was in SA. Still no television for most of that period, I’d hanker for news or film of the team I’d lived nearby and grown up with (Chelsea). We’d listen to crackly commentaries on the radio on beaches and catch Match of The Day, flown over and shown from a projector ..often onto a sheet, in some stuffy hot hotel on Monday lunch hours.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories. Such different times , both football and politically wise.

I came across the following dedication online to Francis “Twiggy” Exall:

Francis [ Twiggy ] Exall
Sadly, but peacefully he passed away on Tuesday morning [ 7th May ] from cancer at the age of 69. Twiggy’s footballing career began at Ramblers, then on to Fulham jnrs, then Addington, Durban United and Maritzburg. I recall he also played for Virginia United. Twiggy had the driest sense of humour and was also a great footballer and was a gentleman both on and off the field. To his dear wife Ianthe his son Paul, we extend our deepest sympathy. Twiggy, you are gone but will not be forgotten.
” from the guys at Expro ”

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/durban-derby-days/