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Hurry, Hurry Albert

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Shuffles around, shifting balance – like he did on the wing
All in white, a silent skin. All those years ago. Forgotten,
Fading to nothing in his shabby little flat.
TV flickers, bottles strewn around. No cups to lift up,
No medals to shine. Anymore.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Memories hang on to the edge of his mind, flashing
Before his tired eyes – it used to be so good, so easy.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Dancing along, the ball his only true friend. Knocked in
A few, too.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 From the Afrikaaner land he had come – to dazzle from
The sidelines, all along ever changed by his divided life
Back home. Like another outsider in the Northern sixties,
He turned to drink to stop the doubts, the pain, the fears.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Cut down, by defenders’ boots and the crowds’ malice.
In the team but not of it, Revie’s black sheep often astray.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 He faded out with a whimper. As much a shadow as
When he arrived nine years before. So, what next ?

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Well, a few games at York. That’s all. Then began the long
Goodbye. Consumed by the demons that persued him, he
Left the field for the last time with no applause, no cheers
Just reclusive misery – a man lost to the world he knew.

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Notes

Albert Johanneson was the first black player to appear in a Wembley FA Cup Final – for Leeds vs Liverpool in 1965. He played 200 times for the Yorkshire club until losing his place to the mercurial Eddie Gray.
His self-confidence failed to match up to his abundant skills, hastening his demise into alcoholism and an eventual solitary death. RIP.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/hurry-hurry-albert/