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I did play for Millbank Wanderers
Way back in 1967, though it seems like just the other day
But time passes so fast, one often wonders
What happened to the others kids who played?
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I would be thirteen or fourteen at the time of the incident
As keen as mustard to do well for my team
A freckle faced full back, no stranger to giving or taking a kicking
Or as was the way, back in the day; not frightened of getting stuck in.
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Anyway the whistle went, and the game had just started
When the ball was passed back for me to defend
Then I made a short pass across the dewy soaked grass
To a pal of mine, our keeper, so he could lump it up the other end.
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In slow mo a meteorite hit me from nowhere
I remember looking up to the sky past my toes
Slowly coming down to earth with a bump unaware
Of any hurt, till my back bellowed in pain from the blow.
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I lay there for what seemed like ages
In what I know now was shock
Then rolled over on the grass in a right bleedin rage
Kicking out at this bloke, who had knocked me for six on the sod.
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Now as I come from a family of quite handy (sic) boxers
Where The Noble Art, one is taught involves discipline
I obviously was not, one of it’s more dedicated followers
As I lost it completely, angrily punching this bloke on the chin.
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Which he thankfully received, then gave me his knee
In the stomach in return, as we rose to our feet
So I caught him again a stunning shot to the face
Which I’m sure must have frightened his teeth?
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Trainers and supporters jumped in to un-join us
As he caught me a beaut near the eye
I was angry, red faced (to match my red hair) and to be fair
Began crying out in pain, and as we parted with a right hook let fly.
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It stopped him, from hurting me further
Though my face and back screamed out in pain
The referee was left with no other alternative
Than send the pair of us off, from the lush dewy green field of play.
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I wanted to finish it with him right there and then
With The Football not high on my priority list
Mates of mine said; “Calm down Kev, get him after the game
Adding fuel to an already red mist.
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I slumped down on the touchline totally gutted
Hurt and silently crying in anger
A morning playing football suddenly interrupted
By my temper, letting down teammates, myself and the manager.
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A mate on the touchline kept goading me on
Throughout what was left of the game
“Back in the dressing room we’ll be giving them some?”
Like a fool I was “Yeah just him and me once again”
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The game finished and both teams shook hands on the pitch
We pulled up the goals posts and made our way back
To a yard where the changing rooms were next to a bridge
Across the London (via Gatwick) to Brighton train track.
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“I’ll watch his mates and you give it to him Kev”
My bruised face and ego agreed “Yeah too bleetin right”
So I quickly lit up a fag and then got slowly dressed
Thinking; how does one without a red mist…gee himself up for a fight?
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Well I was outside, working on getting ready to slay him
Snarling, angry and grinding my teeth
When out of the dressing room door came my assailant
A well turned out, innocent young Irish priest!
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Well innocent and young ain’t strictly the truth
He was somewhat bigger and holder than me
But as I’ve found from recalling the days of my youth
Were he small and of the same age, wouldn’t make for an interesting read.
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Anyway he offered me his hand like a fair sporting man
and an “I’m sorry young fella, I really should know better
I lost my head out on the field there, and now that I’m calm
Here’s my hand, so will we shake and forget it?”
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“Yeah we’d best do that Father”, I said stunned and thinking…Oh S**t
and while the pain disappeared midst a wry youthful grin
I shook hands with my foe whom I faced toe to toe (sic)
Who was keen, and not frightened of getting stuck in.
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Pain and bruising heal with the passing of time
Likewise the shame of one’s temper being lost
Now while travelling on the train down to Brighton
To take a stroll by the sea, I’ll look out of the window and smile
When we race by the pitch where a freckle faced kid…
Crossed swords with a man of the cloth.