He resembled a middle-aged bank manager,
not a team captain from that era,
but to all of Crystal Palace fans,
he was our Bobby Moore or Shearer.
His name was John ( the shovel ) Sewell,
and his position was right back,
a crisp and tidy tackler,
who often moved up in attack.
Signed from neighbours Charlton,
for an Eleven Thousand fee,
his debut was v Bristol Rovers,
in October 63.
The fans they called him ‘Shovel,’
it was shouted with devotion,
and his finest moment came in 69,
when he led us to promotion.
He was only ever booked once,
when he accidentally clipped a heel,
but Bert Head wrote in for leniency,
and the F.A agreed to his appeal.
However —– it was his equalizing goal v Leeds,
that the Palace hoardes remember,
as he latched onto a pass from Scott,
who was filling in for Kember.
” HOOF IT IN THERE, ” screamed the crowd,
as in the box he sent her,
and if he’d been a Brazilian,
you’d have sworn to God, he’d bent her.
The ball hung lazily in the air,
and took a little swerve,
and poor Gary Sprake in the United goal,
seemed to lose his nerve.
First he thought to punch it,
then he went to catch,
and he made a total cock up,
of the last kick of the match.
As the ball dropped slowly in the net,
Selhurst Park let out a roar,
and ‘ the Shovels’ name was carved out,
forever in folklore.
But ‘ the Shovel’ was getting older,
and he was struggling with the pace,
and sometimes he got the run-around,
from young wingers he would face.
John’s contribution to the Palace cause,
was still recognised as huge,
and the Board gave him a send off,
with a Testimonial match v Bruges.
He was transferred onto Orient,
where he enjoyed an Eight month stay,
then he joined a Euro exodus,
bound for the U.S.A.
He could have joined the Cosmos,
or the Philadelphia Fury,
but instead he headed West,
to St Louis in Missouri.
He became the STARS player manager,
and won coach of the year,
and he became a living legend,
in the City famed for beer.
John got used to all the razzmatazz,
cheer girls and astro turf,
and he followed with the franchise,
when they became the California Surf.
He’s now living somewhere near L.A.
that town of dudes and geeks,
and last I heard he was doing well,
with a business in antiques.
The business name is ‘AWFULLY CIVILISED’,
a name that fits John like a shoe,
cos that’s exactly what he was,
OUR GALLANT NUMBER TWO.