Marine v Dagenham 1968
I climbed aboard my Time Machine,
The dial said ’68.
And saw myself, a teenage fan,
Outside the wooden gates.
In College Road the tension grew,
A buzz had hit the town,
The mighty Daggers were on their way
– A team of great renown.
The week before we’d stood outside
A frosty Rossett Park.
At 6am we’d seen the coach
Emerging from the dark.
Our first away trip to a place
Alf Garnett’s home was made.
Our stomachs filled with butterflies,
Nervous and afraid.
One by one our band got on
And headed for the rear.
We woke ourselves as non-stop chants of
MARINE filled the air.
Ned with his flag and captain’s hat,
The leader of our band,
Behind a goal that overlooked
A pitch of desert sand.
Heroes of the FA Cup,
The Daggers entered proud.
A cockney roar then overpowered
The scousers in the crowd.
T’was one way traffic all the way.
Big Favager was brave.
With Forster, “Telf” and Walker, too,
And Ogden with his saves.
We rode our luck, we said our prayers
And fortune went our way.
The final whistle blew at last
We’d kept the reds at bay..
My Time Machine moved on a week
The replay at Marine.
I wiped a tear as I looked down on
The biggest crowd I’d seen.
Three thousand fans around the pitch
With rattles, horns and flags
And stern old men in grey cloth caps
Lighting up their fags.
2-1 down with seconds left,
A corner from the right.
Big Fav’s header burst the net,
Wembley now in sight!
A pitch invasion followed this,
I ran onto the pitch
In extra time, O’Donnell scored,
But then there was a hitch.
The Daggers scored a couple more,
Our desperation grew,
As tears of joy turned into grief,
The final whistle blew.
Last glance at those who gave so much
-Both on and off the pitch,
Nostalgic bag of memories
I flicked the “forward” switch.
My Time Machine had brought me back
But I know I will return
To the “Good Old Days” at Rossett Park
To which my heart doth yearn.
Barry Lenton (Marine FC)