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Jostling, pushed sideways then back
Then forwards down, down; feet clear
Of concrete steps – a tide of bodies
Thrown around by pure momentum.
You find yourself yards away
From where you began – breathless,
Frightened – yet somehow excited
By it all – a climactic moment.
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Thrills of youth – carless, carefree
Days of wonder at the match.
With your mates, cheering the lads.
Packed like sardines, side by side;
Some rich aromas floating around
On the sweaty, smoky, sticky air.
And when your team got the win
It made terrace hardship okay.
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Had been this way for many years,
Accepted as a small price to pay
For an escape from daily drudgery.
Fans were ‘bread and butter’,
The salt of the earth – they’d
Always be there to cheer and jeer.
No need to invest in comforts,
They wouldn’t want the bother…
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And then came fences, cages, pens;
Segregation – factions kept apart
By barriers on a crumbling Kop.
Some behaved like animals, so
All were treated like animals –
Herded, corralled, branded as
Fodder – the final disaster on an
April day tragic, but inevitable.
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Today it’s shiny plastic seats for all;
Many times dearer than a spot on
The terraces ever was, but you can
See all the action – unlike before.
You won’t get pushed, shoved
Around – it’s so neat and tidy now.
Camaraderie has gone, the fans are
Consumers – for good, or for ill ?