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Paul Elliott: A Man Called Jamaica

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 A Man Called Jamaica (The Paul Elliott Story)

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 When the Windrush arrived in ‘48,
How many aboard could have guessed their fate?
Rejection on doorsteps, a bitter heart-breaker,
In your cheap cotton suits all the way from Jamaica.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 You’d heard about the snow, the rain and the smog,
But not, “No Blacks, No Irish, No dogs.”
Still you were strong enough to stand your ground,
Not pick up your bags and turn around.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 One family moved to Charlton for a brand new deal,
And brought up a son who refused to kneel;
Selhurst Park, excited, his football League debut,
Facing the problems his parents both knew.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 From the midst of the terraces a monkey chant,
Was Paul Elliott’s first taste of a racist rant,
But worse was to come than those at Crystal Palace,
As fans in the north screamed out their malice.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 “Some fans had nothing but a hate message to send,”
Remembered a supporter from the Covered End.
“What I saw back then seems so far-fetched,
Nazi National Front with their arms outstretched.”

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 But Paul played on, determined, no regrets,
To spite those fans with their banana skin threats.
From Charlton to Luton and then onto Villa,
There were times when Paul’s story read like a thriller.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 Abroad then to Pisa he marked Maradona,
For Paul looking back now this was an honour,
To say it was better in Italy would have been a lie,
As the fans in the south made his whole family cry.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 But Paul’s mind was set, his destiny clear,
No time was wasted in shedding a tear,
For despite the cruel words of a racist fan
“I went there as a boy and I came out of it a man.”

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Paul vowed to meet his challenge head on,
So off to Celtic in Glasgow our man was soon gone,
Some said he was foolish, it was much too risky,
Glasgow’s a vile cocktail of vodka and whisky.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Against Rangers he made his Scottish debut,
As onto the pitch bananas they threw,
An own goal, a bad back pass, a terrible nightmare,
Abuse and Misfortune came in more than his fair share.

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 But Old Firm hatred couldn’t make him fall,
He kept his focus, his eyes on the ball.
In the last minutes he scored a goal with his head,
“Don’t you know the nutritional value of a banana?” he said.

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 Back to England and Chelsea, the ultimate test;
Stamford Bridge was not a ground that you came for a rest,
Some of their supporters high up in the stands,
Shouted abuse with vile outstretched hands,
But soon his name was the first they would cheer
And they were sad when injury took away his career.
His playing days now over he looked for a way,
Of helping all colours come together to play.

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 As a match commentator he refused to bitch,
About things that had happened to him on the pitch,
Using his fame to continue the fight,
Doing what he knew deep down was so right.
Taking the fight abroad for UEFA,
As colour should never bar who you can play for.

15 Leave a comment on verse 15 0 Then back to the Valley, a stage from his past,
Nailing his hopes to the Addick’s mast,
Seeking ways of sending to the dustbin,
Days when a player was judged by his skin.

16 Leave a comment on verse 16 0 Peter Daniel

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Notes

Written in 2006 as part of a project with Charlton Athletic. this poem was published along a similar poem about Arthur Wharton in a booklet called A Century Apart?

EDITOR NOTE having personally worked alongside Peter and Paul at Cheslea and Charlton , this is a theme and project close to my heart. So here’s a recent review and details of how to get hold of the book..

‘A Century Apart’ written by Peter Daniel/Illustrations by Ted Smith Orr.
Creative Energy Publications . Copies are available at £6.00 each (incl of Postage & Packing) from:Creative Energy Publications, 365 Homesdale Road, London SE25 4PN .
For further enquiries and information contact :
tsopoetryshow@hotmail.co.uk

‘A Century Apart’ Wharton & Elliott in verse -Review

It’s always good to come across football poetry publications that involve fellow working poets and contributors to this site whilst
also embracing subjects close to our hearts . So with a moving forward by Phil Vasili, this latest ‘soft back’ from ‘Creative Energy’ (‘Football Pure Poetry 1 & 2’ etc; ) is a worthy and commendable offering .

In poetry form, this book covers and compares the lives of both Arthur Wharton, England’s first black professional footballer in 1886 and Paul Elliott MBE (Charlton, Chelsea etc;) almost a hundred years later in 1981. Set in verse by Daniel and accompanied by trade-make Smith-Orr illustrations, ‘A Century Apart’ offers the reader an insight into the black contribution to football and over a hunded years of black people’s experience of living in Britain.

“When the goals flew past him the insults would begin
His talent couldn’t shield him from the taunts about his skin” P.Daniel.

Peter Daniel of Westminster Archives, was virtually single-handedly responsible for externally launching the Education Through Football programme , now a regular part of life at Stamford Bridge. He championed Chelsea’s first ever black player – Paul Canonville’s story of racist abuse from fans and much more through the delivery of poetry and art workshops to children iin schools and libraries involving myself, Ted S-O top Zimbabwean poet Albert Nyathi , Michael Foreman and the Chelsea pensioners.

As a result, and now with it’s own Hub Study Support Centre, Canonville has been re-discovered and taken back into the Chelsea fold undertaking Anti-Racism workshops regularly for the club . Paul Elliot continues to represent Kick It Out internationally .

Hot on the heels of the harrowing award-winning ‘Black & Blue’
from Canonville, (Headline) this book is another timely reminder of our oft-forgotten and sinister British past, in which Arthur remains a sad but remarkable symbol of stuggle against oppression .

In Vasili’s own introductory words Wharton was ” a metaphor for both excellence and weakness”.’

The Editor – Crispin Thomas

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/paul-elliott-a-man-called-jamaica/