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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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“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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.