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We were the Good Guys- the stylists, skillful, favourites,
the Fletcher Christian of Wembley’s Bounty.
They were the sloggers, the hoofers, the plodders,
the Captain Blyth that was Derby County.
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We were confident, already preparing the acceptance speech,
all the way down, right from the pub-car-park-meet in the rain.
Then we walked up Wembley Way, amidst huddles of flags
and competing chants… and we knew we were in a game.
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We tutted at the prices of the pies, wolf-whistled the cheerleaders,
sang The Liquidator at the top of our lungs
but the doubts were already sowing and growing
that we weren’t going to get to that top flight rung.
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Kamara had a chance in the very first minute; then Koumas too
when they didn’t go in, the nerves started to kick in.
Half time in the smog of the toilets, then back, fresh-throated,
right until the Derby goal was, agonisingly, in slow-motion, flicked in.
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And that was it- there was no way through,
it was enough to make you weep-
though our tears were disguised by the walk in the rain
amidst the hawkers selling off their play-off flags, on the cheap.