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Statue In The Mist – Super Sam Revisited

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 born when we were verging on the eve of World War One
at fourteen he was working down the mine
and while so many years have passed since first he ventured South
Sam Bartram’s still a legend in his time –
in knee length shorts with stripy socks and those misshapen hands
in classic old green polo neck and cap
he never played for England but still they claim with pride
how Sam put Charlton firmly on the map –
in three successive seasons Sam’s exploits helped his team
rise three leagues up to reach Division One
when War broke out the RAF saw Bartram teach P.T
to interrupt the glory he’d begun –

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 and some will judge the best these days by titles and by cups
the honours and the goals that some ‘greats’ score
they never stopped to tally all those countless saves he made
but Bartram’s name will live for ever more –
and others speak of loyalty but few can understand
the passion that he brought to evr’y game
the moments shared with fans who gazed in awe behind his goal
is something we will never see again –
for twenty one long seasons in that awesome Valley home
before those mighty banks of crowds long gone
the frame of Sam would fill the goal and barely miss a match
for Addicks fans the memories will go on –
the club’s own record holder he – who played til forty-two
the games he played six hundred-twenty three
from balls that burst in Finals to a sports shop near the ground
he surely will go down in history –

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 and some recall the time the fog rolled thick across the field
when Sam could neither see nor hear a sound
til rescued by a ‘copper’ from that long abandoned game
with teams and fans all long gone from the ground!*
but Sam was so much more than just a giant on the pitch
to mighty forwards he so oft’ denied
four finals in a row he played against the very best
the heart and soul of his beloved side –

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 imposing and commanding in old and sewn-up gloves
sheer bravery was something he’d not lack
athletic as the team he loved and clung to all his life
reliable un-flinching at the back –
and often from his area he’d run to meet the ball
then ‘doff’ his cap revealing such red hair
then nonchalantly jump above the prowling forward’s leap
to elegantly nod that danger clear –

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 flamboyant and formidable that graceful striking pose
like ‘Boy’s Own’ keepers leaping off the page
a look-alike Burt Lancaster when flying in ‘Trapeze’
a superstar in this or any age –
and if there is a heaven then he’s there between the sticks
for when it came to keepers there’s none better
and I can see him peering now through clouds to spot that ball
with trusty hands and fifties roll-neck sweater –

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 for legends come and legends go like players in his time
but Sam refused or longed to leave the party
a bubble card from then recalls how “Charton without Sam –
was just like having Laurel without Hardy!
and I suppose for some he’s but a blur in black and white
an image from a time that fades so fast
a gentleman and role model a statue in the mist
but long may his great name and glory last

Apologies for re-printing this , before you all scream at this editorial abuse of my position! Young Kevin Raymnd reminded me of it in his poem today and I felt it needed to be part of our current goal-keeping series . Written in 2005 especially For Moira Bartram & Charlton fans everywhere, it was published by Athletic in their wonderful illustrated centenary book. Some up-dated factual notes:

In June 2005 the statue of the legendary ‘keeper Sam Bartam, to which countless fans contributed financially, was finally unveiled at The Valley. I was lucky enough to be invited to The Valley to read this in Sam’s honour to his daughter Moira who had been flown in espeically from Canada. .

* The famous ‘burst- ball incident’ occured during the Derby County v Charton Cup Final at Wenbley 1946, when, following a Derby shot ,the ball burst in mid air and landed at Sam’s feet! On retiring Sam ran a sports shop close to the ground.

** During a game against Chelsea, when thick fog made visibility impossible, Sam pattrolled his line faithfully assuming his team were keeping the Pensioners in their own half.Unbeknown to Sam, the game had been abandoned fifteen minutes earlier… and he was finally discovered alone on the pitch!

***Quote taken from a highly collectable 1950’s Chix Bubble Gum card!

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/statue-in-the-mist-super-sam-revisited/