The Ballad of 17th July 2002

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Ooooooooooohhhhhhhh………….
‘Twas on a balmy summer’s night, the 17th of July,
Shels were playing Hibernians beneath the Maltese sky,
And as the team emerged onto Ta Qali’s pleasant ground,
The Aertel man at Easter Road looked nervously around.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 The referee was Belgian, though he wasn’t big and fat,
He yellow-carded Ollie Cahill, which irritated Pat.
But that was soon forgotten with six minutes on the clock,
As Stuart Byrne sublimely sent the Hibs fans into shock.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Ollie Cahill had got the ball, still smarting from the card,
His pinpoint cross caught all the Maltese players off their guard.
And Peter Beardsley, sorry, Stuart Byrne stuck out his head,
Muscat flailed helplessly and Shelbourne were ahead.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 But Hibs were made of sterner stuff and almost from the start,
Ciantar’s lovely weighted cross pulled our defence apart.
Chukunyere slotted home as our lads all stood still,
Though the Aertel man in Edinburgh still thought it was nil-nil.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 After that both Shels and Hibs had good spells of possession,
We mainly played in their half but could not make an impression.
But then, with thirty-seven minutes gone, they won a free,
And deadly Ciantar licked his lips and rubbed his palms with glee.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 He took a shot and elegantly bent it past the wall.
Stevie Williams only got a hand onto the ball,
He pushed the ball onto the post, but no defender cleared,
And Pulis tapped the rebound home and all the home crowd cheered.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 And, as the evening shadows grew, the Maltese pushed us back,
Which meant that we did not have many chances to attack.
The half-time whistle sounded, giving Pat time to regroup,
As the Aertel man in Easter Road sipped on his chicken soup.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 And when the second half began, our heroes were inspired,
The Maltesers started melting as we did what was required.
Trevor worked his socks off and he nearly found the net,
Then tirelessly set up the goal that Shels fans won’t forget.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Down the left he scampered with the ball stuck to his feet,
Then swung it in the centre with trajectory so sweet,
And big Jim Gannon, with his zimmer-frame, just caught it right
And slotted home the equaliser, much to our delight.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Hibs brought on their substitutes to try and score a third,
But Shels held out and all the Maltese efforts were deterred.
And when the final whistle blew, ‘twas cause for celebration,
Two away goals giving us a platform for salvation.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 But all our efforts are for nothing if we mess it up,
And lose at home this Wednesday to be put out of the Cup,
So lets all get behind the lads and give the Tolka roar,
And, if you see the Aertel man, remind him of the score.



Aertel, the Irish equivalent of Ceefax had Shels down as playing Hibernians of Scotland, not Malta!
We lost the home leg 1-0. Their only attack. 90 mins. Probably the worst night of my life.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-ballad-of-17th-july-2002/