In the Old Stand at Crystal Palace,
in the ground of Selhurst Park,
a haunting figure shows himself,
mostly after dark.
He’s a sad and forlorn figure,
standing six feet tall,
he’s been seen in the trainers office,
in the club-house and the hall.
Some say it’s the curse of Roland Markham,
who went by the name Ro-Mark,
he fell out with Malcolm Allison,
and put a curse on Selhurt Park.
But older fans will tell you,
that the Romark tale is silly,
as they tell the sad, sad story,
of the Palace ghost ‘ Wor Billy’.
Billy Callender was born near Newcastle,
two years after Queen Vic died,
and in the early 1920’s,
he joined the Palace side.
A tall and agile keeper,
who wore the shirt with pride,
he soon met Eva Leslie,
and she became his bride.
You’d see them everywhere together,
always hand in hand,
and she’d cheer him on, home and away,
from her seat up in the stand.
Established as first choice,
and a favourite of the crowd,
Billy felt like a man in heaven,
floating on a cloud.
‘Twas in early 1930,
as the team walked off to boos,
‘Wor Billy’ was gently pulled aside,
and told some tragic news.
Along with the loss to Brentford,
it was six – nil to the Bees,
he was informed that his dear wife Eva,
had an incurable disease.
Billy stayed devoted,
you’d see him pushing her wheel-chair,
he’d wheel her to home matches,
and to the seaside for fresh air.
Then in May of 32,
Billy was overcome with grief,
when Eva passed away,
in their home in Thornton Heath.
‘Wor Billy’ showed for training,
but he’d lost interest, in his life,
the only time he spoke,
was to tell fond stories of his wife.
He left training then one Monday,
but to his digs did not return,
and when his landlady informed the club,
they all became concerned.
It was the Palace trainer who had the task,
of breaking the sad news to the team,
cos it was him who found ‘Wor Billy’
hanging from a beam.
It was in the Palace Boardroom,
that Billy Callender took his life,
a crumpled note beside him,
saying he was gone to join his wife.
Thousands lined the streets,
when they drove Billy to his grave,
the orphan boy from Prudhoe,
had made his final save.
His ghost appeared at Selhurst,
almost one year from the day,
the air got cold, he walked around,
but words he did not say.
So if you’re ever in the Old Stand,
and you feel the air turn chilly,
don’t be too alarmed,
it’s just the ghost of our ‘Wor Billy’.