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The Road To Hillsborough

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Was it Coco the clown who invaded the pitch
In the Wembley Cup Final of nineteen sixty six?
The Evertonian frolicked and leapt,
With a tug on his braces (they scarcely kept
His great trousers up), then he scampered away
From the laughing policeman, as if to say
“The people’s day is here at last
Polite spectating is a thing of the past.”
It was fun at the time, that subversive trend
How were we to know where it all would end?
MCMLXXXIX
To prevent spectators encroaching on the pitch
Police authority proposes and imposes
Bars, Spikes, Cages,
To confine our rages
We animals must be herded and harassed
Down mournful corridors we must go
Sleepwalking into Leppings Lane

At the time (1966) we thought running on the pitch was daft, rather than riotous.

Also, let me make it clear that the words ” we animals…” are ironic. Decent football fans were perhaps considered as animals by certain people in authority, and were certainly treated as such. I remember, as a visiting supporter in the Eighties, being corralled and chivvied as if I were a convicted hooligan while following my team at Aldershot – at Aldershot for heaven’s sake!

Editor Note : MCMLXVI (1966) refers to the F.A. Cup Final May 1966 ~Everton v Sheffield Wednesday Two-nil down, Everton’s Cup hopes had looked in tatters, but Trebilcock struck twice in five minutes, restoring parity and sparking wild celebrations in the stands. Eddie Cavanagh, a life-long Everton fan headed across the Wembley turf straight for Trebilcock and co. London’s Metropolitan Police set off – in pursuit clinging desperately to his coattail. Releasing his arms from the jacket he sent his pursuer tumbling to the ground. Down to his shirt and braces,a diving lunge finally brought him to the ground, earning him the tongue-in-cheek nickname, ‘The first hooligan’.

MCMLXXXIX (1989) Refers to the Hillsborough Disaster April 1989 FA Cup Semi Final Liverpool v Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, Sheffield.

We’ve published Graham’s poem here to highlights how times change and how we went from an innocent spontaneous fun act * thirty years before to the terrible, heart-breaking and clearly avoidable outcome of Hillsborough.

To see the accompanying image of Eddie and the ‘cages’ at Hillsborough visit our Facebook page and click here Football Poets on Facebook

Editor PS:
*In contract, as an 11 year old, in a time when fans often ran on the pitch to celebrate goals . I also ran on the pitch at Stamford Bridge once. It was just prior to kick off and a day after it had been announced that Jimmy Greaves was going to A.C Milan.

I ran on to ask him to stay, which I did, and ended up on film on Match Of The Day .I was politely returned to the terraces . Crispin)

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-road-to-hillsborough/