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“What Did You Do In The War?”

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 1 All we’re going to hear today
Is ‘fifty years of hurt’
But you won’t know what ‘V.D. Night’ is
That’s a total cert!
We fought them over the checkouts
We campaigned on the streets
Of all the things I’ve done for Dulwich Hamlet
This was one of my proudest feats.
Victory for Dulwich
We took on the NIMBYs and won
It really was a battle
But done without a gun.
The new ground you see today
May look tired and frayed
But it was essential
The old ground was so decayed.
This was back in the very late Eighties
Football had no reputation to lose
Post-Heysel and Hillsborough
It filtered down to my Pink & Blues.
We would get our new ground
With a Sainsburys next door
If the Council hadn’t approved it
We were dead for sure.
Crumbling cinder terracing fenced off
A few concrete steps in its place
Pre-War wiring in the wooden stand
We could disappear without trace.
Football matches come and go
Win, lose or draw
But this had to be total victory
Which was why it was our war.
Working class football fans
Went and took to the street
Far too much at stake for us
There was no way we could be beat.
Next door was a run-down waterlogged playing-field
Apparently a community cherished oasis of green
‘Much used’ for cricket by local kids
Chased off by an Alsatian once seen.
Such was the beauty of corrugated iron
By the council flats on Dog Kennel Hill
It was compared to the fields of Tuscany
Which took some descriptive skill.
Let’s not forget the mythical gingko trees
And colonies of bats at night
Their campaign full of half-truths and lies
Hardly whiter-than-white.
We took them on and beat them
When oblivion was staring us in the face
Making sure of the future of The Hamlet
Champion Hill our rightful place.
Continuing the legacy of ‘Pa’ Wilson
His spirit will live on
Otherwise the memory of Edgar Kail
And other greats would have gone.
Every single 30th of July
Twenty-six years since that night
I stop a moment to reflect
How desperate was our plight.
To ninety-seven years of history
We would have said goodbye
My life would have been over
I’d have done more than just cry.
People say jokingly
Cut me I’ll bleed Pink & Blue
It’s just ordinary claret red
But the sentiment is true.
I’m just a run-of-the-mill supporter
Who helps his club in any way I can
Doing little bits here and there
As would any other fan.
The problem is my club’s caused a life of crisis
Much more worry than hope
But looking on the plus side
The rare good times help me cope.
I’ve survived Milsted, Dye and McCormack
They’ve all been called ‘spivs’ and worse
Sometimes being too involved
Can be a bit of a curse.
Worrying about the future
Instead of obliviously drinking a craft ale can
Sunning it at the Car Park End
Topping up your tan.
Just turning up a five to three
A keyboard warrior at home
Yet you’re proper hard-core Dulwich
With a Pink & Blue garden gnome.
I envy your innocence
Thinking everything’s hunky-dory
Blind to what goes on behind the scenes
Which is a totally different story.
You aren’t even aware
Of how we took them on and won
All you do is turn up for the match
Having your bit of fun.
If we’d have lost I’d be in prison
Having done the dirty deed
Bumping off those locals
Who killed my club when in need.
Luckily it never happened
Currently Dulwich Hamlet thrive
Today is the 30th of July
The day we kept our Football Club alive.

6

Notes

Today is the 30th of July, remembered for England’s 1966 World Cup win. In 1990, on the same, Dulwich Hamlet received planning permission for their current ground. If it had been turned down the club would have gone out of existence. It’s recalled by older fans like me as ‘VD Night’: Victory for Dulwich!

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/what-did-you-do-in-the-war/