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With your exotic name (you were born in Milan),
Maggie was at number ten when you began.
Our team was bottom of division four.
We dreamed of mid table obscurity – you gave us much more.
“Pembo to feet, Pembo to feet”.
The free-kick went in and we avoided defeat.
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Suddenly there was skill and goals galore.
When Platty got the ball we knew he’d score.
Watched him plant a scissor kick from the edge of the “D”,
While queueing for bovril and a hot cup of tea.
We started to believe. We started to dream.
We were proud of your talent. We were proud of our team.
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Then promotion, relegation, promotion again – twice
That May Day at Wembley – play-off victory. Nice.
League games with the Black Cats. The Blues. And with Leeds.
Wolves. Palace. Bolton. Beating City. Oh please!
Heady days. Brilliant memories. The football so fine.
Not forgetting Shaun Smith from the half way line.
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So farewell then Dario. It’s emotional. It’s the end.
As you head off into the boardroom at the Railway End.
But there’s hope. There’s a glimmer – you’ll still be around.
So please pass on what you’ve learnt from the training ground.
Thanks for the memories, so sweet, so sublime.
A quarter of a century is a real long time.