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Blonde Grecian god – poised and posed supremely,
But composed as he moved around in his unique way.
Innate anticipation to intercept, then distribute with aim
So accurate – remember the pass that found Hurst; no
Hopeful hoof upfield. A lad from East London, the two
Alfs – Garnett and Ramsey – revered his presence in
Cockney claret and national lilywhite. A man’s man.
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Accused of theft in a Colombian hotel, he rose above
It all with dignity, and proved to the world a master of
Timing ‘gainst the brilliant Brazillians; embracing Pele
In the fierce sunlight – an iconic image – great talents
United by the beautiful game. It wasn’t all roses at home
In a team that flattered to decieve year on year. Like
Banks, he never gained that Championship medal.
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Sent home from Blackpool, it proved he was mortal –
Even he could stumble, sometimes. It just made his
Supremacy all the more striking. Once as stand-in
Goalie he saved a Semi Final penalty, beaten only by
The rebound. But it couldn’t hold forever, despite his
Stature, his status. Moving across Town his swansong
Came at the Cottage and a Wembley Cup return trip.
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His later years were on the margins of the sport that
Made him a hero. A bit here, a bit there – nothing lasting;
And so cruelly, the athletic leader – the only Englishman
To raise the World Cup high – was struck down in his
Fifties by cancer, though even to the last he made no
Fuss about it – a man who often concealed his inner
Self; mourned by many, his a noblility borne of humility.