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When I was young, my Dad helped me
Save tokens up from Typhoo Tea.
I stuffed them in an envelope,
And sent them off with childlike hope.
And three weeks later, in from school,
Where I’d defeated Liverpool,
A packet stood upon its end,
Marked in red letters, “Do Not Bend.”
And fingernails scratched the seal,
And ripped the paper to reveal
The latest wizard of the ball
To go up on my bedroom wall.
These photographs on printed card
I always held in high regard.
Each measured roughly ten by ten
And circled my nocturnal den.
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I had to put them in a case,
When we moved to a different place,
And in the attic they did stay,
Forgotten up there, tucked away.
And I left school and I moved out,
And did my young man walkabout.
But when my feet no longer itched
And I my tent on firm ground pitched,
I picked the case up from my ma’s,
Complete with faded football stars.
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The case still lies up in the attic
[Of that my wife is most emphatic]
But once in quite a long, long while,
I’ll sit upon a beam and smile,
And open up the battered case,
Nostalgia etched upon my face,
And with uncommon delicacy
Go through my stars from Typhoo Tea.
The borders, once so pristine white,
Are yellowed, not through constant light,
But from the sellotape so small
That fixed them to my bedroom wall.
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There’s Terry Paine and Denis Law.
Ah, look! Here’s Ian Storey-Moore,
Martin Chivers, Georgie Best,
Bobbie, Jackie and the rest.
Derek Dougan, Ron and Wyn,
Billy Bremner with a grin!
Martin Peters, ah, just look,
Do you remember Charlie Cooke?
Roger Hunt and Goodness Sake!
There’s even one of Gary Sprake,
Big Ron Yeats and Johnny Giles,
Both with unbecoming smiles,
Bobby Tambling, Ian St. John,
The list goes on and on and on….
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And when I’m done, I close the case,
And leave their final resting place.
But before I venture down the ladder,
Somewhat wistful, somewhat sadder,
I wipe my eyes, ‘ere someone sees
My soppiness and starts to tease.
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