He Spreads the Word, He Flies the Flag

He Spreads the Word, He Flies the Flag

He saw Port Vale for the very first time on his grandmother’s television. But it would be 13 years later in 2001 before he would see his heroes in the flesh.

In memory of Oslo’s grandfather.

He Spreads the Word, He Flies the Flag

At first he was a tad bemused
But only one team he could choose,
His dad was Tottenham through and through
And here is your very first clue.

‘What’s this?’ he thought ‘Who can they be?’
Portsmouth? Derby? Coventry?
It certainly wasn’t Stoke or Crewe
And here is your second clue.

Then in the year Two Thousand and One
With broken leg and plaster on
He saw them win in Cardiff too,
And now you have your final clue.

And from his posts on onevalefan
We’ve found out more about this man,
His reasons why, like me and you,
He’s a Valiant man, a real true blue.

***

He remembers well that magic day
When with his grandma he did stay,
The time when ‘Vale were on the up
And knocked out ‘Spurs in the ‘Cup.

His mum and dad had stayed at home
So he had made the trip alone
To visit gran’ and watch the game
From which he’d never be the same.

In January ‘Eighty Eight,
As snow built slowly at the gate,
His grandma’s fire kept him warm
Against the chill of winter’s storm.

He was only eight when he first saw
Ray Walker and Phil Sproson score
Those magic goals to cause such pain
To a London side from White Hart Lane.

***

He’d been playing for his local team
When falling with a muffled scream,
‘Oh no!’ he thought whilst on the ground
‘I have a date in Cardiff Town’.

His flight was booked, his bags were packed,
But his doctor thought that he was daft
To travel with a broken leg,
Saying he should stay at home instead.

But nothing that the doc could say
Could change his mind to stay away,
And with the help of Brentford Man
He reached the home of *Calon Lân.

The stewards in the ‘Stadium,
The one we call Millennium,
The songs of the male voice choir,
Two football teams, both breathing fire.

His first live game since he first saw
Ray Walker and Phil Sproson score,
Those magic goals to cause such pain
To a London side from White Hart Lane.

The tension plus the hopes and fears,
The pride plus all the joyful tears,
The sea of black and white, the din,
That happy day the boat came in.

But on that day by the River Taff,
For a ‘Trophy called the Leyland Daff,
It was Brooker and Bridge-Wilkinson
Who scored the goals the day we won.

The Millennium lights were all turned down,
And everyone was homeward bound,
But the memories saved one day he’ll share
Whilst proudly saying…’I was there’.

***

On Valentine’s Day, ninety-five,
He was listening to the Beeb’s Five Live
When Guppy made that blistering run
That broke all hearts in Everton.

He spreads the word, he flies the flag,
Like every loyal Valiant lad,
And for a broader radio voice
Valiant World is now his choice.

But to keep abreast, our Valiant man,
Checks the site of onevalefan
For news and views and other links,
Plus where to get your pre match drinks.

Then in September, two thousand three,
He finally joined our family,
And from all of us it’s ‘Welcome home,
No longer need you be alone’.

***

Now he’s aware there will be those
Who will always wonder why he chose
A football team in the Shire of Stafford
To Man United from Old Trafford.

And to some it is a mystery
When he says he knows our history,
Because he’s never, ever seen a game
In the Hamil below High Lane.

Whilst he is easily understood
There is no English in his blood,
His home, The Cradle of the Ski Run,
Is in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

He was in Lillehammer when he first saw
Ray Walker and Phil Sproson score
Those magic goals to cause such pain
To that London side from White Hart Lane.

Barry Edge
Western Australia
December 10, 2003

ps *Calon Lân roughly translated
means ‘pure and happy heart’.

See also Barry’s poem ‘A Tale of Joy and Woe’

🙂

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