Act I: Warriors

All through the season in the North of England, football enthusiasts, some call them fanatics, subscribe some few pence a week to clubs, & today every big railway company in the land will be running special trains into the London termini, all full of people speaking strange tongues, & all wearing caps & many of them decked in the colours of the rival clubs. Whichever way it goes, Lancashire will hold t’fitba Cup for the year & that is something that those who visit the Palace this afternoon will tell the rest of the world in what will sound a strange & wonderful dialect to the average Cockney.
Daily Mirror (25-04-1914)

In the land o’ pit & spindle,
West o’ Leeds & south o’ Kendal,
‘Neath the lazy slopes o’ Pendle
In the hazy days of yore,
Charlie MacKintyre pings a
Lovely pass across the floor,
Albert Higginson must score!

Sends a shot across the cobbles,
Hits a kerb, ball ups & bobbles,
Goalie flounders as it wobbles
In off Mrs Wade’s front door,
All the happy lads & lasses,
Smiling as the miners score,
Sang, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Tho’ Burnley was good rugby ground,
A better game it seem’d was found
To raise the local glory sound;
As proud, young sportsmen score,
How swiftly Burnley’s rugby clubs
Switch codes to full explore
Football’s flowering rapport.

With Olympia & Rangers
Were the Trinity, the Ramblers,
Hapton, Spring Hill & the Wanderers,
Haggate & Excelsior;
But then the true eponymous
That played upon Turf Moor
Growing harder to ignore!

Just a stone’s throw from the center
& an ha’penny to enter
The fine grandstand where a venter
Can anxieties outpour,
Legs feeling every tackle’s crunch,
Hearts missing beats & more
When the lads were set to score.

On swift heels has Burnley FC
Absorb’d the town’s hegemony,
Sending scouts throughout the country,
Players well provided for,
Producing those professionals
True amateurs abhor,
For the fans prefer top-drawer.

When McGregor of the Villa
Brought a dozen clubs together,
Mister Armistead of Brunshaw
Helps to form the football core;
Whom, on the train from Manchester,
As brown ale bottles pour,
Sang, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Our lot mixed it up wi’ Accrington,
Preston, Darwen & Everton
Wolves, Bolton & the Albion,
With games & goals galore;
When every few new seasons
League men add a team of four,
Goal posts sprung from shore to shore.

The Board now searches to unearth
A manager of local birth,
With pedigree of proven worth,
Mind steep’d in footy lore;
Approaches Stanley’s John Howarth,
Who answers with firm jaw,
‘I’m the man to run Turf Moor.’

John Howarth brought in Bert Freeman,
His full backs; Halley, Boyle, Watson;
With goal kept by Jerry Dawson;
From the Star Stand’s posh décor
Folk watched a famous cup run,
Thro’ the polished turnstiles pour,
To electrical Turf Moor;

For by far the most exciting,
When the kick-offs felt like fighting
With our wild daydreams alighting
As the team pushed up to score;
The glory of the FA cup,
The magic of its roar
& ‘No Nay Never No More…’

With a semifinal sighted
We took on the Man United
As a fierce snow flurry flighted,
‘Cross the town to cloak Turf Moor;
A perfect pass invited,
A defender on the floor,
Arthur Ogden’s set to score.

So the Burnley boys did blast one,
But that goal it was the last one,
For the ref had pull’d a fast one,
Match abandoned! Gutted! Sore!
Of course we lost the rematch
When that bloody snow did thaw,
O! No Nay Never No More!

As our Halley, Boyle & Watson,
Bamford, Mosscrop, Taylor, Hodgson,
Nesbitt, Lindley & Bert Freeman
Gave opponents the what for;
We embarked upon a cup run
Like we’d never seen before
At a tantalized Turf Moor.

In the semi-final frantic
Striding like a wild gigantic,
Our Boyle unleashes lightning kick
Net shaking to the score;
& when the whistle blows the crowd,
Lifting him from the floor,
Sang, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

All Burnley was a phantom town,
For everyone had set off down
To see the Palace & the Crown
On the parliament’ry tour,
& as the match kicked off the ground
Was rafter packed & more,
For the final’s fiery war!

Dowsing Scousers with his sprinkler
Our Bert Freeman shot a twinkler,
Couldn’t take a master thinker,
Then, to see the final score;
The Reds lay siege until the jingling
Whistle starts the soar
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Our proudest captain, Tommy Boyle,
Splash’d head-to-toe in dust & soil,
Went up to meet the upmost royal,
His trophy set in store;
Then hoisted high the handles,
Greatest glory to the fore,
Only now & evermore.

By the time the town had got home,
They’d been up all night & then some,
But still made a famous welcome
From the Mitre to Turf Moor;
As little Bob Lord saw the cup
His heart was brimming oer,
To love Burnley, then, he swore.

Now being England’s champs them sent
An invite from the continent,
To strut their stuff, how innocent,
Those sunny days before,
The whole of Europe marching went
Into an unknown war,
To the mud, the blood & gore.

So, having batter’d Berlin’s best
Burnley buzz’d next to Budapest,
To battle Celtic in a test
That’s gone down in folklore,
The embryonical contest,
Full fifty years before,
Europe’s champions made war.

With pass & dribble, shout & shot,
Our Saxon flair oyning the Scot,
But no advantage there was got,
Agreein’ an encore,
To Lancashire green Hoops did trot,
To beat us down Turf Moor,
But by then had come the War.

The cup from Budapest was theirs,
But soon about it no-one cares,
Caught up in awful globe-affairs,
From Prague to Bangalore,
Both Lanky Lad & Weegie shares
Bloodshed the priests abhor,
Just as if they lived next door.

As the terraces grew silent
All the land found fresh excitement,
As the wealthy & the violent
Dragg’d the world into their war;
Suck’d from Austria & Cumbria,
Kiev & Baltimore –
& not one Christmas, but four!

With Kitchener the manager,
All the team muck’d in together,
But would lose the lofty Lorrimer
To a bullet in the jaw;
While in the trenches Burnley’s Pals,
To ease their freezing core,
Sang, ‘No, Nay, Never, No More…’

But, O, that swirl of empires caught
The Burnley folk, a town distraught
Its fair young flowers died & fought
The callous cost of war
Poor Hodgson, Brown & Pickering
No more shall hear the roar
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

When final bloody tears are shed
Then towns are left to count the dead,
How empty looked the Scrattin’ Shed
First friendlies down Turf Moor;
Torpedoes back to meaty bread,
Old rituals restore,
Half-time Bovrils like before.

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