Act III: Downfall

When last season’s FA Cup competition started, Tottenham Hotspur & Burnley were the favourites to reach Wembley. The odds against their both getting to the Final were great. One of the dangers was they would be drawn against each other in an early round. The year before they had met in the Semi-Finals. Spurs won, & went on to win the cup. This time they both reached the Semi-Finals again, & luckily the draw kept them apart.  So the dream final of Tottenham versus Burnley had become a reality.
The Boys Book of Soccer (1963)

With such glorious victory
Comes the responsibility
Of representing the country
In the European draw;
So off they flew to gay Paris,
All practicing ‘Bonjour,’
For a second Agincourt.

While old grognards blew unfestive,
Jimmy Mcllroy grew massive
As he played the Rheims team passive,
Beat them once & then once more;
Goals beam’d live to an Eng-er-land
Praising the Lanky roar
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Foemen for the quarter-final
Were the Germans, firm & vernal,
From yer corp’ral to yer colonel
Not a soul mentioned the war;
Hundreds of noisy klaxons
Had descended on Turf Moor,
When we slotted three past Schnoor!

As Lennon played a Hamburg pub
The Clarets played their football club,
But could not grasp the pitches rub
As Blacklaw let in four;
Yet through one hundred thousand cheers
Our boys sooth’d by the roar
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Then came the trip to White Hart Lane,
A sea of mud after the rain,
It seemed the end of our great reign,
Half time we’d let in four,
With, ‘Super Spurs!’ still ringing
Burnley closed the kit room door,
Pride in tatters on the floor.

Hold to the truth! Thro’ thick & thin!
Come watch that mad come-back begin,
When every time we stuck one in
The Lane could sense one more;
The full time whistle comes too soon,
The match poised at 4-4,
With the Clarets set to score.

So, the club maintained its bubble,
Set off charging for the double,
But the dream would turn to rubble,
Rattles crashing to the floor;
Spurs stole the cup, while Ipswich nick’d
A title from Turf Moor,
O! No Nay Never No More.

Not knowing then to stick or twist,
Bob Lord sold Burnley’s catalyst,
For Mcllroy must top the list
Of players from Turf Moor,
As off he went to Stoke the hissing
Folk of Burnley, sore,
Thro’ their season tickets tore.

But Burnley still a team to fear,
Maintains its place in the top tier,
When in the English World Cup year
Brought Europe to Turf Moor,
Where both Stuttgart & Lausanne Sports
First heard the Burnley roar
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Then the lads flew out to Italy,
To face the mighty Napoli,
Where our ‘God in a green jersey,’
Stood as strong as Sycamore,
& helps the lads thro’, courtesy
Of winning at Turf Moor;
As Vesuvius did roar,

The native fans chuck’d eggs & shoes,
Their stewards punched & hurled abuse,
Police tried arresting claret-blues
& bullying Blacklaw;
But men are men in Lancashire,
Tho’ head-kicked on the floor,
Up he jumps without a flaw.

To Germany they next did fly,
Where dreams of Europe hit the sky,
One-one in Frankfurt! But the tie,
Was lost back at Turf Moor;
Beginning the depression
That thro’ town & team soon tore,
Glory days would come no more.

For on a night without a friend,
The inexplicable happened,
When relegation was the end
Of life for evermore;
Fans whispering weird versions,
As noisy as semaphore,
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

Any road, fans kept devotion
Hunting down a swift promotion,
Led by mop-haired Martin Dobson
Thro’ the fixture list we tore;
Play’d sixteen games without a loss,
Lads linking more & more,
Top flight status to restore.

Of all that team’s famous young names,
God bless our Taffy, Leighton James,
Who like an artist treats his games
With style not seen before;
Helping to win the title,
Soaking up the Longside’s roar
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More.’

With Burnley back in the top-flight
The Kippax & the Kop thought, “Shite!”
They know our boys won’t shun the fight,
Aye, they know we know the score;
The Stretford End, the old North Bank,
Leeds’ Scratching Shed & more,
All fear Burnley’s loyal core.

That day we took the Chelsea shed
Their Headhunters said we were dead,
No Claret blood that day was shed
Cockneys sprawl’d on the floor;
Scriking their eyes out as the granite
Of the Pennines roar
Thro’, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

The fans of lowly Wimbledon
Came to our stately stadium,
For the sale of Martin Dobson
Added grandeur to Turf Moor;
Where Bee-Hole, Bob Lord, Cricket Field
& Longside smugness wore,
Thought they’d cruise into round four.

But, shaming the First Division,
Respect powders to derision,
As a dodgy ref’s decision
Lost a cup tie to abhor;
Amateurs battling precision,
But the Clarets could not score
As dark clouds approach Turf Moor,

When by the drought of seventy-six
The first team could not make the mix,
The Board was running out of tricks,
So down we went once more;
But instead of getting down to fix
Things, things just worsened poor,
Dropping thro’ the next trap-door!

But up steps Billy Hamilton,
With him the Third Division won,
& soon they beat the Spurs four-one,
Then the Scousers down Turf Moor –
But the cost of all these cup runs
Was a wearying back four,
& fresh relegation sore!

In February, Eighty-Five,
I’d been about nine years alive
When memories in me survive –
My first game down Turf Moor –
When Rotherham put to the knives
By Burnley’s matador,
Seven-nil the final score.

That joy soon changed to, ‘Sack the board!’
John Bond was no new Robert Lord,
He sold the kids, a weary sword
Hover’d above Turf Moor;
That with a slice came down, & dropp’d
Us down Division Four
Where the long ball is the law.

These were the darkest days my friends,
When, as the Miners’ striking ends,
Defeat upon defeat descends
Us to the basement floor;
Where by the final, vital game
The Clarets must outscore,
Or be gone for evermore.

Remember Orient, a game
When tabloid rags & spreadsheets came
To drive a nail into our fame,
Last league match at Turf Moor!
Nerves jangling under every shot,
Hearts thumping more & more,
Neil Grewcock pops up to score!

Then a header from Ian Britton
Dismantles the demolition,
O! But what a bloody mission,
Nowt like anything before;
From death the lads had risen
To deserve our grateful roar,
Football thrilling to the core!

One hundred years since her first kicks
A club rose up, some bright phoenix,
Almost losing their football fix
Onto the pitch did pour
Full fifteen thousand in a mix,
Each one upstanding for
That defence of old Turf Moor.

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