"Defoe can't play he's cup-tied" said little Tommy McGee,
As he peered over Glidden's shoulder and down on Wemberley,
The team of 31 had gathered close by a pearly gate,
To watch the semi-final and the team of 2008.
"Think they'll do what we did, promotion and the cup?"
McGee said to his team mates. "Tom will you shut up!"
Glidden spoke for everyone; they were all so very tense,
"For Christ's sake Tom the game's just started, show some common sense".
"Pompey are crap if you ask me" muttered little Tommy McGee,
The only cups in their trophy room are used to serve the tea!"
"Keep it down!" Glidden said again, the captain of the team,
"I'll give you such a hidin, all Wembley will hear you scream!"
"I hope you know", said little Tom, with a glare to shut him up,
" I'm the only Baggies player to win the league and FA cup"
"Will you lot keep it down in there we're trying to watch the game",
The team of 54 had gathered to watch it just the same,
"You've upset the nearly men" smirked Glidden to McGee,
They won the cup in 54 but d'ay do the double like we".
"Yeah but they came pretty close" WG then had to say,
"Could beat any team before them in their fifties heyday,
"And when the lads of 68 went on to win the cup,
It meant we'd won it 5 times, go on you count 'em up"
" Well then, WG" said an enquiring Tommy McGee
"How many times have Pompey won the cup at Wemberley?"
"Once in 1939, pretty poor I have to say,
But they beat the Dingles 4-1 so you have to say fair play,
But now they are much stronger, they're the favourites to beat our team
Premier against Championship? Well I suppose we can all dream
A pity we can't help our lads down there in 2008,
Is there anything we can do, you think, to change the hand of fate?"
"I reckon there is" Alan Ashman said as he walked into the room,
"You Albion greats, your playing days are just about to resume,
I've brought Jeff Astle with me from the brilliant sixties era,
He will help Roman Bednar's heading, and keep on eye on Gera,
Allen get your boots on, Kevin Phillips needs your touch,
Take some shots when possible but you won't have to help him much,
WG, up front as well, help Miller on his right,
Tel him it's better to pass the ball not always shoot on sight,
Glidden you're my captain, I need you to lead from the front,
Keep Robbo in check if necessary and get forward to help Chris Brunt,
Tommy McGee in midfield, now do you get my meaning,
When I tell you to cover Koren and the tireless Jonathan Greening?
Joe Kennedy, you come too, you need to be immense
The weakest part of the present team is our permeable defence
Now the greatest Albion team at last is ready for the fray,
The lads of 2008 need your help this famous day".
With Wembley a blaze of colour and no goals by half way through,
The fans discussed a boring half with chances that were few,
But the scent of victory pervaded the famous theatre of dreams,
The Baggies fans were to witness a win by one of its greatest teams
And back up in Baggies heaven those players left behind,
Looked into the Baggies' song chest to see what they could find,
While down below it was Bednar, who began to play so well,
King Jeff was heading for him, and the older fans could tell,
And Phillips' shot got stronger with Allen's added power,
As the striker forced a save from James on the Wembley hour.
The Baggies fans were too tense though to even raise a chant,
Their singing efforts on this day were really rather scant,
Until they heard a wave of song that came down from on high,
"The Lord's My Shepherd I'll not want he makes me down to lie…
And with this sound the Baggies fans all chorused as if one,
The Albion anthem surely would drive the Baggies on.
And in the 90th minute with extra time beckoning,
Bednar sealed his place on this day of reckoning,
He struck the ball; it hit Campbell and bounced back to his left,
From 18 yards his tired left peg hit the ball into the net.
His arms aloft he ran towards the Baggies fans and beamed,
And on the screen Jeff's face appeared or that is what it seemed,
1-0 the final score and all round is great relief,
Those Albion fans all played their part if only with belief.
With Boinging Baggies bouncing, what could Motson say?
"Promotion and cup double: is it really on in May?
You have to go to 31 to see the like again
And that was West Bromwich Albion - I'm sure you've heard the name!
And all across this green and fickle land we call Great Britain,
The glory hunting football fans with West Brom they were smitten,
"Daddy can I wear a West Bromwich shirt today
All my friends are buying them for the 17 of May
Chelsea they just suck, and Liverpool come to that
Daddy can you show me West Bromwich on the map!"
But fickleness don't sit right with true West Bromwich fans,
For much of the time our local team is among the also rans,
But the hand of fate might point to us just maybe once in a while,
Such times as rare as blue moons and a Tony Mowbray smile,
And when they do just bring it on we'll enjoy it while we can,
The memories mean much more to us than a Man United fan.
© Paul Hayward