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The Black Hat Speaks
In homage of Allen Ginsberg but dedicated to Bolton Wanderers.
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked” Allen Ginsberg, Howl.
I saw the best minds of my generation,
(namely my own and Les Smith’s)
nearly destroyed by watching Bolton Wanderers.
I grow old I grow old. I was a Wanderers fan
Well before they won their last major trophy
Which was so long ago that I still had milk teeth
It was the 1958 FA Cup final against Man United
And I can recite all the team and the reserve striker Ralph Gubbins
If you want me to. (No one has ever so done).
Cousin Arthur sat me on his shoulder to see my first match but
All I can remember is the smell of forty thousand Brylcreemed heads and
The fug of Woodbines in Winter. And we won, 3 -1.
I have been to York and didn’t know it had Roman ruins
To Newcastle but saw no castle just St James Park
In Milan I missed the cathedral but worshipped at San Siro
Would you stand in the ice at Scunthorpe
Would you shiver in a shit hole called Port Vale?
I have been to the grimy arsed ends of Yorkshire
To Huddersfield, Leeds, to Hull and Halifax and if
t’Wanderers had played in Hell I would have gone there.
Almost certainly with Les Smith who before he
Became the renowned Bolton playwright
Was best known as a Wanderers fanatic.
We went to Chelsea and to Fulham
We never tried to hide our allegiance
We took some risks but the Wanderers were worth them.
After one game in London, with thirty skinhead supporters
We tried to push a broken down coach up the M1
The cops stopped us, so we fucked off to get pissed.
I’ve supported Bolton in every division they’ve been in
I‘ve never given up and I’ve never recanted
Not like the bastards who switched to Stretford United.
Now I live too far away to see a live game
I watch the Wanderers when I can on Sky TV
When we lose a game my guts still get knotted.
Fifty odd years a fan any regrets? No, none.
Except I miss going to the games with Les Smith.
I miss the booze, the dope, the danger, and Les too.
I was born under a Wanderers scarf