On Sunderland docks

They riveted iron & steel

In surrounding villages

Whirred the pulley wheel

Graft and toil made

The industrial North East

Sweat and blood spilled

All with little release

But teaching minds resolved

To mould men into a team

So workers of iron & coal

Forgot the rivets & the seam

And they came to cheer on

Those men at Blue House Field

James Allen laying the seeds

Of a talented crop to yield

It was 1879

Times were hard

And life was short

But a frail nirvana could be found

Through every ticket bought

And they tore up many grounds

Before finding new abode

But it couldn't last forever

For it was at NEWCASTLE Road!

But,

From a distance came a rumble

That would soon become a roar

As Roker lay in waiting

To change all that went before

And, already

‘The Team of All the Talents’

Had 3 league titles in the bag

Tom Watson was the first in charge

Still one of the best we've ever had

And the swarm became a mass

Watching the best team in the land

Grafters on & off the pitch

All standing hand in hand

But, It was time for change

To rearrange

And settle in pastures new.

Somewhere to be loud

A place to feel proud

For the masses not the few

For Almost a century,

It would be our sacred home,

Where, through the ages,

Countless feet would roam

On the terraces, & The Clock Stand

Chanting ‘Ha’way the lads!’

Never hiding , never shying

‘This is our hallowed land!’

And victory over Liverpool

Is what the first masses saw

Jim Leslie with the only goal

To ignite the Roker Roar!

Soon after, another league title

That was number 4

And the filling in between our next

A 9-1 thrashing of a certain foe…

Our 5th came under the guidance

Of a manager of the longest term

Robert Kyle, a fixture for 23 years

Respect deserved & earned

Our fortress saw it all

Many victories & later, falls

And forged deep within foundations

Legends laid their stalls:

Charlie Thomson, defensive rock.

Buchan, always scored.

Shackleton, Ashurst & Hurley

In memory, permanently stored

Cloughie: what could have been?

63 goals from 74

But, if only he'd came to manage…

A fate we'll never get to know

The tenacious Stan Anderson

Captained the big three:

Dirty Mags & Stinky Smogs

But at Roker Park

His heart would always be

Bobby Gurney, record goal scorer

And captain fantastic, Raich Carter

Fired us to another league title

But that was just the starter

We beat Arsenal for the Charity Shield

Then brought home the FA Cup

1-0 down, to 3-1 Victor's

The epitome of ‘never give up’

The manager: Johnny Cochran

A Scot… Lured from St Mirren…

Echoes of recent history

But in a world that's less forgiving

I guess, only time has the answer

For where our fate may lie

But, for now, back to the past

Another cup to raise up high:

From a division below

Came Bobby Kerr's army of ‘73

Slaying the mighty Leeds

Forever heroes they will be

Porterfield's winning goal

Monty’s double save

Stokoe running, arms outstretched

What a performance they all gave!

Later, came the likes of

Bracewell, Bennett,

Gabbers, Gates & Rowell

And Bally, saw Roker Park out

Whilst committing one or two fouls...

But as time eroded years

The years eroded Roker

Like an old friend we said goodbye

Its time with us was over

It ended, how it started

A 1-0 victory over Liverpool

John Mullin scored the very last

Its final ever duel

99 years of history

Was soon raised to the ground

But some who lived nearby

Swore they heard a sound

Of a rumble in the distance

That became a mighty roar!

Then drifted upon a passing breeze

And Roker Park

Stood no more

Pt 2

The Stadium of Light

Bob Murray`s lasting legacy

He modernised an ailing club

And laid the road to longevity

And Soon came a record promotion

By a team of fluid motion

105 points secured

A group playing self-assured

So, ok, the mags were right

He did have a monkey's heed

But he built a team to entertain

So, ‘Cheer up Peter Reid!’

Phillips & Quinn

Get in!!!

The very best I've seen

They knew each other inside & out

A telepathic goal machine

The European Golden Shoe,

The Premier Golden Boot

The only Englishman to achieve it still

The legend of Kevin Phillips took root.

Niall Quinn scored the very first

The stadium would ever see

And in years to follow

On and off the pitch

Our saviour he would be

Between the sticks, Sorensen

Keeping teams at bay

And little Argentinian Arca

Overlapping with Micky Gray

It was a magical spell

With songs & chants

As we all put on

‘Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants!’

But we don't like things easy

So eventually it turned sour

And Relegation came again

The magic lost its power

By now, football had became

A thing of opulent refrain

Established teams could not compete

For those wanting gold laid at their feet

And we're fickle things

In times of trouble

We stamp and shout

‘Who burst our bubble!’

Bob Murray’s tenure

Came to a close

Amidst struggling times

And financial woes

But upon a white steed

An Irishman returned

With consorts of Drumaville

And a fire that still burned

He snared a fellow countryman

All moody & intense

Who made a team

Of his own image

Full of grit & no-nonsense

We were bottom of the championship

But promotion was assured

Roy Keane’s steely demeanour

Getting the best from those he’d lured

And he kept us in the Premier

But his beard grew thick & long

And this enigmatic legend

Like the glint in his eye, was gone

Ten seasons in the Premier

As many managers came & went

A league cup final under Poyet

And a ‘miracle’ escape heaven sent

We didn't want to win the league

We preferred to fight the drop

Excitement & tension to the very last

And we survived - more often than not!

O Shea, Larsson & Cattermole

All great servants to the cause

They wore their heart upon their sleeve

And that, I'll always applaud

We also had a player

Many thought past his best

Just out to fill the coffers

A little something to invest

But there was emotion & passion

Right from the start

A derby-day volley

Showed us he had heart

For his mate, little Bradley:

Every day was a hurdle

But his smile lit up the stadium

He is our mascot eternal

Jermain Defoe scored the goals

Bradley Lowery brought the light

That joyful face,

In our hearts found a place

Such bravery & fight

So let's take his inspiration

And our great history of this game

Time to inhale & re-scale

To look forward without blame

We need the flashes from the iron

And the grit from the seam

We're back at Blue House Field

Forging a brand-new team

And to all who come to join

Under our new regime

Steep yourself in what we are

In your hands you hold a dream

Jordans, Henderson & Pickford

Show what we can achieve

A team of winners can be built

If only they believe

‘The Team of All the Talents:’

Mainly local lads & Scots

Time has come full circle

A new breed to call the shots

To whoever takes the mantle

Take a glimpse at our past

Those foundations still surround us

For this club was built to last

Pt3

The smell of burgers & onions

Pave the way

A Dad & young son

Out for matchday

A sea of red & white

Drift to hallowed ground

The clicking of the turnstile

A satisfying sound

The young boy gets a hotdog

His Dad gets a pint

‘It's tradition,’ he tells him with a wink

Now everything feels right

Up the steps & into the light

Opens up a wonderful scene

The lads are warming up below

Amidst the blanket of green

The butterflies start to flutter

As he heads up to his seat

His Dad says, ‘everyone used to stand’ And he ponders about aching feet?

The noise begins to swell

The starting line-up confirmation

Then blasting from the speakers:

Dance of the Knights/Elevation. (RIP 2018)

The boy mutters under his breath

That which echoes through the ages

His Dad squeezes his hand & hopes

Life doesn't make too many changes

The Ref raises his whistle

The hairs on the boy's neck bristle

His stomach is churning

The passion is burning

For a victory he's yearning

His voice now at one with his Dad's

'C'MON! He shouts.

HA’WAY THE LADS!’

Kick off!

Copyright ©️ Stephen W Atkinson 2018

(Re-edit 2020)


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