Alistair Wilkinson Author
Alistair WilkinsonAuthor

April and May 1998

Twin towers sat under cloudy skies and stared down at thousands
of tiny bodies on the Way and decked in black and white.
It was on shirts and jackets, on wigs and painted faces.

It was in the shadows
of wrinkled cheeks created by smiles on weathered faces.

We were here. This was ours.

It still is.

The towers waited, just like us, for the sun to shine.
It did. We knew it would. The first time, when the
goal was golden, outside of the boot, flicked in with
the speed of thought. I'm there now. I'm there every day

the memories diamond bright, whispering their delight.
Nostalgia kills but it is a sweet, sweet suffering that lingers
as memories' fingers sweep across minds, feathering a nest
of opiate sweetness. I willingly fall into it, sleep in its folds.

Black and Burnett at my side, in my head, in black and white
and just little bit of brand new Dixon-red. And Groves with a
shield above his head. Perfect. All the nerves
had been spent in Burnley, that fairytale night on the Moor,


the race back to Town, horns blaring on Ms 62 and 180 and
through the streets of Great Grimsby, past pubs and clubs,
bubbles of bright excitement shining into the night. Belief,
as stark as black and white: we do, we don't, we can't, we have,
flickers through minds and nervous hands that suddenly raise,
through voices that suddenly shout

We're going...

We're going...

We can't believe it. We can.

We're going! For the first time. The best time.

And then we're going again. This morning I saw that tackle
from Peschisolido and I just know as I watch him go that we'll
be there again.
And Handyside is okay...
And Northampton beat Rovers...
And Donovan didn't get one the first time...
And again we knew, even when we missed that pen, even
in that six minutes when Davison grew. We knew.
Even if our hammering hearts didn't know. We knew.

The second time that Groves, ten feet tall and tiny, held aloft a trophy

smaller than the shield but better. This was the best.

This time, the second time.

I couldn't see it. I stood on my seat and broke it
and we laughed and we knew that it would never be this good

Two decades later and I wonder how many, like my own kids,
have been raised on VHS and DVDs of heroes that must feel
like myth, of legends lost in the mist of Sky commentary. How
many went on that first time with tight pockets stuffed with memories
of those who couldn't come, who had lived and breathed
black and white and not made it? How many, before mobiles and
pocket cameras, treasured every moment, stored every memory
of sight and sound to tell to the future? How many cried?
How many have since died?

How long will the memories live?

Twin towers in sunshine at the end of the Way, lost in nostalgia
and bright and clear as day.
They are delicious memories, free from the pain. Perfect.

And perfection never dies and only gets better with sweet lies.


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