Category Archives: Poetry/Fiction

Raith Rovers Football Song

Raith Rovers Football Song

I love finding old songs and poetry printed in newspapers from the late 19th and early 20th century. There’s something particularly innocent and fun about them. They are the sort of thing that would be seen as embarrassing by many modern day football supporters.

I think they’re delightful.

This one was written about Raith Rovers, published in the Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian on 22nd October 1921.


Raith Rovers, as a football team, are very hard to beat;
Wee Archibald at outside left is really quite a treat.
And Jimmy Brown, the goalkeeper, can use both hands and feet
As the ball goes rolling on.

Bill Inglis is a hefty back; I’m sure you will agree
Jock Rattray, Collier, Morris make an appetising three.
And Jennings in the centre never needs to wait and see
As the ball goes rolling on.

The brothers Duncan on the right are quite a lively pair;
Dave Moyes is a clever back who makes the critics stare
And _______ like Winston Chrchill, is always here or there
As the ball goes rolling on.

Raith Rovers, as a football team, are good enough for me-
I’d rather stay a year in Fife, than ten years in Dundee-
And in the mathes yet to come more victories you’ll see
As the ball goes rolling on.


Raith Rovers vs Hamilton Academical

Raith Rovers vs Hamilton Academical – Jan 1921

Raith Rovers finished the season in an excellent third place behind champions Celtic and runners-up Rangers. This song published above is marvelous, but it’s not the only reason Raith Rovers had a great team. In May of 1920 the Fife Free Press reported on Raith’s “new training methods”. This included “The principle o training, without going into details is ball practice of an unusual but very effective kind. Hiterto ball practice has been an absentee from the training curriculum on the ground that being away from the ball for the week imparted eagerness on the Saturday.” The movement towards players at Raith Rovers not working full-time clearly appeared to have an effect also, but it’s nice to think the song and a bit of ball practice were the main drivers behind the Rovers’ success.

From the incredible:

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Poetry/Fiction


Tags: , ,

A Football Ballad: The Wellingboro Cup

A Football Ballad: The Wellingboro Cup

Confusing Victorian newspaper reports make it difficult to know if the Wellingborough Cup was a real cup competition or merely a name for the games that took place between Reading and Swindon in the late 19th Century.

This poem was published in the Reading Observer on the 5th December 1896 and details Reading’s 2-0 victory over Swindon Town at Elm Park. Swindon had beaten Reading 4-1 only a few weeks before so were clearly expecting to turn over their hosts once more.

Like many sports journalists of their era they link Reading to biscuits, their nickname being the Biscuitmen due to the large Huntley & Palmer biscuit factory that dominated the town.

The ballad was signed off M. so the identity of the poet is unknown.


When Swindon journeyed up
For the Wellingborough Cup
The hopes they entertained were far from small
Of a re-invite to sup
On some biscuits broken up,
but they didn’t, didn’t, didn’t, after all

On the splendid Reading ground,
With an eager crowd around,
The Swindon ‘lads’ did face the local men
And each combination found
That the other’s play was sound,
Tho’ they tried, and tried, and tried, and tried.

And the friendly fight was waged
While a chilling caster raged
Which blew and cut such capers with the sphere
That, howe’er the shots were gauged
It was hard to get them “caged,”
And the minders had a lighter task to clear.

When the cheerers-on of Reading,
In some “whispers,” wide and spreading,
Said “Reading, Reading, Reading, show our skill!”
How their forwards, neatly threading
Thro’ the Swindon ranks and heading
Did strive, and try, and struggle, with a will!

Thus in turn each team the other,
Their opponents, tried to smother,
Till Hadley scored for Reading number one,
And “Georgie” got another
Just to match his football brother,
And then, and there, and so, the “Town” were done!

When the Soton cracks arrive
In our busy Berkshire hive,
How the folks will flock to see, from far and near!
For Reading the will strive
To a greater win contrive
And they’ll do it, do it, do it, never fear!

For, when Swindon journeyed up,
In the Wellingborough Cup,
The hopes they entertained were rather tall,
Of a sitting down to sup
On some biscuits broken up,
Yet they didn’t, didn’t, didn’t, after all!

From the excellent British Newspaper Archive.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 31, 2018 in Poetry/Fiction


Tags: , ,