Alf Tupper - Poet of the Track

by Adrian Hogan

The splat of The Rover on lino
- Thursday’s breakfast serials.
Eccentric, rebellious, lone
fighters of lost causes. Alf Tupper,
my favourite. All week I’d wonder,

had he run, plimmyless, belly full
of chips, toes in tatters, been spiked
in sight of glory by Chinless Charles
double-barrelled born to win?
Or had Alf run in hobnailed boots

after a rivetting forty hours straight
thrashing metal into shape
saving the gasworks, welding
machines to life with the flame
of his oxy-acetylene torch?

My dad was an Alf lacking
the gift of Bannister legs
and lungs. But would Tupper
have coped with a wife, six kids
and every day the same cliff-hanger?

We dont need another hero

By Kevin Raymond

As Superman & Batman
Came to Blighty shores
Of Metropolis & Gotham
Stories by the score
We dont need another hero
Shouted all the kids
Our hero is a keeper
His name is Bernard Briggs

Catwoman & Elastic lad?
What kind of names are those
Do they play football
Like our hero does?
Are they gentleman of five feet ten
With hands that are so big
We dont need another hero
Cos we've got Bernard Briggs

The Hotspur or The Hornet
Which one I'm not sure
Gave to us this hero
So big, so strong & pure.
Never got a red card
For giving out a dig
We dont need another hero
Cos we've got Bernard Briggs

We loved the kind of saves he made
We loved the way he spoke
Like Alf Tupper before him
An ordinary working bloke
Sometimes he was well off
Sometimes on the skids
We dont need another hero
Cos we've got Bernard Briggs

I think he was a scrap man
Who played the game part time
He never went to night clubs
He always toed the line
He never owned a mansion
Just a landlady and digs
We dont need another hero
Cos we've got Bernard Briggs

Alf Tupper

By Kevin Raymond

There was a man, who some say ran
For pleasure pure & sweet
Whatever type of weather
He was there pounding the streets

At the crack of dawn, he washed & yawned
Then put on his running shoes
He then set off on his training run
As the locals still did snooze

He never ran for money
As an amateur he stayed
He ran for fun to beat the best
To win was all he craved

Never ever cheated
No sarcastic quips
The secret of this mans success?
Good old fish'n chips

In snooty clubs where harriers
Thought they were the best
He raced them to the finish line
Then beat them like the rest

Working class men aren't runners
We used to say at school
But Alf Tupper changed all that
As he said himself  "I run em all !"

As halcyon days and Alfs kind ways
Are but a distant dream
Comic hero's were our inspiration
They inspired us to succeed!

Working class men & women
That was who we knew
who ran at Battersea Park running track
No posh athletics clubs thank you

We were Alf, not Claude or Ralph
Who had expensive spikes
A pair of shorts and plimsolls
Was what we wore on training hikes!

So cheers Alf mate!
You made us great
A role model for those
Who wanted to win so much it hurt
"I run em all!" our favourite prose!