Duke of Edinburgh

In 2000 the Lord’s Taverners celebrated their 50th anniversary and I was asked to speak at a dinner in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh in which I took the rise out of him for never recognising me.

When I was given my brief for this evening by our Chief Executive, Mark Williams, he told me we were roasting the 12th man, which is all a bit difficult really, and many of you may feel I look a bit out of place on this top table.

You may also feel that our Guest of Honour and I have little in common. Well, you’d be wrong. I mean, only last Saturday I was up the Palace. And we had a very good home win against Tranmere.

I first met the 12th man 17 years ago and I’ve met him about a dozen times since. Now it would be fair to say that all those meetings have been far more memorable for me than they appear to have been for him.

So, with this in mind I’ve written this song. Well it would have been a song but the music hasn’t turned up. Lloyd Webber and deadlines are not twin brothers. Do you find that, Tim? Always lets you down.

So now it’s a poem and I’ve called it, with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Tim Rice and, by the time I’ve finished, probably everyone else in the room, I’ve called this

'The Duke and I'

I’d like to test our 12th man’s memory
We first met back in 1983
He knew Frankie Howerd and Frank Carson
He’d even heard of Nicholas Parsons
But he didn’t recognise me

The Variety Club is another good cause
I spoke in his honour and drew some applause
And as he started to go
He did say “Cheerio”
But I don’t think he knew who I was

I went to Windsor, which is a bit of a hike
Too far to go on me bike
I commentated after tea
Then as he walked by me
I heard him say “who’s that bloke on the mike?”

Soon after, though I was full of flu
I struggled out to another Taverners do
I bided my time
As he walked down the line
He looked at me and said “who are you?”

Last year at a garden partee
I said you must remember me
Six o Six on Radio 5
With Wogan on live?
He said “I’m sorry. I never watch TV”

I said “at the risk of being a bore
I’ve just been on Radio 4”
He said “I’ve thought long and well
But you just don’t ring a bell”
He said “Perhaps I should get out a bit more?”

Well, he’s been a Tav for all our lifespan
So he’s got 50 years in the can
(I said to my lady) to us he’s been vital
And it’s an honourable title
Then I found out I’d been her 12th man

His support for us has gone on and on
All these years – where have they all gone?
When he’s spoken he’s been funny
And he’s helped us raise even more money
Than you could spend out shopping with Elton John

It’s thanks to him the Tavs have never been on the skids
At auctions he’s led us to make silly bids
For when he’s turned up at a dinner
He’s been a real winner
And he’s even sent round the kids

A Greek friend last week I had to rebuke
I said “his popularity isn’t a fluke
And while we might well give in
On the Marbles of Elgin
We’d like to hang on to the Duke”

Now I don’t wish to appear flip
In case my ear he should clip
But it seems to me
And my fellow Trustees
He’s given our charity a great Philip

Well I’m so glad we’ve all had this chat
And my little poem has not fallen too flat
I hope, sir, that you are glad you came
And just remember the name
It’s Bob Bevan - but you can call me “Cat”

There’s a post script

So as I come to the end of my shift
And into the night we all drift
I know, sir, you’ve got the use of a car
And, as neither of us live far
I suppose there’s no chance of a lift?

Copyright: Bob “the Cat” Bevan MBE 2000

Grumpy old goalies


Bob 'The Cat' Bevan