Sports — 14 October 2017
Hogan’s football story – Part 1

Charles Hogan reflects on his glory days of primary school football in ‘Griga

An Amandala interview with Charles Hogan, visiting from Los Angeles, California, on Monday, October 2, 2017, on 3304 Partridge Street.

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 2, 2017 —Amandala (A): Yaa, Charles Hogan is your name, right?
Charles Hogan (H): Yes.

A: First of all; can you give us some basic biographical details about yourself? Where you’re from? Your parents? I understand you are from Stann Creek. You grew up there; but were you born there? Give us some stats.

H: I was born in Stann Creek. I attended Stann Creek Methodist School, where my career in football all started. From early, in the middle sixties (1960s), when I was discovered by the principal, Mr. Bernard Longsworth, with my football talent …

A: Okay, but before you get into that. Can you give us some foundation; your parents were?

H: My parents were: my father, Gilbert Hogan; my mother was Joy Reid Hogan. We were like ten children; I was the second …

A: They were original Stann Creek residents?

H: Yes, yes.

A: Okay. The names “Reid”, “Hogan”, not that it matters, but as a matter of curiosity, being in Stann Creek, Dangriga, are you a Garifuna?

H: No. My father and all my people are from the (Belize) City. My father migrated due to the employment situation. He was a construction worker. He came from a big family too; and he was the only one who had migrated from the City.

A: Okay, so we understand the job situation, people migrating to wherever the jobs are, north, south, etc. So, you were born in Griga, attended primary school …

H: Yaa, I attended Stann Creek Methodist Primary School …

A: And then you got into football …

H: Yes. That’s where my talent started showing at a very early age.

A: You talked about your talent briefly yesterday also. And, as I said, we will get some more into that as we go along … because, as I told you, the name “Hogan” preceded your visit by a long … for years we’ve been hearing the name ringing… “Hogan”… but never in the sense of being a playing star. We took this Hogan fellow to be mainly a promoter, organizer of football, and who helped so many guys in the States with teams … he always had a Warriors team … and so forth … We always heard guys say, “When you go to L.A., look out for Hogan” … but this is the first time we are hearing about the playing side of Hogan … You’re saying you really had some stats that happened before that …

H: Well, I would say, to be a good coach, a good manager, owner, and to have guys under your wings, to follow your leadership, you have to be good; because you have to practice what you preach. Most of the time, you have to show a player what you want him to do. And you have to execute; and then, pass it on.
A: So, you were coming from a background where you knew what you were doing.
Now, in Griga, at Stann Creek Methodist Primary School, what standard were you in when you first played on the school team?

H: I think I was in Standard Six.

A: I guess, most of the time the school team was made up of the biggest boys in the school, no?

H: Yes; the senior guys.

A: Okay; and, you did stuff! What happened in that year in Standard Six that is memorable to you, and that you consider your mark of talent? …

H: Oh, the mark I left behind …

A: Okay, if you put it like that …

H: It’s … we were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time … When the first primary school competition started in Stann Creek, it was … I think it was because the late Carl Ramos saw us play an exhibition game against the Holy Ghost School; and when he saw the public interest in these little talented kids; then therefore, something happened, and they officially made it a national competition … And that’s when a lot of stars were discovered … because, to tell you the truth, it was overwhelming … packed with talent.

A: Before that, you had primary school football competitions in Stann Creek?

H: No. We were the first.

A: Okay. Because I know, and you mentioned yesterday about some old guys from Ebenezer in Belize City, like Pine Hernandez and others, who went through primary school stardom in the late fifties to early sixties, and it was already a big thing in Belize City. But you’re saying that in Stann Creek, they didn’t really have it as a (primary school) competition yet …

H: Yes; I’ve always heard about Pine, Cador, Di Mugga, the Roo …

A: Those guys were a few years ahead of you …

H: Yaa, a few years ahead … but it seems like it wasn’t nationally recorded …

A: Yaa, only Belize City had it … actually, Belize City, if you are aware of this, the Belize City (Senior) Football Competition in those days, actually had teams coming from as far away as Corozal – San Joaquin and La Victoria – taking part in the Belize City competition, which was in effect, though not in name, actually like a national football competition. They also had Cayo teams … and even from your Stann Creek District, we had teams like R.A.C. … but it was difficult to travel those long distances in those days …

H: (Laughs) When you talk about R.A.C. … those were senior teams … because, what I can remember … we, when the primary school got popular, people started noticing that the crowd we were drawing was almost bigger than the crowd that was coming out for the seniors on Sundays.
A: Okay.

H: And especially when the competition started getting hot, when they started noticing … this Methodist Mars team of young, talented, energetic …

A: So, you were in Standard Six … about what year would that be, when you all burst on the scene with some excitement?

H: (Smiles) When we burst on the scene was around ’66. Around 1966, that’s when the (primary school) game became national; and Radio Belize, they were like the television in those days …

A: They had broadcasts nationally for the (primary school) games on radio?

H: Yes, they were broadcasting; it was that hyped.

A: So, it was a National Primary School (Football) Competition at the same time, or only a Stann Creek Primary School competition?

H: No, it was coming from Belize City, on every, what … Tuesday or Thursday, when Radio Belize turned on to sports … everybody was around the radio …

A: They were broadcasting the games live? Or just reporting on the games?

H: I think they were broadcasting, I guess, after the games …

A: Well, that would be Manfred Atkins with Sports Report, giving his report on the games …

H: Yes, when the Sports Report came on, everybody would rush home by the radio to hear their name called and to hear the scores and … it was exciting … it was like our hype around that time, yo know?

A: I know we had primary school games during the week in those times, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, during the week too, not only on weekends …

H: No, no, we didn’t play on weekends; always during the week. And, you see, why the field was so crowded, was because all the schools would let out …

A: Okay, for the games … What time were the games played?

H: The games were played in the afternoon, like 2:30 p.m.

A: So, schools shut, and everybody go to the games … Alright; so, now! … Standard Six! … Stann Creek Methodist! …

H: Alright … I mean, Mr. Bernard Longsworth (our principal), you see, because, since we (our school building) was two-storey, the principal would stay on the verandah looking down on us scrimmaging in the school yard; and that’s when he was selecting players …

A: So he picked his team…

H: He picked his team from at the top of the verandah. And so he would look down and say, “This one, put him aside” … The next thing you know, we have …

A: Before that year when you were in Standard Six, was Stann Creek Methodist the champion already, or was it the first time you were going to be…

H: No, it wasn’t that organized to say who was champion; because schools would just play each other at random … but it wasn’t organized, with stats, uniforms, and referee …

A: Okay, so it was just invitational games, friendly games (up to that point).

H: Yaa, like on a Friday evening, guys would … schools would challenge each other … and then they would see who had talent, and who wasn’t talented … But not until ’66 …

A: So, this was the competition! … Tell us about it … And tell us about the role you played in it …. what was your position? …

H: Oh, mein! Alright … We started looking for guys who could handle whatever position that was vacant … and, like I would say, from way back, there were a lot of “one-foot” players … everybody was right-footed …

A: Yaa, that is always a problem …

H: Always … so, when we started taking shots with the left … myself and “Bombo” Sabal were two of the best … so we automatically dominated the left side … I went left wing … he went left middle, left-back or center left-middle … and from there it was history … a combination of “one-two punch” between me and little Bombo Sabal … they called him “Baby Tubuk.”

A: I remember Bombo playing on a BDF (senior) team some years later.

H: Ah, right; you remember Bombo!

A: Yaa, but I don’t remember Hogan; because you said you had left …

H: Yes, I had already left …

A: So, tell me about that season … that ’66 season …

H: Good … Good … That team, mein …!

(to be continued in the next issue of the Amandala)

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