a “personal and team story” written in 1997
(continued from page 13 of Amandala dated Tuesday, January 19, 2021.)
Five-A-Side Football (Indoor Football) was introduced to Belize by myself with the valuable assistance of Henry Young. This experiment took place at Bird’s Isle during the years 1973-1977 during which we ran five competitions. It was an exciting experiment and fans really got their money’s worth. During this period we operated a Senior Competition, a Secondary and Junior Competition, and also a Female Division.
Some of the teams were:
Senior Teams – INVADERS (Capt. Anselmo Belisle); CARNATION (Capt. S. Gentle); CHARGER (Capt. S. Bradley); PIELITE (Capt. K. Panton); BARCLAYS BANK (Capt. Albert Cattouse, Jr); HOME BUILDERS (Capt. E. Barnett); BERGER (Capt. S. Sutherland); WHITE LABEL (Capt. Maurice Jones); INDEPENDENCE (Capt. Richard Coye); SPARTANS (Capt. Michael Staine).
*** I noticed a Michael Sanchez registered with Spartans. I wonder if this is the same Mike Sanchez who is part of the exciting PUNTARAMA PRODUCTIONS CARNIVAL BAND. I must ask him at the next Puntarama meeting. What a coincidence!!!
**** There was also an especially dynamic, dangerous and powerful ARMY TEAM that provided for the fans one year, tons of colour and excitement.
Secondary School Teams – WESLEY UPPER; PRINCESS ROYAL YOUTH HOSTEL. I am sure that there were more teams, but I believe that some of my Five-A-Side records must have been misplaced.
Female Division – CONQUISTADORAS; SAADS; GUINNESS; FRONTIER; B.J.S.S.
Primary School Division – SALVATION ARMY; ST. MARTIN’S; GRACE PRIMARY SCHOOL; HOLY REDEEMER; LAKE INDEPENDENCE METHODIST; EBENEZER; ST. MARY’S; NAZARENE.
Henry and I had to discontinue this event because of lack of fan support and lack of financial sponsorship. It might be interesting to note that for the past ten years or so, Five-A-Side has been successfully played on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
I suppose that this is as good a place as any to express my thanks and gratitude to my family for their support and encouragement during the years that I was involved with Spurs. Hearing so much football talk around the house, the kids realized that this was something very important and dear to dad. They then knew where my weak spot was. And Suzette, my daughter, was no exception. She knew what the magic words to get herself out of trouble were – Spurs & San Joaquin.
Semi-Pro Football – An idea dating back to at least 1974.
On February 1st, 1974, Leonard A. Brackett chaired a meeting which was called to discuss the formation of a semi-pro football league. This was really Brackett’s baby, although I thought that it was an idea worthwhile entertaining. Brackett could not continue the effort for personal reasons, and this idea died a natural death.
Another brainstorm I had was that I was going to publish a monthly Football or Sports Magazine. There were two issues printed, FOOTBALL IN BRITISH HONDURAS, published around January 1972; and THE SPORTS SPECIAL, published April 1972. I had invaluable help from Patrick Reynolds, an ex-schoolmate of mine, and George Frazer, one time editor of The Belize Billboard.
“Football In British Honduras” had The Foreword written by Teddy Gonzalez, and this is reprinted for your information:
FOREWORD: “Football In British Honduras” is being presented to the public, especially the sporting public, with one purpose.
And that is to create an awareness of the declining football which exists today in our country. It is hoped, however, that enough interest will be generated to improve the situation.
It would appear that, among other things, most people agree that exposure to foreign competition is necessary. And this brings me to the recent tour that the Spurs Football Club made of Guatemala City.
In the face of many adversities, the Spurs Team had the guts and courage to play amateur football for a public which had long been accustomed to a more advanced performance.
Let the other teams here not criticize and be envious of this action, but use it as an example to lead them on to greater things.
Other articles in the magazine were: The Conspiracy Against Football – by Carlos Perdomo; Football In The Sun – by Raymond Lockey; Spurs In Guatemala – by Daniel Edmond; Football In B.H. – Present And Future – by Teddy Gonzalez; If I Were A Referee – by Lawrence Young; A Special Report On The San Joaquin Team – 1970/1971 National Football Champions.
Players Opinions: Louie Smith of BEC; Charles Ottley (Jim Baxter) of Independence Old Belize; Charles Nicholas (Qualify) of Independence Old Belize; Eric Kisling of Spurs; Angus Vernon of Landivar; Wallace Glenn (Rungu) of Red Stripe; Timmy Bedran of Avengers; Earl Haylock of Avengers; Percy Hewitt (Easy) of BEC; Michael Kelly (Kelo) of Spurs; and Fans – W. Lopez (Pepo), Robert Reyes, Owen Young, and Michael Myvette (Finnegan).
“The Sports Special” had articles by: The Foreword – by Teddy Gonzalez; The Davis Cup Is Only Two Years Older – by Dennis Maestre; Basketball – contributed; April Fools Day – Cycling – by Denfield McNab; A Critical View – by Manfred Atkins (sportscaster); Obituary To Allan Arthur Burgess AKA “Chulele”; Tennis: Past & Future – by Billy Musa, Sr.; Horseracing – by Jose “Chetin” Encalada; The World of Match Shooting – by Michael Rudon; The Avengers Story – contributed; Track & Field in Belize – by Lennie Jo Usher; Softball in B.H. – by Collet Gill; Sportsfishing – by Oscar Bradley.
The Foreword is also printed for your information.
FOREWORD: First it was “Football In British Honduras.” It has now graduated to “The Sports Special,” a quarterly sports magazine dedicated to the world of sports in our country. With the help of all concerned – that means those who buy the ads, those who buy the magazine, those who write the articles, those who contribute the pictures, the printers, etc. – we can make this magazine something to be proud of.
We have been too long at the period of self-assessment. It is time that we realize that if we do not move forward, we shall surely go backward. Do we want to improve or not? We had a football coach for two years, but after a year he went away discouraged and fed up. We now have a coach in track and field athletics; will he also go away in the same frame of mind?
In softball we have won the Herman Spoerri Cup for two years. Will we always be satisfied with that? Why not get a coach and look toward the Central American Region where we will have some real competition? Why not give Dorla Flowers the help and the chance which she deserves?
Let us stop with the “if’s” and the “but’s” and set goals that we truly desire, and make some positive efforts to achieve them.
Remember, if you don’t do your own thing, no one else will.
Printed for general information is The 1971/1972 Belize City Senior Football Competition Standings at March 26, 1972. Also shown is a photo of William “Bonnie” Craig, goalkeeper of the 1952/1953 Champs Preston Football Team.
(Amandala Sports Ed. Note – There is apparently a calculation error in the note above on “goals scored per game.” Perhaps that situation occurred at a different point in the season from the above standings at 26-3-72. Also, for printing clarity, the last comedic line in the photo above reads: “I beat him’- fourteen pints to six.” Our underlining.)
Unfortunately, I could not publish a third issue, and discontinued the magazine. Not enough advertisements and sponsorship, articles and information very difficult to come by, and deadlines impossible to meet. But I had fun doing the two issues that were published.
Spurs were a young and exciting team, even though I am “say so”. The fans used to say so too. When we walked thru the gates at the MCC on a Sunday for a game, there was excitement and electricity in the air. Everyone, whether they were our fans or not, knew that they would again get their money’s worth. That Spurs would appear, and play their hearts out – win or lose.
(Oliver) Rackoo Craig was my good friend, ally, and many times opponent. He was always teasing me and goading me on, and would ask, “Theo, weh you seh today?” I would put up my right hand with three fingers in the air and point at Spurs, and a big “O” for the other team. Capable and confident we were. Spurs knew what they were all about. Braggin? Maybe a wee bit!
Enter Robert Flowers a.k.a. “Robbie Dead.” Robbie, also known as “Roberto Muerto,” was my neighbor from the old Pickstock Street days. He was a grudging fan of Spurs; that is, when Independence was not playing, nor one or two of his other favorite teams. I remember that Spurs were playing a night game against Toyota Cruisers including big Hashi Ferguson. I had the strange idea that Malcolm “Mimim” Hemmans, playing for Spurs, should start as a forward. Do not know where this idea came from, but Malcolm started playing forward. This was clearly a mistake, and at the end of the first half, after Spurs were down 1-0, I made a change with Malcolm and Andrew Hulse. This was the magic that we needed.
As soon as the second half started, Spurs scored, and we were tied at 1-1. It was a brand new ball game. Robbie, who was of course rooting for Cruisers, came up to me and said, “If Spurs scores another goal, a wahn dead.” Well, maybe fifteen minutes later, Spurs blasted another one in. And Robbie flung himself to the ground on his stomach, hands and feet outstretched. No movement for maybe 30 seconds or so; DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!
Robbie knew the game of football well, was a great entertainer to the football fans. He was wiser about the ways of life than most people gave him credit for. He held no grudges, and told it like it was. I see him from time to time, and we chat a bit. Robbie “Roberto Muerto” Dead; there will never be another.
(To be continued)