BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 28, 2020– As promised a couple weeks ago in these pages, today we begin sharing a flashback to football in late 1960s-70s Belize through the eyes of then Spurs F.C. manager/coach/sponsor, Theodore “Teddy” Gonzalez, who now resides in Florida, USA, and has been sharing with us a trove of documents he has kept from those days of his intimate involvement with football in Belize.
Teddy recently informed us that just over a couple decades ago, “at a request made by Finnegan,” he began writing what turned out to be his “personal and team story” as he had experienced it. He said he is not sure if it “was ever used,” but he was sharing it with us now; and with no sports occurring in Belize due to Covid-19 restrictions, we thought it a good time to reflect on the past, to document some more of our football history, and perhaps gain some insights into matters that were not clear then, and a better perspective on problems we may be currently experiencing in football.
Teddy also revealed that in 1972 he had produced two editions of what he hoped would have been a quarterly sports magazine. At a later date, we plan to share some of the articles appearing in those two magazine issues, which he called “Football in British Honduras,” published in January 1972, and “The Sports Special,” published in April 1972.
Below, we begin Teddy’s “personal and team story” which he wrote in 1997 and which is titled below as “Spurs Football Club and Belize Football History.” As much as possible, we have refrained from any Editing of the text; but we reserve the right to make a comment or clarification at the end of each piece.
Spurs Football Club and Belize Football History
by Teddy Gonzalez – manager/coach/sponsor, Spurs FC
May 30, 1997
We old members of The Spurs Football Club talk about it all the time; commenting that so few people know anything about the Spurs Team – the Mighty Spurs of the early 1970s. Spurs were good, and they brought many memorable Sunday evenings to the Belizean football public.
I spoke to my friend Baila Yearwood at the 1996 Miami Carnival, and as usual before we parted, we had to reminisce about Spurs. Why not? It was a period in the lives of the Spurs football players, including myself, which left us with so many fond memories. I trust that I was able to make a positive impact on the Spurs members and an impact which would transcend the boundaries of the game of football.
Baila suggested that I write a few words about Spurs and offer it to a local newspaper and hopefully it would be printed. This is the same request of Rupert Anderson whom I see frequently at Belizean functions in Miami. And also that of Ronald Hulse whom I also visit with whenever I go to San Ignacio. Maybe I am using Baila, Rupert and Ronald as an excuse, and I am only trying to satisfy my own vanity. Be that as it may, this is my story:
I spent nine years of my life being involved in Belizean football. And I mean totally involved. From the time I started out as a member of The Gases Football Team, which was involved in the commercial or inter-office league in Belize City around 1964, to when I quit around 1973. The initial Gases Team had players such as Rudy McKoy, Joe Mena, Javier Castellanos, Carrots Haylock, Maclovio Alamilla, and some of the original members of The Spurs Team who at that time were just finishing high school.
Spurs started out as a Junior team and eventually became one of the top Senior teams of its time. We beat all the best teams in the country on one occasion or another. We travelled to all the out districts plus internationally to Melchor de Menchos and Guatemala City, also to Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The only team, I believe, that we did not defeat was Landivar; the best we did was to draw with them. As a matter of fact, for quite a few years, Spurs was one of the teams to beat.
We had our good points and our bad; like many people, somewhat less than perfect. There were players who started with Spurs from their high school days and stayed with us until the end; such as Andrew and Ronald Hulse, Eric Kisling Jr., Oscar Ramos, Philip Guild, Michael Kelly, Mundo Myvette, and many others.
There were others who came to the team later on, and also gave us their all. And there were some who came for only a season. I truly believe that our relationship, however short it was, left team and players the better off for having met and worked together.
We had many players in our nine years, and I will attempt to name them all. I owe them that much. Most of them gave me their heart and soul. And for this commitment and loyalty I am truly grateful and forever indebted. Let it not be said that I gave any less than I received. My feelings for my players were and are still so deep, that if there were a Football Heaven, all the Spurs players would definitely be there, seated at the right hand of The Father.
Roster of Spurs Players:
Rupert “Canalete” Anderson; Frederick “Doc” Archer; Moises Arias; “Bangi”; Earl Barnett; Anselmo Belisle; Carlton Bladen; Benson Byron Bodden; Lennox Bodden; “Bones”; Roland “Ratta” Bood; Fred Bucknor; George Bovell; Clinton Burgess; Noel Castillo (R.I.P.); Albert Cattouse Jr.; William Clarke; Alden “Nine” Ebanks; Oliver Estelle; Noel Ferguson; Lou Gibson; Henry Gordon Jr.; Lionel Gordon; Joel Guild; Philip Guild; Arturo Oswaldo Guitty Mena; Vallan Haylock; Malcolm “Mimin” Hemmans; Cecil Hernandez; Andrew Hulse; Ronald Hulse; Russell “Cheesie” Hulse; Michael “Kelo” Kelly; Eric “Di Ox” Kisling Jr.; Michael Leslie; Robert Leslie; Raymond “London, England” Lockey; Roy Lord; Juanito Mazariego; Walter MacFarlen; Orlando McKenzie; Ben McKoy; Edmund “Speedy” McKoy; Franz Menzies (R.I.P.); Leslie Middleton; Alvin Miller; Robert “Mugger” Moguel; Michael Moody; Juan Morales; Raymundo “Mundo” Myvette; Cleveland Morter; Simon Nunez; Percival Pandy; Mario “Tashi” Pariente (R.I.P.); “Tequala” Sexy Parra; Steve Perrera; Nick Pollard Jr.; Oscar Ramos; Sidney Robinson; Salvador “Chamba” Rivero; Ernan Rosado; Gil Josue “Congolon” Rodriguez; Michael Rushford; Billy Smith; John Smith; Louie Smith; Everett Staine; Wilmore Staine; Luis Thompson; Michael Usher; Robert Usher; Paul Clifton Wade; Nayo Waight; Glenford “Borea” Wagner; Tilbert Willoughby (R.I.P.); Henry “Baila” Yearwood Jr.
Over the years we had the good fortune to also work with the following coaches: Everett Staine; Raymond Lockey; “Sweeta” Allen; Juan Morales; Tito Castro.
This might be a good time and place as any, to confess to all, that coaching was never my forte. I served as a coach, yes, for many years. I studied the sport, read books, and taught myself the game, and as a result I believe that I functioned as a very successful coach. My forte was management. I was a firm believer in discipline, teamwork, organization, and perseverance.
Needless to say, my job as a coach, and manager, was made easier because I had the good fortune to work and be associated with an excellent bunch of players. Very talented individuals and players, who themselves by and large realized the value of discipline and teamwork.
To give you an idea of the type of organization that was The Spurs Football Club, and the type of relationship that existed between players and management, I include a copy of a letter from player Sidney Robinson, written around November 1970, just prior to the 1970/71 Football Season:
I would like to inform you, that I will no longer be able to play with Spurs this coming season. The reason is that I will be transferred to Corozal Town once more. And as I will not be able to practice with the team, it would make no sense playing with you this season.
Well, I guess this is all I can say at the present; and tell the team I wish them lots of luck in this coming season, and that I hope they win. I will be returning your equipment with Boiler. Thanks for everything.
Your friend, Sidney.
(To be continued.)
(AMANDALA Sports Ed. Note: Since this story was written in 1997, a number of players listed have passed on. On the names and nicknames, we note that “Bangi” would be Norman Usher, elder brother of recently deceased Gilroy “Coro” Usher of Milpros fame. And “Boiler” mentioned in Sidney Robinson’s letter above would be Spurs player Henry “Baila” Yearwood Jr.)