The Shay Seymour that I knew

Author: 
Alvin Corneal
Date Published: 
2015-03-04
Source: 
Trinidad Guardian

To today’s football lover, the name of Shay Seymour may mean nothing, mainly because we tend to desist from remembering our past sports legends.

I was fortunate to meet this dapper little centre forward, who scored goals which only appeared to have a ten percent chance of success.

One day in September of 1952, the Strollers Sports Club had invited the famous Colts club of Belmont to a friendly at the Aranguez Savannah. This team consisted some of the finest players in the land, namely Seymour, Len Leggard, Leon Munroe, and Horace Lovelace, all national players in the fifties.

This is where I had the honour of not only meeting Shay, but I was chosen as a thirteen year old member of the club to play against this wonderful team. I was in awe to see the agility, speed and fearlessness of this talented sportsman.

Seymour who was 87 when he passed last week, started my thirst of being a national player when he said to me after the match, that I would one day wear his shirt in our national team.

As a thirteen year old, I had the opportunity to see him play in a North vs South Red Cross trophy at the Queen’s Park Savannah when the southerners were convincingly defeated by North. Shay scored in that match.

In 1953, T&T, being a colony of Great Britain, travelled to England for the first ever national team tour, giving Shay the opportunity not only to play a number of matches in the United Kingdom where he scored five goals, but to become one of the first two locals to be offered a professional contract in England.

He signed up for the Weymouth FC and was very successful in his venture, where he played for three years.

Few Trinis were aware that Shay was also an extremely good cricketer, which was proven when he represented the company with which he worked in England and scored numerous centuries. I met Shay again when I was a member of the first ever West Indies Football team that toured the UK in 1959.

He attended some of our matches and I had the opportunity to remind him of the statement he made to me seven years before.

We then became very friendly and during my stints as a professional cricketer in England, he followed the team to witness some of the matches.

Ten years later in 1969, we attended the same English FA preliminary Coaching course at Exeter University, which offered to me an insight into the vast knowledge of this legendary sports personality and Hall of Famer.

Today, Shay Seymour is no more and it is regrettable that history may not have been adequately recorded on his sporting exploits for many years which spanned from the streets of Belmont, Port-of-Spain, through to the various counties of the United Kingdom for decades.

It is my sincere hope that Shay Seymour’s success can be shared by all the citizens of this country. One of my heroes has passed on. To the family of Shay, the sporting community will mourn his loss and send condolences to his family. May he Rest in Peace.