English Football Team For West Indies

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

West Indian Football Authorities especially Trinidad's have for some years been discussing the question of an English Football Team visiting these Colonies in the cause of football (says the Trinidad Sporting Chronicle). No new sensations will be created as a result of this important subject being again brought up for discussion, for as early as in 1913, when and with Mr. C. G. Archibald, President and C. Norman, Honorary Secretary, the possibility of such a visit engaged the attention of the Trinidad Football Association though without fruitful results.

Again in 1922 or 1923 on the arrival of Capt. Cutteridge in the Colony, this gentleman, a keen football supporter and Referee, undertook while on leave to put the matter on behalf of the T.A.F.A. before the Football Association of England. Touching every phase of the question with Mr. F. J. Wall, the F.A.'s Secretary, the difficulties of such a Tour, mainly because of financial difficulties, was at once made evident, at least for a few more years. Four years later, to-day we find the atmosphere again pregnant with this burning question, on this occasion Mr. V. F. Prideaux, founder of the Southern Amateur Football League, undertaking to again see Mr. Wall on the subject.

The result of this last interview disclosed that (1) The F.A. of England will not finance such a venture on its own except guarantees were forthcoming from the Colonies interested (2) that the West Indian Colonies must be prepared to meet the expenses of the Tour; and (3) that if this could be done the F.A. gives a provisional promise that they will send a team out in 1929 or 1930.

Mr. Wall further added that such Tour becoming un fait accompli, the F.A. will as was done in the case of Australia, South Africa and Canada offer a Challenge Cup for English West Indies Intercolonial Football contests. Players in England are very reluctant to leave home during the close season for the purpose of undertaking Tours abroad. It was no easy matter to get up the teams which recently went to Australia and South Africa but it would appear that the prejudice for Dominion and Colonial Tours is fast wearing off and English footballers should be well rid of it ere this and 1930.

Worked to the minutest point the visit of an English Football Team to Trinidad will cost well about £2,500. The passages of say, 15 men, a Manager and Referee or both in one, will cost nothing less than £640—allowing that the Steamship Company grant the same privileges give the M.C.C. team viz—a passage from England and back at Single Rate. The Tour will last not less than two months if the team visits Jamaica, Demerara and either Surinam or Barbados (if willing to join in) and there will be another £750 for board and lodging expenses. Half salary for 16 men who probably draw an average of £30 per month in England will mean another £480 and Bonus of at least £50 each must be given which amounts to £750.

So taken at the lowest estimate a team of professional footballers in the West Indies cannot cost less than £2,500 and to meet this sum Trinidad, Demerara, Jamaica will have to contribute at least £800 each.

First Class Football in Trinidad compares favourably with third division football in England and it is not expected that the F.A. will send out a team of stars here after the complete rout of Australian, Canadian and South African teams by English Touring sides.

So far as the West Indies are concerned we are far below the standard of English first class soccer but as was done for Australia and Canada there is a likelihood of some star players in English football accompanying the team when the time comes. A side including a few players such as Pym and Jack, the Bolton Wanderers Goalie and right wing, Hudspeth and Gallacher, the Newcastle United back and centre, Capewell, Aston Villa left wing, Womack, the Birmingham left back, Puddefoot of Blackburn Rovers, Buchan and Blyth of the Arsenal, Keenor and Ferguson of Cardiff City, Wadsworth, Huddersfield Town, famous back, Mercer, Gillespie and Tunstall of Shieffield United, Cresswell and Kelly of Sunderland, Orborne, Seed and Dimmock, famous Tottenham forwards, Howard, Baker and Kennedy of Everton, Bromilow and McKinlay of Liverpool, Inglis and Howarth of Manchester United, Jack and Smith of Bolton Wanderers would considerably enhance the Tour and not only an education it would serve to players but a great fillip will be given to West Indian Football.

The pity it is that in 1929 or 1930 those of our star players capable of giving a good exhibition of themselves against English footballers would be no more. We connot expect men like Knaggs, Grell, Hugh Thom, Law, Harry Farrell, Pollonais, Gibson, Schjolseth, Rooks, Richardson, Murphy, Hill, Quensel, Plummer, Miller, Achong, and others to go on forever and football stands little chance of seeing of them still on the field three or four years.