Trinidad Footballers Entertained At Luncheon By J.F.A.

Date Published: 
1935-12-24
Source: 
Jamaica Gleaner
Page: 
22

Mayor, on Behalf of City And Island, Welcomes The Sporting Visitors.
WITTY SPEECHES.
Mr. A. Wilkinson, Captain Of The Side, Says They Are Here To "Play The Game."

Trinidad Footballers WelcomedTrinidad Footballers Welcomed: Members of the visiting Trinidad team photographed with their hosts at the luncheon given in their honour at the Y.M.C.A. yesterday by the Jamaica Football Association. Seated (centre row left to right) are: Rev. Fr. Leo. T. Butler, Messrs. G. M. DaCosta, A. Wilkinson (Capt. of the visiting team), W. J. Palmer, Hon. H. A. L. Simpson, B. Tench (Vice-Captain and Manager), Leslie R. Mordecai and N. N. Nethersole. Two of the visitors are seen in front holding the team's mascot.

THE TRINIDAD FOOTBALLER5 were accorded a right hearty welcome by the Jamaica Football Association at a reception luncheon given in their honour at the Y.M.C.A. yesterday afternoon. His Worship the Mayor of Kingston, the Hon. H. A. L. Simpson, O.B.E., greeted the visiting team on behalf of the city and island, and the leading representatives of that fine body of sportsmen, the J.F.A., in speeches of clever wit and humour wished the Trinidadians success and a pleasant stay.

The welcome speeches elicited a splendid reply from Mr. A. Wilkinson, captain of the visiting side.

Those who sat to lunch with the visitors were: Mr. W. J. Palmer, President of the J.F.A., (Chairman); His Worship the Mayor; Rev. Fr. Leo T. Butler, S.J., Messrs. Leslie Mordecai, Vice President; N. N. Nethersole, C. G. Campbell, E. B. Hallett, Vin Sasso, Harry Paxton, Mike Hanna, H. N. Walker, R. W. Campbell, V. R. Parkinson, H. C. Chambers, and T. Hadden.

After the loyal toast to the King, the Chairman gratefully acknowledged the sacrifice the Mayor had made, although the busiest man in Kingston, to attend the luncheon and welcome the Trinidad team. He then called up His Worship (applause).

THE MAYOR'S WELCOME

The Mayor welcomed the Trinidadians and said there were many bad things which he begged them not to find out (laughter). He hoped they would find out all the virtues Jamaica possessed. The weather seemed pretty tolerable at this time, but Fr. Butler would tell them that at some times in Jamaica one felt that one was in a place much nearer to a place where it never snowed. He believed they had come to Jamaica for a series of sport. Well, sport was developed or had developed not only to national importance but to international importance. Not only did it extend between various parts of the Empire, but between our Empire and other Empires. It had been recognized that sport moulded character. There had been a time probably not so much in their history but in his own days when to talk about getting off time to go and see a cricket match, the employer would say it was a waste of his time. The schools to-day realised that it was impossible to train boys to a high efficiency unless their studies were enlivened by a certain amount of physical exercise which they called sport. So they were taking a new idea of life, and sport was helping their children in various directions to be worthy citizens later on.

For that reason, although he was personally physically incapable of taking any part at all in sport, he took great interest in it and did everything he could to help it (hear, hear).

He hoped in Jamaica they would find loyal competitors. He did not apprehend that there would be the slightest conflict of opinions with respect to them. He supposed there were some matches which one side would win and consequently another side lost. He was sure they would find that Jamaica would tolerate losing and cheer them in their success. If they were beaten they should remember it was only a game and he hoped they would be able to say when they left that they had spent a pleasant time and had been treated with kindness and hospitality (hear, hear).

He welcomed them, and wished them a very pleasant sojourn in our midst. He hoped our fellows would be able to find themselves in Trinidad under the same circumstances some day and would enjoy themselves as well as the Trinidad team were going to enjoy themselves here (applause).

The Chairman said he would now call on the most discussed and the most accused man among them. He was the chairman of the Selection Committee. They had so many players who did pick themselves and so few who did not pick themselves that the Selection Committee had a glorious time. They picked three teams at first, and he was sure they would like him to ask the gentlemen responsible for the publication that morning to say a word or two to them. Mr. Nethersole! (hear, hear).

CHAIRMAN OF SELECTORS

Mr. N. N. Nethersole said: Mr. Chairman, Your Worship, Mr. Wilkinson, Gentlemen: In view of the works that you have heard from Mr. Palmer I expect one of the first allegations I will have to answer is the charge that in the selection of the team I did not regard myself as a member of the Trinidad side (laughter). The selection of teams is always an amusing hobby, and the first principle that members of a Selection Committee have to apply to themselves is that whatever you do you are sure to be wrong. On this occasion I am not saying that that principle does not apply, but I offered in the face of considerable antagonism the other night to wager on the result of the series and of all my antagonists I could not find a single person ready to take up the bet.

According to reports, the Trinidad team is in a position to do what I think is one of the prime reasons for this invitation, and that is: to assist us in improving the standard of our football in Jamaica (hear, hear). If you come here and do that, the fact that in doing so it necessarily involved beating us at football will not matter because we will still be under a debt of gratitude to you for your assistance.

Now, apart from the game itself, we want you to feel that you have come here to enjoy such pleasant amenities as Jamaica has to offer to visitors from the other West Indian Islands. I think that this tour has done its little bit in fostering that spirit of acquaintanceship and better knowledge, the lack of which has been one of the greatest obstacles to West Indian progress in the past.

Under those circumstances we are all glad to welcome you. We hope that you will enjoy your tour, and we feel certain that at the end of the tour you will be able, if you are successful, to look back with pleasure at the sporting spirit of your opponents, and if you are unsuccessful, remember that your opponents are not likely to gloat over their success. But whatever the result, you have our heartfelt hope and belief that you will enjoy your tour and your stay in Jamaica and we wish you welcome and success (applause).

THE VISITING MASCOT.

The Chairman: And now we come to the piece de resistance. I will introduce to you the gentleman who has taken all the responsibilities of Captain, and I believe Manager, of this team. I don't know just what feelings he has come with, but he has certainly not failed to bring something that he can control. He must fell that he could not control these live members of the team, so he has brought a dead one, so there will be something he can control. But I am going to ask him, if it is at all possible, to allow us to claim this mascot which is behind us here, as some recompense for all the trouble we have been put to in bringing the team here. (Hear, hear).

CAPTAIN'S REPLY.

Replying to the welcome, Mr. Wilkinson the Captain, said before he went any further he wanted to discount a certain amount of responsibility namely that he was Captain and Manager of the team, of which he suspected he had been accused (laughter). He would like to point out the he was Captain but the duties of Manager fell on the shoulders of the Vice-Captain, Mr. Tench, it being rather wise that there should be a Captain and a Manager, so that if the captain were to blame it could be open to him to make an effort to throw it upon the Manager and the Manager could always partly shift the blame on to the Captain. So he wanted to discount half of the responsibility for anything that went wrong and equally for anything that went right (laughter).

He wanted to thank them all for the excellent welcome, and the very pleasant things they had said. Here Mr. Wilkinson gave an amusing account of his interview with pressmen about his team for the first match, the joke being applied to hope that Mr. Nethersole would benefit in the same way in regard to his difficulties as selector.

He wanted to assure the Chairman that if he said Mr. Simpson's reputation and fame might not have spread to Trinidad, he would promise that if that were so they would rectify it immediately on their return. He again thanked them very much for the welcome; it really left one speechless. He was afraid if they could not play football and do themselves justice after the excellent welcome, and the way in which they had been made to feel at home, if they could not play football under these circumstances they would only have themselves to blame.

He could assure them that they would do theri best and play in the best possible spirit. If they won they would win without boasting; and if they lost, they would lost without complaining. He forgot who said it but he would have like to have been the first to say it. Anyhow the man who had said it had lived before his time: "and when the great scorer comes to write against your name he will not write if you have won or lost, but how you played the game" (applause).

In spite of any press criticism on their return to Trinidad, if they had played the game in the proper and true spirit, even if they lost they would have cemented the bonds of Empire, and as Mr. Nethersole had mentioned, fostered the friendly spirit between Trinidad and Jamaica. He thanked them very much indeed. He felt they would be overwhelmed by Jamaica's hospitality and they might have to even guard against it (laughter) until they had shown their worth on the football field (applause).

CHAIRMAN'S WELCOME

The Chairman said it now fell to his lot on behalf of the Jamaica Football Association to extend to the visiting team a hearty welcome. They had looked forward to the team's coming. The expectancy so far as the visit was concerned was very high among the football public and they hoped that the visitors would live up to the reputation which they had of being able to play the game of football as it should be played.

"So far as we are concerned," continued Mr. Palmer, "we shall do all we can to make your visit happy and pleasant and profitable. Profitable in this sense: that we are going out to show you how to play football so that when you get back you will be able to say you have learnt something (hear, hear and laughter)."

The Chairman went on to say that the coming of the team had created one or two records already. For instance the occasion had brought some of them out to the wharves at 5.15 o'clock that morning. His butler and cook got up so early to get him some tea that his next door neighbor though something was wrong and switched on all his garden lights. He soon saw, however, that "Palmer was up" and everything was all right. Then their Second Vice-President who had left home without anything to eat, complained all the way down to Port Royal that he had not had breakfast as yet. As a result they had to give an order the moment they got alongside the ship, to have breakfast ready for him by the time he got on board. Then there was consternation among the Trinidad players because they thought he (Mr. Leslie Mordecai) was one of the Jamaica team (laughter). Many of them felt they would like to be on the reserve list for the tour. But when they found he did not play football, they felt satisfied.

Mr. Palmer went on to say—humorously—that there was a Jamaica player whom they had found out was a Trinidadian. Of course it would not be fair for them to come expecting that player to help their team, so the Jamaica Association decided to play him themselves. The truth of the matter was that for certain reasons they wanted the visitors to win one or two of the matches, and they wanted them to win one or two of the first matches (laughter). They would send Mr. Hadden on the field on the strict understanding that he was to let the Trinidad players through in the first match (laughter).

SPORTING SPIRIT

Commenting on the spirit of cooperation manifested by the Trinidadians, the Chairman said the rearrangements made necessary due to shipping service caused great anxiety at one time, but that was finally overcome, and he would like to express their appreciation of the fine sporting spirit of the Trinidad people. They came along and sent a cable which was to be followed by a letter, stating that they would bear the extra expenses. That was a fine sporting gesture. They went further and Mr. Hinds, the Secretary of their Association in Trinidad wrote stating that the boys wouldn't mind returning on deck. That was something that would be an abiding memory as indicative of the type of men who had come along to meet them in the grand and glorious game of football. He did not think it necessary to say more. He hoped that they would allow Trinidad to win the first match, then in the second match if Mr. Hadden still let them through, they would drop him for the third as they would bot be able to trust him at all (laughter). He wished them all a very happy Christmas and a pleasant stay with them. He hoped they would get all the comfort and the pleasure they wanted. But he also hoped their Captain and Manager would not mind his saying that he was trusting that they would be restricted in their pleasures, knowing the business on which they had come. Mr. Hallett he thought would say a few words. He was the father of the Institution where they were staying, the Y.M.C.A., and Mrs. Hallett was with him. They could not have been placed in better hands. A great many boys had passed through that institution and had every reason to bless the name of Mr. and Mrs. Hallet for their fatherly and motherly care and the spiritual and intellectual guidance given them. It was a great pleasure to the Association to welcome them, and their sincere hope was that they would spend a pleasant three weeks in Jamaica (applause).

OTHER SPEECHES

Mr. Hallett made a nice speech welcoming the team to the Y.M.C.A. and promising to entertain them in the true Y.M.C.A. spirit and to make them as happy and comfortable as possible.

Mr. Tench thanked Mr. Hallet for this welcome and commended the Y.M.C.A. on being very comfortable and hospitable.

Mr. G. M. DaCosta thanked the Mayor for attending the luncheon, but before doing so informed the Trinidad players that he had been appointed to see to their comfort and he wished them not to hesitate to put before him any matter which required attention.

Thanking the Mayor, he said those of them who were engaged in the business appreciated how busy the Mayor was and were grateful to him for finding time to be present to welcome our visitors. They all hoped sincerely that His Worship would long be spared to take an active interest in sport and that on occasions like this they could count on him to attend to welcome visitors such as those whom they had the honour to entertain (applause).

In reply, Mr. Simpson said he had reached a time in his life when he did not think that being busy was the only occupation that he should have. He was very glad to be present and again he wished the Trinidad players a very pleasant and happy sojourn among us (applause).

The company then rose.