Time And Money For WI Soccer Tour Well Spent

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner


SUNSHINE TOUR, is the headline of the editorial of the F. A. News, concerning the November issue's recent Caribbean soccer tour of England. The F. A. News, official journal of the English Football Association, had as its cover picture, members and officials of the team, and the theme of this lively editorial, is that the West Indian public can count that the time and money used for the tour, were well spent. Below is the editorial.

AS WINTER CLOSES in on England, the friendly footballers of the West Indies sail home to their sunshine islands after a long, arduous, and we believe, stimulating tour of England.

The British Caribbean F.A. touring team played 17 matches in England, won four and lost 13. Early in their tour, in the West Country, they needed a few matches to settle down to each other's style, since many of the players met for the first time on the ship bringing them to England.

Then in the middle part of the tour, they found their form with some successful results, but towards the end, such opposition as the British Olympic XI, Pegasus and the powerful Football League clubs, Crystal Palace and Millwall was perhaps a shade too strong for them.

In many matches, the superior stamina of the English players was the deciding factor.

History lesson

But this tour, like almost all other tours, did not begin and end with the winning and losing of football matches. The important thing seems to us that these young men were here, and that such a tour did indeed take-place.

For them, one of the youngest 'nations' in the world tour was a history lesson, a window on the world of current affairs, a long look at the 'old country' (a general election included!) a lesson in communal living and perhaps a preview of what life can be in the brave new political experiment starting in the West Indies.

A Trinidad team toured England in 1953, but here for the first time, footballers from all the islands—Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, British Guiana, played together as one team and travelled abroad as a representative party.

They went to the races at New Market. They lived in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, lunched at the Randolph in Oxford. They saw London's West End, London's East End. They travelled from the plunging cliffs and rich red soil of Cornwall and Devon to the flatlands and market wardens of East.

They trained on Paddington Recreation ground where Roger Bannister prepared for his four-minute mile. They saw more of England than does many an Englishman, and they did it as a goodly company.


Everyone who met these players was greatly impressed. They startled many of us, delighted all of us, by saying that the new British Caribbean F.A., business firms and the public throughout the islands had contributed money and time off for the players, to make the tour possible, which Mr. E. R. James, honorary secretary and treasurer of the British Caribbean F.A. had dreamed of and worked for the tour since his F.A. was formed only two years ago.

The West Indian public can count the time and money well spent.

The team experienced football in every division of the Football league, and played against a wide variety of opposition.

Pat Gomez, the captain, said. "From all our matches, and from our coach Harold Hobbis, we have learned and been shown things in football, in training, coaching and playing, that we simply never imagined before. Everyone we have met, administrators, referees, amateur and professional players, and particularly Col. Linnit our chaperone, has been tremendously kind and helpful to us.

New ideas

"We hope to go home and put many of our new ideas into practice at our clubs and particularly with the young people.

"The boys who will play in Federation teams of the future, are the really important ones, and if our game is correct and true and honest at the lowest level amongst our young people and in the schools, then its future will be secure."

In 'new' countries like the Caribbean Federation, experience shows that the top strata of sport is apt to get immediate attention, and the lower levels must wait.

This clearly will not happen in the West Indies, and to that end, the Football Association and the British Caribbean F.A. are exploring ways and means to have another tour in England, this time a schoolboys team.

But wider still might be the future effects of this eight-week tour. Mr. James, the tour manager said, "I believe it will have striking and lasting effects in the West Indies, not only in football in England, but there is more to it than that.

Deep influence

"It has given them a feeling of belonging to a united Federation at home. We are sure that it will have a deep influence on all the future lives of these fine young men, in every direction — economics, politics, business, social service — the feeling of belonging to a united nation
of which they can be proud and in which they will better serve. Now they come from a nation which in time will have a very important part to play in world affairs."

We have devoted this editorial to the Caribbean tourists and their visit, in the firm belief that if we of the islands in the grey seas, have done anything to help them in their islands in the blue seas, then we shall rest content. And also to point the moral yet again, that foreign tours have an influence far beyond the imagination of those who too readily proclaim that results are all.

Tour results were: Sept. 1 Cornwall County F.A. 1-0; Sept. 3 Cornwall County F.A. 2-1; Sept. 7 Dorset County F.A. 4-2; Sept 10 Isthmian League 3-1, Sept. 12 Athenian League 7-2; Sept. 16 Spalding United 0-3; Sept. 19 Wisbech Town 5-4; Sept 23 King's Lynn 3-1; Sept. 25 Ely City 1-2, Sept. 30 Newmarket Town 1-3; Oct. 3 Peterborough Town 4-1; Oct. 7 Barking 1-2; Oct. 10 G.B. Olympic XI 7-2; Oct 12 Bromsgrove Rovers 5-0; Oct. 14 Crystal Palace 11-1; Oct. 17 Pegasus 3-1; Oct 21 Millwall 5-1.