The Luciano Woodley Story

Garth Wattley
Date Published: 
Trinidad Express

The Class of the 20th Century
The Luciano Woodley Story
Don't Let Him Shoot!

The year 1970, says Luciano Woodley, was "a special year."

He was not talking about Black Power. Just "Woodley Power."

Every week, the newspapers were filled with the exploits of "that man Woodley."

Short but solid and swift, the 17-year-old St Mary's College forward netted 34 goals that season, with six hat-tricks thrown in for good measure.

That record stood for 15 long years before the Arima Senior Comprehensive marksman Timothy Haynes eclipsed it with 40 in the 1985 season. Haynes also notched six hat-tricks.

The similarities between the two did not end there.

Both men suffered at the feet of San Fernando Technical.

Haynes' goals could not stop Russell Latapy and company from beating Arima in both the Intercol and Big Seven finals.

Woodley too saw his individual success eclipsed by the 1970 Tech team in the league as well as the Intercol final.

But Woodley and Haynes were not the only 30+ goal scorers in the history of the League.

In 1997 alone there were two - Marco Elcock, the QRC goal machine who scored 32, and the St Benedict's forward Kester Cornwall who hit one score and ten.

But it was Woodley who set the pace.

In the 36 years of the Colleges/Secondary Schools Football League, there have been more incisive dribblers and physically dominating personalities. For instance, Wilfred Cave, the St Benedict's ace of the 1960s, had a more complete game. But there have been few more single-minded marksmen.

Woodley also showed that having your wits about you makes you just as deadly a weapon in the penalty area.

"I think I was able to outsmart a lot of defenders," he says. "My style was to play on their weakness."

He played in a side which, in his worlds, "from '70 to now was the best team St Mary's ever produced in terms of quality and all-round performance."

Keith LookLoy was his trusted captain sweeping at the back. And from midfield and the wings, Woodley got good services from the likes of Neil Williams, Keston Nancoo and Tony Jobes.

But his real inspiration was a past maser, Alvin Henderson.

Henderson provided the goal power when the Saints won Intercol in 1968. Woodley was then the understudy.

And when he left the scene in '69, Henderson carried with him a CIC record of 29 in one season.

"Every year I was running second fiddle to him and when he was leaving, I told him I would break his record," Woodley says. "I felt I had to break it."

But there were a few jitters.

"When I saw I was reaching the target, I went through a dry spell, like a one-goal, a one-goal and I got worried," he recalls.

But get 30 Woodley did, plus four more.

The following year, the story was different. As Woodley puts it he was "a marked man."

Instead of 30-odd goals, what he got was "some good, good kick!"

In short, Woodley's happy hunting season was over. But the vivid memories of that glorious 1970 season of Woodley power lives on.

3 v Tranquillity in league win
3 v Belmont, North Zone Intercol
3 v Fatima in 3-0 league win
3 v San Fernando Technical in 4-0 league win
3 v Tranquillity in Intercol
3 v Belmont in 3-2 Barclay's trophy semifinal

(1985) 24 (League), 3 (Intercol), 13 (Big Seven): 40

1 v San Juan
4 v Malick
3 v Barataria
1 v St Augustine
6 v Presentation
2 v San Juan
4 v Presentation
1 v Barataria
2 v St Augustine

4 v Signal Hill
2 v St Mary's
4 v Siparia
1 v John D
1 v San Juan
1 v San Fernando Tech

1 v San Juan
1 v San Juan (replay)
1 v St Augustine (East final)