The 1930s People’s Club

The Trinidad Amateur Football Association (TAFA) was formed on July 23, 1908, and First Division play in Port-of-Spain included such teams as Casuals, Clydesdale, Local Forces, and Shamrock. League play was conducted in front of the Grandstand in the Queen’s Park Savannah.

By 1911, the local FA gained affiliation to the English Football Association and there were large gates at the top matches. The first league was reduced to just the top four teams while a second league was introduced to cater for the other teams.

The influx of new teams in the second league caused wide scale debate as to the composition of the Football Council.

Teams in the second league automatically gained representation on the Council, doubling the

number of members. The teams in the new league comprised a second team from all clubs in the first league – Casuals, Shamrock, Clydesdale, and Local Forces in addition to St Marys, QRC, Majestic, Unity, Yorkshire, Thistle and Everton.

The feeling was that the quartet in the first league was the best four teams in the colony and would ensure a more competitive league. Many felt that the Council should have been limited to representation from the top four teams and the colleges but a motion to this effect was rejected and all teams were given the right to have a member on the council.

First Division play in the North was dominated from the Late 1920s by Maple and Everton. Their dominance was so overwhelming that these two teams provided almost all the players on the T&T team in intercolonial competition against other Caribbean countries. The Maple standouts who represented T&T included Ivor Hart who went on to play for Everton in the 1930s. The Everton stars who represented T&T included Alfred Charles and Arthur Maynard.

The Belmont based-team, playing with an almost unchanged team for nearly five years completely took over football from 1930-32 and was on the verge of doing so again in 1933 when they were suspended from competition.

Everton arrived on the scene in 1928. Their impact was immediate as they finished runners-up to Constabulary in the Second League. But it was not that performance which had the sporting fraternity focused on them. It was their efforts in the BDV Cup where they whipped league champions Maple 3-1 in the final. Maple had almost completely dominated the major competitions that season. Apart from the league, they won the Bonanza Cup and beat Southern champs Brighton 2-0 in the Sperling Cup. But they could not beat the aggressive, no-nonsense dynamism which Everton exhibited, and which made them the first team from the second division to win the BDV Cup.

Other teams may have had coloured players, but no team was as fully representative of the poorer working class as Everton. But Everton forced everyone to stand up and take notice. Their immediate success threatened the upper-class authority.

Unlike most of the other clubs, Everton had no clubhouse. Their members came together for the sole purpose of playing football and, even then, their team comprised no more than 15 players for their full period of involvement from 1928 to 1933.

Everton beat their future adversaries Maple 3-1 in the Best Dark Virginia (BDV) Cup, apparently, a type of competition restricted to the elite First Division clubs

 ‘Followers of the game will not begrudge Everton the praise that is due to them for their splendid showing this season. Playing as a second-class club since their inception, they won the Clydesdale Cup, beaten only by Constabulary in the Second League.

CUP WIN CHAOS

The Maple side, who were no strangers to controversy, brought the game in to disrepute in the FA Trophy final in 1929.

In a hard-fought match with Everton leading 3-2 with 12 minutes remaining, the referee George Rochford ordered Leslie of Everton and H. Achong (Maple) off the field. In response, Ellis Achong ordered the Maple players off the field.

Ellis Achong and his brother Harold were later suspended by the TAFA for their behaviour, the captain being banned for the remainder of the season and the first four matches of 1931 while his brother got a four-match ban.

Referee Rochford reported: “I consider the behaviour of the two Achongs the most disgraceful exhibition of un-sportsman like conduct that I have ever had the misfortune to witness.” Ironically, and despite the referee’s words, the Council of the Association at a meeting agreed to write to Everton, expressing disapproval with the rough tactics which the team employed. But Everton, backed by increasing grassroots support, simply continued to play the game in the way which was providing results.

This year they have made such rapid progress that they are now reckoned by all the first-class clubs to be a most serious rival. Young and strong, they are a strong and fearless combination, aggressive in attack and strong in defence, with a little more level-headedness, regular teamwork and practice, Everton will soon be one of the leading clubs in the colony.”

Registered for the first League the following season, Everton were just one point away from the title which was won by Casuals.

Valentino Singh wrote that “The world had hit the depression lows of the Wall Street crash in 1929 and the depression in Trinidad made the already grave economic problems more acute. Widespread poverty, especially in the rural areas, drove yet a further hoard of workers to the urban centres which soon led to the Trade Unions having a stronger voice as workers started to agitate for improved working conditions. This trend was to impact directly on the sport as many grassroots teams, most notably Everton of Belmont began to challenge the previously upper- and middle-class domination of the sport.”

Everton were a team that represented the man in the street – the lowest rung of the ladder and a team that brought out thousands of fans to the Savannah. Some might say the People’s Club! Funny that!

The Maroons, enjoying an excellent season, also won what was now the southern BDV Cup,

beating Maple 2-1 and the Sperling Cup with a 3-0 shutout of Casuals. Despite all this, it was Everton who again captured the public’s imagination. They won the Wincairns Cup, which replaced the Bonanza Cup which had been won outright by Maple the previous year.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEARS

They won all the titles in 1930 – League, FA Trophy, Wincairns Cup and the Sperling Cup, with their captain Alfred Charles scoring 20 goals.

The equivalent to the Charity Shield, the McKinney/Leotaud trophy was added to the trophy cabinet in which they beat ‘The Rest’ teams 2-1 and 3-1 in consecutive seasons to complete their dominance.

It seemed that the powers that ran the game kept scrutinising the club when in 1931, two of their players, Morris and Daniel were suspended midway through the season for ungentlemanly conduct. And the following year, another player A.E. Tappin and the club’s secretary S.A. Moore, received similar suspensions. Ironically, Moore’s reprimand had to do with comments made while he was a spectator.

The 1931 season was a tense affair with Maple and Everton going head to head. Here below is how the local press described the last few games of the season.

Date Published: 1931-09-01 Trinidad Guardian Page: 16

EVERTON MOVE FURTHER AHEAD, STROLLERS EASILY BEATEN,
PLUCKY LOSERS

EVERTON 3 …. STROLLERS 0.

EVERTON for the second time this season defeated Strollers by the wide margin of three goals to nil, on the Association grounds yesterday afternoon for the First League Shield.

Strollers were called upon to play a defensive game, and though losing by a wide margin, showed up well in this respect at times.

Their fault lay in their forward line. Lopes played a good game but obtained no support from the others, and the strong defence put up by the winners was impenetrable.

Everton forwards played a dashing game, F. Charles and Thompson being always in the picture.

The ground was fast and up to the mark.

Strollers won the toss and elected to face the sun. Everton kicked off towards the eastern goal and Moore took the first shot at goal which Williams saved.

From the goal kick Mitchell received and passed to Lopes, who eluded King and sent the ball to Basford, but Hart cleared. Lopes again received and at once shot at the goal, Hart saving a good shot at the expense of a corner, which, however, bore no fruit.

Even exchanges followed for about 10 minutes, each side trying shots at the respective goals, at intervals.

At one time F. Charles lost a good opportunity, when he was just about to shoot from five yards off the goal, when he was blocked by McKenzie and kicked wide of his mark.

Sometime later, Everton registered their first goal when Morris took a long shot from the centre of the field.

The ball went hopping into the goal, Williams in attempting to fist out failed. F. Charles ran up and finished up a good goal with a header.

Hardly had five minutes elapsed when F. Charles in going to centre was stopped by Murray and a corner resulted.

Charles took the kick and sent across a beautiful centre, with which Thompson made no mistake, placing the ball outside the goalie’s reach.

Everton continued the offensive and Strollers’ defence was called upon to withstand their opponents’ attack, which they did quite well despite being scored.

At half time Everton led 2—0.

ONE MORE GOAL

IN the second half Strollers were called upon to defend again and, despite Everton’s fast forwards, they put up a stubborn defence.

At one time however, Dick, in attempting to clear, nearly placed his opponents further ahead when he miskicked, the ball hitting the uprights.

Play at this time was confined to midfield exchanges, Lopes being conspicuous in Strollers’ forward line, but to no avail for he received no assistance from the other forwards.

Everton was soon on the offensive again and obtained two consecutive corners, which proved fruitless.

Very seldom in this half did Strollers pass their stronger opponents’ back line.

A few minutes before the end Ryan obtained possession and centred without delay and in a scrimmage before the goal, Williams came out and Woodruffe ran into the goal with the ball making the score 3-0.

The game ended soon after with the score unchanged; Everton still pressing and overpowering their weaker opponents, who were not able to withstand the winners’ strong attack.

Mr. B. Warner refereed.  Mr. Gorsuch and Mr. Arrindell ran the lines.

LEAGUE SHIELD STILL IN DISPUTE; Trinidad Guardian – 1931-11-01

EVERTON DRAW WITH MAPLE, GAME MARKED BY SOUND DEFENCE,
FAULTY SHOOTING

EVERTON 1-MAPLE 1

THE Everton-Maple match, on which the issue of the League Shield practically hinged, did not come up to expectations from the playing point of view. It ultimately ended in a draw, each side scoring a goal.

Better weather conditions could hardly have been desired. A nice and springy ground was provided, and a mammoth crowd turned out, a conservative estimate placing the attendance at 8,000, fully 5,000 of whom paid for admission to the stands or occupied the chairs around the grounds.

Order was well maintained throughout and the T.A.F.A. arrangements were perfect.

The game was marked by sound and brilliant defence by both sides, the honours going to Remy of Maple, who was by far the most outstanding player of the afternoon. Whenever the half-back line was beaten, there was Remy, an impenetrable barrier.

He received able support from his club-mate, Gaskin, and the halves worked hard and well. Unfortunately, Dick received an early injury and was of little use to the side.

Thus handicapped, it is to Maple’s credit that they were able to draw with their doughty opponents.

On the opposite side Maynard was ever conspicuous. He broke up many dangerous rushes, and Charles, his partner, played a steady game. Holder, in the half-back line, shone to advantage and reduced to practical nullity Daniel’s effectiveness as a right winger.

But the forwards of both sides failed, and herein lay the weakness of both teams.

Maple failed to combine to advantage, and Everton’s attackers showed a marked tendency not to display any ball control while both were lacking in perfect understanding.

After the resumption, it was a drab affair, interspersed only with moments of thrillers, and it was not, therefore, surprising to find that the final whistle met neither side with the honours.

But the game, overall, was a good one, cleanly played, the score furnishing excellent reflection of the run of play.

EACH SIDE SCORES

Everton defended the western goal and Maple kicked off. There were alternate rushes as a result of which both goalies shone to advantage in effecting some beautiful saves.

Nearing the half-way stage Everton were awarded a free kick, which well taken by Woodruffe, was saved feebly by Pierre who fisted out. Ryan was on the spot to receive and deliver a back kick and Morris, rushing up, headed into goal.

Hardly had the shouting died over this initial success, than Maple recorded the equaliser. A corner conceded (to) Maple was well taken by E. Achong. Hart rushed out and fisted the ball but H. Achong received and made no mistake about finding the nets.

NO FURTHER SCORING

No further scoring took place thereafter. At one stage in the second half Wilkes accidentally tripped an Everton forward.

A penalty was conceded and Maynard took the kick. He sent a scorching shot to goal that Pierre anticipated to the minute, dashed across and saved, occasioning a scrimmage in front of the goal which was relieved when Moore shot behind.

Desultory play followed for quite a while and the final stages were brightened up, each side trying for decision, but none came.

Mr. Wilkinson refereed excellently and Mr. Govia and Mr. Rignault ran the lines.

TEAMS

The following comprised the lineup:—

MAPLE:—Pierre; Remy, Gaskin; Dick, Wilkes, Duprey; E. Achong, H. Achong, de Coteau, Pantin, Daniel.

EVERTON:—Hart; Charles, Maynard; Holder, Morris, Leslie; Woodruffe, Moore, F. Charles, Thompson, Ryan.

LEAGUE TABLE

Clubs  PlayedWonLostDrewFor AgainstPoints              
Maple14102461522
Everton1384361020
Shamrock14743341817
Sporting Club14752232016
Casuals14752301916
Q.R.C.1349018318
Strollers1429316387
St. Mary’s1411128594


LAST FIRST-CLASS FIXTURE

WILL ROYALS DO THE TRICK?

Source: Trinidad Guardian: Page 16. Date published: 1931-11-01

THE last match for the T.A.F.A. First League Shield will be played tomorrow afternoon on the Association’s ground between Everton and Q.R.C.

Will Royals do the trick by effecting a draw or beating their opponents, thus denying them the honour of carrying off the trophy for the second year in succession, is the question which football enthusiasts are asking.

The Colleges in the past have had the knack of doing the surprising thing at the psychological moment and, thereby, upsetting all the well-laid out plans of their opponents.

A win for Everton will give them the Shield, while any other result will transfer it into Maple’s possession.

The match, therefore, there is massive interest, and it should attract a large following of spectators.

Mr. M. Grell will referee, and Mr. Lyon and Mr. Lake run the lines.

The following are the T.A.F.A. fixtures for the week: —

Nov. 2: —Everton v. Q.R.C. Referee: Mr. M. Grell. Linesmen: Mr. Lyon and Mr. Lake.

The Club were crowned Champions of the Port of Spain League three years on the run from 1930 to 1932 adding the FA Trophy to make them Double-Winning seasons on three successive seasons

Everton won the FA Trophy in four successful seasons from the abandoned game in 1929 to 1932

The F.A. Trophy
The FA Trophy of Trinidad

Everton captured the FA Cup in 1929 when Maple walked off the field trailing 3-2, after players H. Achong (Maple) and Leslie (Everton) were sent off the field by the referee.

The Sperling Cup competition was held between the champions of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association (TAFA) and those of the Southern Amateur Football Association (SAFA). The 1924 edition was the first and the 1932 edition was the last with Everton to be the last winners, after they had won it on the two previous occasions. In 1930 they won 3-0 against the Casuals.

The silverware kept on coming with Everton winning the McKinney Cup in its only two years of 1931 and 1932 against the Rest of the League sides.

Another trophy never to leave the clutches of the Port of Spain Evertonians was the Wincairn’s Trophy which was played between 1930 and 1932 with Everton winning it in three successive years from 1930 to its last year in 1932.

1929 Roll of Honour

League – Casuals

Wincairns Cup (replaces Bonanza Cup won outright by Maple previous season) – Everton

BDV Cup – Casuals

FA Trophy – Everton (Maple walked off field after referee Rochford ordered Leslie (Everton and H. Achong (Maple) off field. Everton were leading 3-2 at the time.)

Sperling Cup – Casuals

Gilbert Skinner Cup – South

1930 Roll of Honour

League – Everton

FA Trophy – Everton

Wincairns Club – Everton

Sperling Cup – Everton

Gilbert Skinner Cup – North

1931 Roll of Honour

League – Everton

FA trophy – Everton

Sperling Cup – Everton

Wincairns Cup – Everton

BDV Cup – No competition

Gilbert Skinner Cup – North

McKinney/Leotaud Charity Cup – Everton 2 The Rest 1

1932 Roll of Honour

League – Everton

FA trophy – Everton

Sperling Cup – Everton

Wincairns Cup – Everton

Gilbert Skinner Cup – North

Mc Kinney Cup – Everton 3 The Rest 1

1933 – END OF AN ERA OR WAS IT JEALOUSY?

But Everton’s march would end abruptly during the 1933 season. The Champions were playing Casuals in a league fixture on September 6, when, with the score level at 2-2, violence erupted.

The Sporting Chronicle of September 7 reported:

Scenes of rowdyism un-paralleled in the annals of local football caused the termination of the Everton/Casuals game yesterday eight minutes before time.

Feelings began to run high among Everton supporters soon after referee Mr Govia awarded a goal to Casuals resulting from a penalty against Hart.

Following up this success by an immediate goal, the Maroons looked set to give one of their famous box finishes.

As seen by our correspondent, Noel Lewis (Casuals) was clearing the ball with Alfred Charles (Everton) in pursuit. The ball went out of play and Lewis had checked himself when he was kicked by Charles. Lewis spoke to Charles, but a section of the crowd showed open hostility to Lewis and followed him onto the field.

Casuals players then asserted that Charles assaulted Lewis and that proved the spark that caused the conflagration. Quick as thought, the field became the scene of pitched battle in which fists and feet were freely used by spectators. It was quite a while before Police had the field under control and Mr Govia quite rightly called the game off but not before he had ordered off Lewis, the Charles brothers and Morris. In the players’ enclosure beneath the stands, Lewis and Frank Charles again clashed and very soon, there was a battleground between players and a section of Everton supporters.”

The TAFA emergency committee met and decided by a vote of 14-4 to ban the Charles brothers for the 1933 season as well as 1934 and 1935. Another Everton player, Morris, and Lewis of Casuals were both suspended until the end of 1934.

The TAFA annual report for the season stated: “In the return match between Casuals and Everton on September 16, a very ungentlemanly incident took place eight minutes before the end of the match that had far reaching consequences. Some of the players of both teams lost their tempers, a general melee followed in which spectators participated and the referee R. Govia had no other choice but to blow the game off after finding matters had gone beyond his control. The incidents on the field were repeated in the stands after the players left the field and the referee in due course lodged his report about happenings in the match. The council instituted a full inquiry, conducted by the emergency committee at which evidence was taken in writing by a stenographer, the players concerned being given full hearing and permission to call witnesses.”

The council concluded that the Everton players – the Charles brothers and Leroy Morris as well as Lewis, were all guilty of misconduct and, therefore, issued their varying suspensions.

Everton appealed the suspensions but even before hearing the appeals, the TAFA insisted that they continue their league fixtures without the three players. But the club declined to do so, pointing out that until such time as the appeal was heard, it would be unfair for them to play.

The council then ordered Everton to take the field, but the club refused. As a result, the council regarded the refusal as “insubordination to the dictates of the council and tantamount to a questioning of the Association’s authority.” A special meeting of the council was called to deal with the situation and after careful enquiries into the case, it was decided on a majority vote that Everton be suspended ‘sine die’ from taking part in any football under the jurisdiction of the TAFA.

But there was more to follow. Casuals too, following several meetings with their executive, opted to discontinue their season since their membership felt that it could no longer associate with the sport if Everton could participate.

The act on the part of this long-established club, and their decision to take such a step before the Association had acted, was described in one newspaper as deplorable. And another newspaper, the Sporting Chronicle of September 24, called the decision to suspend Everton harsh and suggested that Everton was singled out for ‘especial disfavour’ because of the club’s social status. Under a headline ‘Jealous feeling,’ the paper wrote:

‘Is it possible that their record is such an enviable one that they have been singled out for especial disfavour.

The incident also caused the TAFA to take precautionary measures to complete the season as all the major matches were shifted to the enclosed Queen’s Park Oval.

With Casuals and Everton out of the way, Queen’s Royal College took centre stage in one of the biggest upsets of the decade. The exit of Casuals and Everton forced the Association to reorganise the league.

And the First and Second divisions were consolidated, with a decision that the top two teams would play a two best out of three final for the Shield.

The clipping below from October 7, 1933 reported by the Canadian Press

The Press reported the serious implication for the Club in the following reports

RIOTING TRINIDAD FOOTBALLERS ARE HEAVILY PUNISHED

Source: Jamaica Gleaner Page: 3 Author: D. W. I. Cable Coy. Date Published: 1933-09-22

PORT OF SPAIN, Sept. 21 (Canadian Press)—The heaviest punishments in the history of local soccer were meted out yesterday to three players for Everton and one player for Casuals, following the decision of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association’s “football court” which inquired into the recent football riot here.

Alfred Charles, Everton’s captain was suspended until 1935; Frank Charles, Everton’s centre forward was suspended until 1935; Leo Morris, Everton’s centre half was suspended until 1934 and Noel Lewis, Casuals’ right half back was suspended until 1934. Alfred Charles said, “I have to abide by the court’s decision, but I will pay more attention to cricket concentrating on batting”. Lewis of the Casuals said “I don’t desire to say anything. I will play Rugby Football”.

POLICEMEN GUARD A FOOTBALL “COURT”

Source: Jamaica Gleaner Date Published: 1933-09-25 Page: 16

The Trinidad “Guardian” of September 20 published the following:

Behind barred gates and with two non-commissioned officers of the Constabulary keeping guard at the entrance, the Emergency Committee of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association met to investigate the incident which led to the cessation of the Casuals-Everton First Class Football match on Saturday last.

The decision will be given out officially to-day after the Emergency Committee meets finally at the office of Mr. F. J. Leotaud this morning.

The investigation, which lasted for than two hours, was held in secrecy.

A mounted constable paraded outside the enclosure on the northern side to prohibit persons from even coming near the iron rails.

Mr. F. J. Leotaud, President of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association, was the President of the ‘court,’ which consisted of Mr. Dickson Fraser, Mr. George Radix and Rev. Fr. O’Hanhahan.

Mr. A. Wilkinson, the fifth member of the “court”, was absent. He sailed for Barbados.

Mr. E. A. Hinds, the Secretary of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association took the notes for the “court”.

HOUR DELIBERATION

After the evidence of 16 witnesses was heard and the report of Mr. R. Govia was laid, the “court” caused the witnesses to retire and leave the building.

They then sat for more than one hour to deliberate on the evidence that had been taken.

A “Guardian” representative was officially informed by Mr. E. A. Hinds that no decision would be given out last night, as the committee would have to draft their report.

F. Charles with a bandaged hand was the most conspicuous witness at the inquiry.

FUTURE OF FOOTBALL IN TRINIDAD HANGS IN THE BALANCE NOW

UNCERTAINTY OF EVERYTHING FOLLOWS DECISION OF COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY INTO RECENT INCIDENT.

“The Judge” writes as follows in the Trinidad “Guardian” of September 22: —

Uncertainty surrounds the future of Trinidad football, following the decision of the T.A.F.A. Emergency Committee which inquired into the recent disturbance during the playing of the match between Casuals and Everton.

Casuals Football Club are holding a full club meeting next week to decide upon their action regarding their resignation from the T.A.F.A. First League Competition.

As matters stand at present, Casuals are still members of the T.A.F.A., without taking part in the League Competition.

Their players are therefore still available for the Colony team if the club remains affiliated to the Association.

It is therefore probable that Tench and Maynard will play in the same Colony team, although their clubs may refuse to play together in the same league.

EVERTON MEETING.

Everton held a meeting last night to consider the position arising from the Emergency Committee’s decisions.

No decision was arrived at after a three-hour session, therefore a further meeting will be held tonight to finally determine the question.

So far opinions have been conflicting. Mr. A. Moore presided at last night’s meeting.

Everton has not withdrawn from the League.

MATCHES UNDECIDED.

The Intermediate fixture between Everton and Casuals will not be played to-day because Casuals have withdrawn from the League and Everton has not decided on their action.

Mr. C. Tench, the Captain of Casuals, stated yesterday that his club will take no action whatsoever until a meeting is held on Tuesday evening.

Everton are scheduled to play against Sporting Club to-morrow.

During the week there have been reports that Sporting Club propose to refuse to fulfil the fixture. If they do not play, the points will of course go to Everton.

At present Referees also are difficult to procure, Following Mr. Richardson’s statement on Monday, after an incident in the Q.R.C.-Notre Dame game, that he was finished with football, there are not many referees, it is said, willing to take the responsibility.

The referee for Wednesday’s game between Maple and Shamrock was in doubt until the last minute when Mr. Grell was prevailed upon to take charge.

POST-EVERTON YEARS

After the team was suspended from First Division play many of its stars moved to other teams. Later that year, as if to show how important he was to Everton, Charles, the Everton captain left for England to become the first player from Trinidad to play professionally.

Everton players including Bertie Thompson, Leslie and Arthur Maynard joined Prisons who made their debut in the Second League in 1934. They won the Wilson Cup in their first season.

The loss of Everton also reduced the amount of support for football, almost certainly down to them being the Team of the People. The FA had to take drastic action and bring more games to the Queens Park Oval.

For the next three years, football would take a nosedive. The absence of spectators severely affected the TAFA’s finances and it also had to cope with the fact that several matches had to be played at the enclosed Queen’s Park Oval where the club was taking 40 percent of gates.

There were no crowds, no noisemaking in the Savannah. Football was dying and needed an injection of sorts if the wounds that accompanied the Everton tragedy were to be healed. During the 1934 season, it was obvious that Everton’s suspension had left a negative impact on the game. But their performances on the field had done enough to inspire interest in the young among the poorer class.

ALFRED CHARLES (Inducted into Trinidad & Tobago’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1984)

Old stagers who saw him in his prime still speak of the brilliance of Alfred Charles, dubbed by the British Guiana football fans “King Charles” in the 1930s. And a king of football he truly was, although by all standards he had a short career on the local scene and a brief one as a professional with Burnley in England. Seen as a potential world rater by Learie Constantine in 1931, Charles was taken up by Burnley through Constantine’s contacts. He proved to be a real giant, but a cartilage operation put an end to his career in the early 1940s.

As a boy at Newtown Boys’ School, Charles towered over lads his age in sheer football skills. In 1921 he was considered the best boy footballer in Port of Spain. When he left school, he played a few seasons in the Second Division of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association and in 1929 joined the famed Everton. There he partnered the versatile Arthur Maynard in the back line and the two became the most famous pair of defencemen in the history of Trinidad football.

Charles was such an outstanding player that Everton often used him in all the positions, depending on the game. He used to move up to the forward line when things were going bad for Everton and more often than not score for his team. In 1931 in British Guiana, he was put at centre-half. He shone like a beacon in that position and so amazed the Guianese that they christened him “King Charles”. Charles played a bit of cricket for Shannon, but his talents in that field were nothing in the class of his football performances where he remains in the minds of many as the best footballer produced in Trinidad.

Learie Constantine

He first came to England with the 1933 West Indies cricket team as valet to the star player Learie Constantine. Although he never played on the tour, he subsequently turned out for Nelson in the Lancashire League in 1935 and 1936. He made one appearance for a West Indies XI against an England XI in June 1944 and after the war he played for Lowerhouse in the Lancashire League.

In 1933 he returned to football with Burnley where he made his debut in the Northern Midweek League vs Preston North End at full-back. He was described as: ‘…an intelligent player who distributes the ball well and is good in the tackle and some say he would be better up front.’ However, he failed to break into The Clarets’ team so stints at Nelson FC and Darwen FC followed. Alfred finally did settle at Stalybridge Celtic in 1935 where he built up a fantastic scoring record as an ‘inside-forward’.

.

Alfred Charles in His Southampton Kit

This soon attracted him to several Football League clubs, but manager George Goss persuaded him to move to the south coast to join Southampton. Alfred became the first black player to wear the famous red and white stripes

He arrived at The Dell in January 1937 with a reputation as a “clever inside forward either on the left or right.” He made his solitary appearance in the Football League in a 2–2 draw at Bradford City on 9 January 1937 replacing Billy Boyd. He also played in five reserve games, in which he scored two goals.

He returned to Stalybridge in January 1938 for a fee of £350. Alfred’s career would end prematurely in the early 1940s after a cartilage injury and he died in 1977. He wasn’t forgotten in his homeland, being posthumously inducted into Trinidad and Tobago’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

TRINIDAD FOOTBALLER TO PLAY IN ENGLAND

Source: Jamaica Gleaner Page: 14 Date Published: 1933-11-16

The Trinidad “Mirror” of October 26 says:—

“Mr. Alfred Charles, Captain of Everton Football Club and Trinidad’s greatest footballer, will be leaving the Colony on Tuesday in the C.S. Coronado for England, were he will join one of the most popular League clubs in Lancashire.

Mr. L. N. Constantine, Trinidad’s famous cricketer, who returned to the Colony on October 15, on holiday was instrumental in bringing Mr. Charles’ prowess as a footballer to the notice of the English clubs.

The cables have been busy within the past few days transmitting messages between Mr. Constantine and the club concerned, and the personal recommendation of “Learie” was the deciding factor with the club.

Mr. Charles is 24 years of age and, like “Learie,” is a non-smoker, and total abstainer. He takes football seriously and his personality and example were to a great extent responsible for the consistent performances of his club.”

ALLAN “Caracas” JOSEPH (Inducted into Trinidad & Tobago’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1985)

This versatile sportsman represented Nelson Street R.C. School at both cricket and football, but it was at football that he was first and last heard. He played for Everton in the Senior League as an inside forward and gained acclaim as the club’s leading goal scorer, representing T.A.S.L. in inter-league matches. He left that famous club after 1936. He joined Maple S.C. in 1937, made the inner right position his own and stayed with the club until 1946, when he accepted an invitation to play professional football in Caracas. In 1940 he played a great part in helping the team to win the F.A. Trophy.

Four years later when the triangular tournament was staged in Trinidad he played for his club against Barbados and was one of the goal scorers in a 3-2 victory. That year he played mainly at centre-forward and scored two goals for T.A.F.A. v. N.A.F.L. When he left for Caracas, together with “Nattie” Sealy, to take up his appointment with Centro Atletico, he was a brilliant header, a clever dribbler, trapped the ball with comparative ease and had a powerful shot.

Two years later when he returned, he had improved on these skills with purposeful results as he converted to centre-half and patrolled the mid field with a calm resolve. Selected in his newfound position in an inter-leaguer, he settled into the scheme of things to become the pivot man of the Family XI and until he retired in 1954, his position was never challenged. He brought new dimensions into trapping, whether using his head, chest, or thigh after which the cry “Caracas” would go up from the spectators.

He was captain of Maple from 1948/55 inclusive during which period the club won all the major trophies in football and were league champions for four consecutive years, 1950/53. At the end of that wonderful run his club presented him with the Maple Leaf of gold for his contribution to the sport. Meanwhile, he had been visiting places like Haiti (1949), Guadeloupe (1951), British Guiana (1951) and Puerto Rico (1952). He also represented the Caribbean Football Federation, the equivalent of the West Indies Cricket team, in Jamaica, 1952.

As was the case with most of his colleagues, the tour of the United Kingdom was his crowning glory and he played in 9 of the 12 matches undertaken on the tour. Before retirement he decided to put something back into the sport. He was honorary football coach to St. Mary’s College from 1948/54. After retirement he served in the same capacity with Fatima College in 1955 and 1956 and the Abbey School, Mt. St. Benedict from 1957-1964.

He was then living in the East and held an executive position in the Eastern arm of the Athletic Association. Allan had a short career as a teacher and played cricket for Victoria, a club that attracted several members of that fraternity. He went to Barbados in 1939 as a member of Clifford Roach’s team. He played for Maple as a middle order batsman and fancied the front foot shots. He was invited to cricket trials on at least two occasions.

He represented his club in other branches of sport too, like lawn and table tennis and billiards. Known as “Slim” in his playing days he has maintained his trimness. The man, who found time to dabble in the various sporting disciplines usually with success, even turned his hand to politics once.

IVOR HART (Inducted into Trinidad & Tobago’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1984)

Ivor was called “The Lion in the Cage” and in his day he made goal-keeping a fine art and a spectacular ingredient of football. Fans went to see him save, youngsters copied his style, and forwards were often frustrated by his amazing leaps and dives that invariably robbed them of almost certain goals. That’s but an infinite look back on Ivor Hart, who was the outstanding goalkeeper in Trinidad in the late 1920s and early 1930s; a man of fine physique and strength, of remarkable agility and courage. As a boy at Queen’s Royal College, Hart showed excellent qualities at all sports and like schoolboys of the day, played everything he knew. But it was as goalkeeper he made his name.

He joined the superb Maple team of the 1920s that boasted of the brilliant forward line which represented Trinidad. With the amazing Hart in goal, Maple posed a stern proposition for all opponents. Hart’s escapades between the uprights gave football fans a great deal to remember, and even to this day some of his saves bring back exciting memories to those who watched him. It was an era when Maple and Everton were great rivals, both teams gaining most players in the national side, Maple the forwards and Everton the defencemen.

It was a surprise to many when Hart moved over to Everton in the 1930s and continued to display his remarkable skills as a goalkeeper. It was then that Maple’s great players really found out how outstanding a goalie he was. Hart was also a fine cricketer and had good scores while at college and after he left school, but it was as “The Lion in the Cage” that he made his mark for two of the best teams in Trinidad’s football history.

ARTHUR MAYNARD (Inducted into Trinidad & Tobago’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1984)

It is difficult to determine at which game, cricket or football, Arthur Maynard reached the highest class. What is certain is that this fine sportsman was a brilliant performer at both games and could have played cricket for the West Indies with some luck, and consideration by the selectors. Maynard had already made a name for himself with the great Everton football team, for whom himself and Alfred Charles stood out like giants in the defence, when the M.C.C. arrived for a series in the West Indies, under the captaincy of R.E.S. Wyatt. In the Trinidad MCC match at the Oval, Maynard hit a brilliant 200 not out in the home team’s total of 371 for seven declared, a performance that should have put him in the team for the second Test.

This was not to be, and the disappointment led to Maynard’s departure from cricket at that level. He continued to play for Shannon in club cricket with much success but his job as a teacher gave him little time to go beyond that level and his career faded away, to the misfortune of Trinidad’s cricket. As a footballer, Maynard was an outstanding fullback. With Charles he became a household name and the two brought fame to Everton, especially through their exciting encounters with Maple. When Everton was suspended from First Division football in 1933, Maynard, like some other teammates, joined Prisons, where he taught for a while, and they took that team to great heights in the mid-1930s. Teaching commanded Maynard’s interest in his later years but he kept up with sporting events whenever he could. Trinidadians who saw him bat still believe he would have been a top West Indies cricketer had he been given the chance.

FORMER TRINIDAD SPORTSMAN DIES

Source: Jamaica Gleaner Page:2 Date Published: 1959-11-17

PORT OF SPAIN, Nov. 16:

ARTHUR MAYNARD, Trinidad opening batsman, who made big news on his debut in first class cricket in 1935 against the MCC at Queen’s Park Oval, then disappeared from the cricket scene immediately afterwards, died suddenly at his home in Belmont, Port of Spain, yesterday.

A headmaster, Maynard was one of few cricketers in the world, and the only West Indian to score a double century in his debut to first class cricket. That performance made an indelible impression in cricket history, for after he had scored 200 not out in a match against the MCC, only six runs short of breaking Paisy Hendren’s 205 record — highest score on The Queen’s Park Oval ground — Trinidad declared their innings closed.

Maynard eventually declared his cricket career closed right after that.

He was also a footballer, and with Alfred Charles, presented the best back line Trinidad has ever seen. His ability in defence earned him a place on the Trinidad side which toured Colombia in 1930.

He toured with the first Trinidad football team to visit Jamaica in 1935-36.

Maynard, who was 49 years old, is survived by a wife and three children.

ETHELBERT “Bertie” THOMPSON

When someone grows up around a sporting arena like the Queen’s Park Oval it is difficult to avoid any activity connected with sport. Until recently, the Oval, although privately owned, was the mecca not only for Cricket, but Athletics, Boxing, Cycling and Football. “Bertie” who lived on nearby White Street, began visiting the Oval as soon as he was old enough to go there unsupervised. He attended Moulton Hall Methodist School, which did not have facilities for athletics, but he showed his football prowess, and represented the school as a forward in that branch of sport.

He continued to pursue his athletic interests but found he could mix them with football, so at age 17 he played Second Division football for Myrtle F.C. Two years later he joined the famed Everton Football Club and his connections ended after three seasons when the club was suspended from the League. This prompted him to return to the Second Division and he joined former club mate, Arthur Maynard on the Prisons team. While campaigning in the lower division, he gained selection on the Trinidad & Tobago team, which toured Jamaica in 1935. By this time, he was making a name in athletics.

In 1930 he won the half-mile in the game record time of 2 min. 03.4 seconds. The following year he equalled Ben Sealey’s 440 yards record of 50.8 seconds and lowered his 880 yards record to 20.01.2 in winning both events. He was also a member of the T.A.A.C. In 1932 he was also victorious in both the quarter mile and half-mile races, a feat he repeated a year later. After four successive wins in the half mile, he tasted defeat from Hypolite Sosa, who later became a famous local miler.

In 1935, although Bertie stretched his quarter mile triumph to six straight wins, he was again second over the longer distance this time to Carlton Gooding, who reduced the record time to 2 minutes flat. A year later they both set records in winning their respective events, Thompson achieving the Quarter mile in 50 seconds and Gooding going under the 2-minute mark for the first time by any local athlete 1.59.8. When, in 1937, Bertie won the quarter mile for the eighth successive year, he became a possible candidate for the British Empire Games to be held in Sydney, Australia in 1938.

Four years earlier, when the games were staged in London, England, he missed out, as the private sponsor could only manage tour expenses for one athlete and Mannie Dookie gained the nod. In 1938 Felix Harding won the 440 yards flat, so Bertie could no longer be considered for the B.E. games, which were attended by sprinter J.R.N. Cumberbatch. He had some close calls in trying to blend Athletics with football.

On one occasion he played a Football game for Everton on Friday, left on Saturday for an athletic Olympiad in Barbados, rushed from the boat to the meeting, won the 220 yards, placed second in the 440 yards handicap, and returned to the harbour to catch a boat which would get him back to Trinidad by Wednesday, in time to play for Everton. On another occasion he stayed long enough at the Oval to win his specialty, the 440 yards and cycled to the savannah just in time for the kick-off, where he scored Everton’s winning goal! In 1940 he joined Colts although past the age to be classified as one he certainly played as one.

In early 1944 he was selected to tour Barbados, where he impressed with his crossing-footed dribbling. Later that year, when Barbados and British Guiana visited, he gained selection to play against the latter. He was also honoured with the captaincy of the T.A.F.A. inter-league team against E.A.F.L. Two years later he gave up first Division football but had one last fling, returning in 1951 to play with Providence F.C., a youthful team from the Woodbrook area, where he spent all his years. He had thus played serious football over four decades.

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