St. John's Sports and Hurricane

During the period between 1960 and leading up to 1970, at the end of each football season, you can bet that the two remaining teams of the Grenada Football Association (GFA) that would eventually be playing in the final were Victoria’s Hurricane and their Green Jersey and Gouyave’s St. John’s Sports Club with the familiar Blue and White striped Jersey.

The game was usually played on a Sunday afternoon to culminate the end of the football season and to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy this spectacular day of football. The intensity was our Grenada’s version of a Manchester United versus Arsenal at Old Trafford and was not devoid of the hype and hysteria that went with it.

And for the days/weeks leading up to that game, the busses leaving Victoria on their way to St, Georges would slow down on the Lance, and Down Street, enough for their passengers to trade and exchange words of torment and mockery with Gouyaverians with “words” and “tone” that was familiar to all football loving fans. You could have heard them shouting, “ all you getting lix! for so!” some screaming “lix in all you

aaaaaaaaaa*” with others saying “ all you bache!, we geeing all four! In all you tail”. Needless to say the response coming from US was of similar tone, with references being made to each other’s Mother and every private part they possess. These words were exchanged, not with any intent of hostility and hatred for each other, but with a sense of pride, passion, respect and adoration that the two parishes shared and continue to share for each other up to this day.

This was football time and all around Grenada, football lovers were about to be treated with ninety minutes of seeing some of the best talented players Grenada could have offered and no one in their right mind would have denied themselves of this treat.

From Victoria, you had the George Brothers (Alston, Ashley and Tompaign) with others like Motel, Arthur Fletcher, Steve Mack and Float(their Goalkeeper) while Gouyave possessed the two guns of Dyer Marquez, (macay),Don George (euh-e, who had defected some years earlier from Victoria) Alfred Phillip(doh-laff, the Engineer) and George Glean(du-boot) with Seon Frank (Frankie) as our Goalkeeper.

On the evening of the match, one could have observed the procession of busses leaving St. Georges, all heading North to the venue of the day. Those from Grenville would traverse the island by coming from “over the hills” and down the Closier route. For Sauters, it would be a straight drive South on the Western main road to either Victoria or Gouyave. They would come on foot, Bicycles, “hop a ride” on the way, but all roads on that afternoon would lead to Gouyave or Victoria.

And as it was customary in tradition between the two parishes, the usual “Cheer Leaders” of both teams went the extra mile to instill fear in each other players by inciting the spectators into a frenzied level of torment and noise-making. In Victoria, it was Conch shell, whistle, singing, dancing and the ultimate (if Victoria had scored first) was the effigy of the coffin draped in blue and white to signify the death of St. John’s Sports followed by a precession around the field by the Hurricane diehard supporters.

In Gouyave, we tormented them by cutting pieces of Glory Cedar wood and using them for support as we stand around the field “grand-charging” and shouting to their players “we may lose de game, but we en go loose de war.”

It was the height in football madness but Hurricane had the edge on us in playing the psychological game of football which eventually had led them to defeating us more often and with a much weaker team. They knew how to do it and were masters in the promotion of fanfare.

But the final of 1965(I believe) was a game that would go down in infamy as the result left many a Gouyaverians wanting to jump from Lance Bridge into the river to end it all. The fact that I cannot remember what year it was is indicative of the emotional and psychological scar that game left on me, that even today, the pains of the result of that match, still remains.

That one was played in Windsor Park in Gouyave with the usual and customary carnival atmosphere attributed to it. Cuthbert Peters (schuff) was the Referee or as some would say, “Gouyave twelfth man” (if you know what I mean) and in a game so emotionally charged, Gouyave was poised to give Victoria a good licking.

We scored first, on one of Doh-laf’s specialized “tru passes” to Macay who went on to “bend the ball” around Float’s head and into the far upright corner of the net, and as was customary, our fans ran onto the field in great jubilation to congratulate him.

We then scored a second, third and fourth and Windsor Park began to literally shake. And at the whistle signifying the end of the first half we were up four to nil and Hurricane was dead today.

Pandemonium began as Gouyave fans began to salivate at the thought that Hurricane was about to be treated like raw meat and be devoured by the Tigers of St. John’s Sport.

“sen message to dem in Grampovia, tell dem we mudderin! dey ‘so an so’ today” some of our fellers shouted.

“dey deeead!,dey deeead” you could have heard Tony Marqs shouting from the sidelines.

The second half began with Victoria’s Ashley George almost decapitating our Seon Frank’s head with a left footer. He then went on again to send a bullet passed Seon, one that if he had touched were sure to fracture at least five of his ribs or sever his arms from his body.

Hurricane came back and gave St. John’s Sports five in the second half and went on to win that game.

It was a sad day to see the procession of Gouyaverians leaving Winsor Park with our Glory Cedar in hand to support our bodies from falling along the way as we proceed up to the Lance.

It was probably one of the sadist days in Gouyave I could remember and up to this day, my Victorian friends never allowed me to forget about it.

Gouyaveman, 22nd May 06 ©