Football has always been known as the beautiful game. But now it’s going to get itself a tan, unwind on the beach and become the gorgeous game. Barbados as a country is extremely honoured to be the first venue for this very prestigious event which will see the classic style of play, strength and goal scoring ability of some of the best players of the past decade in the English premiership.
Barbados, a tiny island of only 166 sq miles or 21 miles long and a smile wide as we say – is synonymous with its love of cricket, being the birthplace of several outstanding cricketers like Sir Garry sobers, the 3 W’s, Big Bird Joel Garner and the illustrious opening partnership of Haynes and Greenidge – yet what most people are not aware of – is that we Bajans have always loved football too.
I certainly can remember as a child growing up in Barbados having to sit down quietly on a Sunday evening when Road to Wembley was being aired and even to today, if you walk down St Lawrence Gap or Baxter’s Road, you’re just as likely to see Gianfranco Zola’s number 25 shirt or Alan Shearer’s #9 Newcastle shirt as Sir Garry Sobers’ West Indies shirt.
"Now, with the visit of these legends, football is poised to take centre stage."
Being able to field a team of legends of this calibre from the greatest clubs in the English premiership is an absolute honour – and whilst we continuously hear the negative stories of footballers in the press, what fails to be reported is the fact that these gentlemen dedicate an inordinate amount of their time to raising substantial amounts of money for charities, both local and national.
I am therefore humbled that they have now decided to put that ‘arsenal’ of support (and as an arsenal supporter – I promise you there is no pun intended) behind raising money for the National Sports Council’s primary schools football programme in Barbados – a programme which seeks to develop youth football within primary schools and various communities as well as to develop a healthy, disciplined and united society through greater participation and better opportunities in sport at ALL levels of society.
Barbados is currently ranked #131 in the FIFA rankings – breathing down the neck of England – and with the money raised from this tournament, we’re going to invest in the next generation of talent and go on the sort of mazy run up the rankings that John Barnes made so familiar in his playing days.
Ladies and gentlemen, against the backdrop of the world class Kensington Oval, let’s enjoy another chip from Andrew Cole like the one he executed against Everton which the Manchester United fans voted as their goal of the season or another Shearer hat-trick like that in his debut for Southampton in 1988.
Let’s see if arsenal can recreate their unbeaten run and for the Newcastle fans – we d love it, love it, if they win. It will be fun, it will be exciting and it s an event definitely not to be missed as we get another chance to applaud these giants who have made the game of football what it is today and in the words of the late giant Bill Shankly, OBE – some people think football is a matter of life and death – I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.
My overwhelming thanks go out to the PFA, to Christian and Colin for believing in this event and making it a reality and to our sponsors, British Airways – the world’s favourite airline, Almond resorts – the premier all inclusive resorts and Kensington Oval – and of course to all the wonderful players who have given of their time to make this event such a success. Barbados thanks you.
This is an event not to be missed. We look forward to your support in telling everyone about it and look forward to seeing you there!!!
Sales and Marketing, UK