By Neto Baptiste
The Empire Football Club, one of the country’s most successful teams with 13 Premier Division titles, turns 60 this year and a number of events have been planned to celebrate the milestone.
This is according to the chair of the club’s 60th Anniversary Organising Committee, Erica Edwards, who said a number of the club’s former members and players are expected to return home for the occasion. Planned events will include a number of matches and off the field activities starting July 30th.
“We’re starting off with a food and craft fair down in King George, so we’re going to have the shellfish, the local foods, the rice pudding and everything! People are coming — former Empire players — and we want to make sure that it kicks off with them being able to eat the food they don’t get to eat a lot and also to support our community vendors,” she said.
The public will get their first taste of football right after the Carnival celebrations, on August 3rd, when two longtime rivals from the Grays Green community clash at the King George V Grounds.
“We’re going to have our feature match, the Grays Green Derby, where Empire meets Hoppers. So, we are going to see who is going to be the best of the west on that night.
“On the 4th, which is the Thursday, the ladies take centre stage, so we’ll have Trendsetters — who were formerly the Empire team — they are going to be meeting the Ottos Tigress,” Edwards said.
The curtains will come down on the celebrations with a grand banquet slated for August 6th but on the day before that, fans will see “the best of Empire past” battle the current team.
Edwards said a number of former top players to include Andy “Gantone” Nesbitt, Lenny Quashie and others are expected to be on show.
“On the Friday … we’re going to have the past players meeting the current Empire team, which should be interesting. We have a very young team … but we are going to couple it with some of our best stars from Empire past, so that’s going to be an exciting night. We will end on August 6th with the anniversary banquet at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in the VIP Lounge, starting from 7pm,” Edwards said.
Tickets for the banquet cost $150 and can be purchased from members of the committee or by calling 728-5307.