By Neto Baptiste
The Five Islands football players, in their heyday, were fuelled by public doubt that the team could not succeed at the highest level based on its geographical location.
This is according to former national and Five Islands’ striker, Everton “Evie” Richardson, who said players were out to prove they were just as talented and competitive as others in the Premier Division despite hailing from a small and relatively unpopular part of the island at that time.
“People used to say that Five Islands is behind God’s back so we were defending Five Islands. It was never about us, it was about the village and even on the playing field we always reminded each other that it is Five Islands this is about, not about us as individuals, so let’s plant Five Islands on the map, full-stop,” he said.
Asked about the now infamous post-game five between some fans and players of both the Five Islands and Villa Lions teams back in 1983, Richardson describes it as one of those moments he would rather forget.
“That was the only time I ever got a red card in my footballing career, that same game, and the incident happened after the game but I was already on the bench and I got a punch in my mouth and got a red card for receiving a punch. It was an unfortunate situation caused by a spectator and a lot of people got hurt and these are the kind of things that you don’t really want to see them but it happens,” the former player said.
The incident cost Five Islands that year’s title after they were fined $500 and stripped of three crucial points. It meant that Lion Hill Spliff, with 43 points, were declared champions while Empire with 42 points were runners-up. Five Islands finished third with 41 points.
Richardson, who was also considered a top cricketer here, said a lack of time has kept him from transitioning into coaching.
“If I am going to coach it will take planning and with the amount of planning that would be involved I think it would have interfered with my substantive job so I took up management because I didn’t want to leave it alone but the more technical aspect I just never got into that,” he said.
Richardson was also served as a VP on the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s executive in the late 90s.