By Neto Baptiste
Former national footballer, David “Tull” Warner, who was a key figure behind the formation and early dominance of the Lion Hill football team in the late ‘70s, said that when he and others decided to pursue the undertaking, they had no clue that it would have evolved into such a dominant force in local football.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Warner who now resides in the US, recounted the journey of setting up what later became a household name in Antigua’s football.
“It took a lot of improvisation because it was a small field and there was a sandpit almost in the middle of the field but we just made-do with what we had. We asked Veron [Edwards Sr] to come along and Veron took charge of the team until I took over for a little bit. I didn’t foresee the type of impact the team would have had, but we had a good core of players and we knew when we got the players together and added some unity and some chemistry that we would have been a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
Lion Hill, a team that won two top flight championships spanning 10 years, soon produced some of the big names in Antigua’s football like Ivor “Ninja” Luke, Peter Henry and others.
“There was a time when we had players from English Harbour, players from Pares Village, but before I left Super Stars and went [to Lion Hill], Lion Hill was already in process. So when I left Super Stars to go back to Lion Hill, I had to write an application to join Lion Hill, seriously write an application to join Lion Hill,” he said.
As for their rivalry with the successful Empire team, Warner said that was an orchestrated move by some players within the Lion Hill set up.
“There was a Grays Green league that was very good at the time. We had a team from Ottos called Original Lions and there was Express and a bunch of teams. So, when Lion Hill came, we used to walk through Grays Farm, the whole of our team and it used to [upset] the Empire supporters but it was all in good fun,” he said.
Lion Hill captured titles in 1983 and then again in the 1993/94 season.