December 23, 2009
National Football Title goes to Paul’s Avenue

The champagne did not pop, the confetti did not float, but the smiling faces of the Avenues Football Team and their supporters told the story of what it means to be crowned the 2009 National Lotteries Authority National Club Premier Division Champions.{{more}}

Last week Wednesday night at the Victoria Park, Avenues etched their name on that division’s trophy, with a 4-2 win over a spirited J G and Sons Stingers outfit.

The reality of claiming the title, the bragging rights, the sizeable cash prize, and the other silverware that come with it were secondary to what it meant to the Kingstown community, which over the years has been stigmatized because of social issues.

Manager of the Avenues outfit Marvin Fraser did not hide his elation when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT.

“I am elated. It is not just a victory for as footballers, but for the community as a whole,” Fraser said.

He claimed that it was not an easy road, as they had to largely do it on their own, as the team does not carry a title sponsor.

Fraser said that much of the financial help came from the bowels of Paul’s Avenue itself.

He singled out a former resident of Paul’s Avenue Jimi Jack, who is residing in the USA; Michael “Kye” Sylvester of Kye’s Vegetarian Cuisine and Grantley “Ipa” Constance, as the persons who came forward in their time of need.

“The victory also shows to those persons whom we had looked to for sponsorship, that they now will come on board and assist us,” Fraser, also a Committee Member of the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, pleaded.

Joining with Fraser in showering praises on the footballers was Marlon Stevenson, another of the leading lights in the Paul’s Avenue community.

“It is a feel good moment personally for me and a boost in the confidence for the people, who sometimes just hear about guys from the area getting locked up,” Stevenson said with some gratification.

“It also has put a pep in our steps to get the playing field going, because if the guys can do this without a playing field, what will happen if they get one?” Stevenson, who is the head of a committee charged with the responsibility of overseeing the establishment of a sporting facility in the vicinity of the Bishop’s College grounds in Kingstown, added.

Former Avenues player Alphonso ” Tilly” Smith was equally delighted at the feat.

” I feel great, as we are one of the long standing clubs, and it puts the community on a high”, Smith said with some appreciation for the club’s efforts.

” It is good to know that the old teams can still win, make us happy”, he added.

Smith is looking forward to Avenues coming up against oppositions outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to show their worth.

On that memorable night, Avenues’ title was almost sealed with first half goals from Benford Joseph and Kimani Small. However, Stingers, through a Vicascie Davy penalty and a superbly taken right footer from Cleus Codougan, had put things on level pegging.

But Romano Snagg with a brace ensured the Paul’s Avenue outfit could celebrate the title, although they still have one game in hand. The win pushed Avenues to 28 points.

The 41-year-old Avenues outfit drew one match, and that was against System 3, who completed their eleven matches with a total of 25 points.

Trailing them are Hope International, Prospect United, Je Belle, Camdonia Chelsea, Toni Stores Jugglers, Zodiac, J G and Sons Stingers, and Cane End, in that order.

In the First Division, BESCO Pastures and K & R Strikers are the two set for Premier Division action next time around, as United Force and Predators.

The championships are expected to resume early in the new year, with the remaining fixtures to be completed in both divisions as the final standings are determined.

Avenues, after the thrill of winning local Football’s premier title sinks home, will have to get things in order, as they set their sights on getting prepared to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines at regional club competitions.