Boyce has made us proud
EMMERSON?BOYCE has made every Barbadian proud on two fronts.
The mere fact that he captained Barbados in the most recent World Cup campaign must have brought immense joy to us when his English Premier League side, Wigan qualified to play in the FA Cup final.
That a Bajan was actually the captain of a Premier League outfit carried additional status and pomp.
I am sure that there are other players who would have craved the honour of wearing the captain’s armband so that he was the chosen one could only mean that he displayed exceptional leadership qualities on and off the field.
I believe I speak with authority when I opine that Boyce is the first West Indian to captain a Premier League side although a handful may have had the distinction of leadership in lower divisions.
Of course, the greatest accolade comes with the fact that Wigan won the Cup against overwhelming favourites Manchester City. What a timely moment for Boyce and his colleagues because it was their first trophy in 81 years.
The victory in some ways is reminiscent of lowly-rated Sunderland, who caused perhaps the greatest upset in Cup history by shocking mighty Leeds, fielding several internationals, in the 1973 final.
Bob Stokoe became a hero much in the same way Ben Watson did for scoring the late goal that clinched the crown for Wigan.
The FA Cup final is perhaps the most glamorous football occasion in any of the domestic leagues in the world.
Wembley is transformed into a theatre of dreams and all the actors strive to leave in glory long after the curtains are closed. When it comes to prestige and bragging rights it doesn’t get any bigger than the FA Cup.
I said that to emphasize the importance and significance of Boyce’s achievement because honestly I don’t think many in our midst understood the meaning of the moment until the Bajan actually raised the Cup aloft.
Wigan became champions with their fate as a Premier League club for next season still very much in the balance. Yet Saturday’s triumph was worth more than a consolation to them even if they are relegated. It could have been the inspiration they needed to fight to the bitter end to stay among the big boys.
It would not surprise me if they avoid the drop as they have become past masters at the art of survival even if it’s the last day and last match of the campaign. As Bajans we would love to see Boyce lead them out in the Premiership next year because it is always very uplifting to see him wear that wrist band with the Barbados colours.
Lest we forget, Wigan’s owner, Dave Wheelan, also has business interests here.
I am glad, too, that the Barbados Football Association was able to produce the email they sent to Boyce prior to the Wembley final because as was reported he was very upset that he didn’t receive any kind of blessings from the association.
However, for some reason, the email, dated April 26, 2013 and sent to the club, didn’t reach Boyce before he made his displeasure public.
I would have been among those to give the BFA a red card if they had breached protocol in this matter.
Like the rest of the world, we spent last week reflecting on the masterful career of the great Sir Alex Ferguson, the now retired manager of Manchester United.
His incredible slate of silverware included 13 league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League crowns. And none of his achievements from his days in Scotland with Aberdeen are included among this list.
For me, he was the best man manager ever at club level. His skills weren’t tested at international level because he spent the last 26 years at Old Trafford which became his second home.
I always said to friends Sir Alex was United’s best player because once the head gets it right everything else falls into place.
Just maybe the calm leadership of Boyce did the trick for Wigan last Saturday.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced, award-winning freelance sports journalist. Email [email protected]