Sat, Dec

Ethelbert Thompson

Ethelbert Thompson NicknameBertie
Date of Birth
Place of Birth Woodbrook, Trinidad and Tobago
Caps/Goals4    ( 1 goals)
Last ClubProvidence FC (1951)
Previous ClubsBelmont Colts (1940), Prisons (1934), Everton, Myrtle FC
SchoolsMoulton Hall Methodist Primary

When someone grows up around a sporting arena like the Queen's Park Oval it is difficult to avoid any activity connected with sport. Until recently, the Oval, although privately owned, was the mecca not only for Cricket, but Athletics, Boxing, Cycling and Football. "Bertie" who lived on nearby White Street, began visiting the Oval as soon as he was old enough to go there unsupervised. He attended Moulton Hall Methodist School, which did not have facilities for athletics, but he showed his football prowess, and represented the school as a forward in that branch of sport. He continued to pursue his athletic interests but found he could mix them with football, so at age 17 he played Second Division football for Myrtle F.C. Two years later he joined the famed Everton Football Club and his connections ended after three seasons when the club was suspended from the League.

This prompted him to return to the Second Division and he joined former club mate, Arthur Maynard on the Prisons team. While campaigning in the lower division, he gained selection on the Trinidad & Tobago team, which toured Jamaica in 1935.

By this time he was making a name in athletics. In 1930 he won the half-mile in the game record time of 2 min. 03.4 seconds. The following year he equalled Ben Sealey's 440 yards record of 50.8 seconds and lowered his 880 yards record to 20.01.2 in winning both events. He was also a member of the T.A.A.C. In 1932 he was also victorious in both the quarter mile and half-mile races, a feat he repeated a year later. After four successive wins in the half mile, he tasted defeat from Hypolite Sosa, who later became a famous local miler. In 1935, although ìBertieî stretched his quarter mile triumph to six straight, he was again second over the longer distance this time to Carlton Gooding, who reduced the record time to 2 minutes flat. A year later they both set records in winning their respective events, Thompson achieving the Quarter mile in 50 seconds and Gooding going under the 2-minute mark for the first time by any local athlete 1.59.8. When, in 1937, ìBertieî won the quarter mile for the eighth successive year, he became a possible candidate for the British Empire Games to be held in Sydney, Australia in 1938. Four years earlier, when the games were staged in London, England, he missed out, as the private sponsor could only manage tour expenses for one athlete and Mannie Dookie gained the nod. In 1938 Felix Harding won the 440 yards flat, so Bertie could no longer be considered for the B.E. games, which were attended by sprinter J.R.N. Cumberbatch.

He had some close calls in trying to blend Athletics with football. On one occasion he played a Football game for Everton on Friday, left on Saturday for an athletic Olympiad in Barbados, rushed from the boat to the meeting, won the 220 yards, placed second in the 440 yards handicap, and returned to the harbour to catch a boat which would get him back to Trinidad by Wednesday, in time to play for Everton. On another occasion he stayed long enough at the Oval to win his specialty, the 440 yards and cycled to the savannah just in time for the kickoff, where he scored Everton's winning goal! In 1940 he joined Colts although past the age to be classified as one he certainly played as one. In early 1944 he was selected to tour Barbados, where he impressed with his crossing-footed dribbling. Later that year, when Barbados and British Guiana visited, he gained selection to play against the latter. He was also honoured with the captaincy of the T.A.F.A. inter-league team against E.A.F.L. Two years later he gave up first Division football but had one last fling, returning in 1951 to play with Providence F.C., a youthful team from the Woodbrook area, where he spent all his years. He had thus played serious football over four decades.
(T&T Sports Hall of Fame bio)