Seba - North Gully's pride and joy
Published: Wednesday | March 11, 2009
Dennis Barton, the founder and president of Seba United. - file photos
When late publisher Dennis Barton chose to ignore the stigma shrouding poverty-ridden North Gully, Montego Bay, and formed Seba United in June 1972, many must have considered him crazy.
Because of its string of achievements over the last 37 years, Seba United's legacy has not only proved Barton's detractors wrong, but stands as a memorial to his faith.
Seba's two National Premier League titles - won in 1986-87, when they became the first rural team to be crowned national champions, and 1996-97 - have earned them a place among the elite clubs in local football. On a larger scale, it has covered North Gully and St James in glory.
In their first season as a Division Two outfit in 1972-73, they finished second in the competition and were promoted to Division One. As an inexperienced unit, they struggled somewhat but came of age in 1975-76, emerging St James champion for the first time.
By 1976-77, Seba United had not only crowned themselves western champions, after defeating the likes of Reno FC, Village United and Brazil FC of St Ann to win the Carl Chang Trophy, but had earned a place in the National Premier League, joining the elite clubs in national football.
Reggae Boy, the late Steve 'Shorty' Malcolm, was one of Seba's brightest stars.
Since 1977, Seba have won all the major competitions they have competed for - both at the parish and national levels - and have the distinction of representing Jamaica in the CONCACAF regional tournament against the top teams across the Caribbean.
In addition to the numerous titles they have won over the years, Seba United also have the distinction of producing some of the nation's finest footballers. The who's who list includes Jamaica's 1998 World Cup hero Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore; Jamaica's all-time leading goal-scorer Paul 'Tegat' Davis; midfield geniuses Hector Wright, Alton 'Noah' Sterling and Allan Latty; gutsy warrior, the late Stephen 'Shorty' Malcolm; and goalkeeper Devon Dunkley.
Whereas Seba United have seen lean times on the playing field since their last national title in 1996-97, they have been making positive strides in other areas. They now have their own football facility in Tucker, St James. The facility includes a modern gymnasium, living quarters for the players and a stadium that is under construction.
After nearly 40 years of solid achievements on and off the field, Seba still have their eyes on the goal - a return to being kingpins of Jamaican football.