Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
The late Herbert George 'Dago' Gordon was recognised as a hero in sports for his beloved Boys' Town Football Club at the service of thanksgiving for his life at the Bethel Baptist Church in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, yesterday morning.
'Dago' as he was popularly known, died on November 17 at the Kingston Public Hospital.
Former Boys' Town and Jamaica midfielder Thomas McLean, in giving the eulogy, described Dago as "my hero". McLean also told the large gathering of mourners that, "I did not just see him as a footballer on the field. He was an entertainer. When we went to the Stadium, we did not go to the Stadium just to see Boys' Town or Jamaica. We went to see Dago,"
"Even when I am playing alongside him, it was all about Dago. He was also a very, very jovial person," McLean recounted.
GREATEST CLUB FINAL EVER
Looking back, McLean said: "The 1982-83 national league final against Harbour View at the National Stadium was, to me, the greatest club final in Jamaica ever. We were down 2-0 with about 10 minutes to go, and we got a throw-in and Dago came over to me and said, 'Throw the ball to me'. At the time, our fans who had packed the bleachers had given up and most left.
"Something strange happened, a change was supposed to be made for Dago to leave the game. He refused and we decided to continue. He knew something we didn't. I threw the ball to Dago and he took it and scored. Then we tied the game and won in the dying moments. That was the type of person Dago was, he never gave up," McLean, a former Camperdown High School Manning Cup star, said.
"On November 17, Dago played the game of his life and lost to complications of diabetes, and we weren't there for him. He was tired and gave up. We weren't there to support him," McLean said.
He also pointed out that, "There are many, many Dagos out there. A lot of persons who represented Jamaica and are in need of support. They are basically left alone. The journalists should highlight this. I remember earlier this year when a story ran about an Olympian who was homeless and selling bag juice on the streets."
"I am appealing to the JFF (Jamaica Football Association), and the other sporting bodies to support these persons, to help in whatever way possible. Let us take care of our own," McLean noted.
He called on the authorities to ensure that every former national player has access to games.
"Football did not start in 1998 in Jamaica. Every time it is mentioned that way. There are others like Dago who paved the way for those players who qualified Jamaica for the World Cup," he said.
Raymond Anderson, first vice-president of the JFF, apologised for the absence of his president, Captain Horace Burrell.
Anderson called on past players to get together and form a body to represent themselves. "Let us have a body in place, as the JFF is fully behind such a move," he declared.
HONOURING HIS MEMORY
"Dago was someone close to us. He was an advocate for past players. He has done his part to assist with Boys' Town. Now, something should be done in memory of Dago," Anderson said.
Clyde Jureidini, secretary of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), spoke on behalf of his organisation. He also apologised for the absence of PLCA chairman, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga.
"I know him (Dago) as a competitor from I was attending Excelsior High. He was a Manning Cup star who we followed. We looked up to Dago Gordon and others like Carl Brown and Derrick Denniser," Jureidini, who is general manager of Harbour View FC, said.
He also spoke of the epic battles between Boys' Town and Harbour View.
Former Boys' Town president Loxley Comrie gave a remembrance speech. Comrie said, "Dago was a star. He was the best wicketkeeper/batsman I have ever seen. He played one of the best innings in schoolboy cricket against a KC team that included Michael Holding."
Allan 'Skill' Cole, a former football star and close friend of Dago, read the first lesson.
The service was well attended by football players past and present from Boys' Town and other clubs. The officiating ministers were Rev Sydney Hall and Rev Michael Shim Hue.
Herbert Gordon, born November 7, 1953, was later laid to rest at Dovecot Memorial Park.