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Glenn ‘Gappa’ Wade (1939-2020)

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A great among greats who dazzled on the pitch “when football was football” has died.

Glenn “Gappa” Wade, a stalwart for three decades with Pembroke Juniors and Dock Hill Rangers from the 1950s, was 80.

Wade was a dominant figure, especially alongside the mercurial Bayfield Clarke during their time together at Dock Hill Rangers, the Pembroke club that would become the forerunner to modern-day champions North Village Rams.

The legendary striker was known for his versatility as a player, and he and Clarke formed a deadly partnership, with Wade often getting his name on the scoresheet.

Fellow footballer Quinton Mallory played with Wade in the Dock Hill area as a youngster.

He remembers Wade having broken into senior football with Pembroke Juniors in the 1950s from age 15, alongside his own brother, Ralph Mallory.

He said: “We used to play games around Dock Hill, and he was good even then. He was above the average. I lost track of him for a while when he went to Pembroke Juniors.”

Dock Hill Rangers grew in prominence, winning the FA Cup in 1959, and Wade joined shortly after. Mr Mallory said: “He was a striker, we called them centre forward or inside [forward], and he was very good as a set-up man.

“He had a great spirit; he was good with the ball, and I never really saw him angry. If he missed, he would not complain.”

Mr Mallory added: “When it came for him to shoot the ball, he would get goals. But he would pass it if he thought someone else was in a better position. He had a good temperament that way.”

The Clarke-Wade duo were “exciting” to see in action, and were rigorous in training.

He added: “Those two were very hard to stop. They would crisscross with the ball and know just where to go on the attack.”

Mr Mallory said Wade could often be found “kicking the ball into the night” at Bernard Park.

He said: “Many times after it rained, that would flood with water. That's where we got used to playing on a wet surface.

“I don't recall losing any games if it was raining.”

Mr Mallory said the nickname of “Gappa” came from Wade's love of banter with his team-mates.

He said: “We said he was gapping all the time because he talked a lot.”

Quinton “Tiny” Ming recalled Wade as a player who “represented Bermuda well”.

He said: “He knew exactly what to do — he hit it and the ball was in the net.”

Mr Ming added that Wade's reputation was well deserved and that his name sat comfortably with the other top players of the day — Calvin “Bummy” Symonds and Earl “Townsey” Russell.

“If you mentioned those guys, Gappa's name had to be there in the conversation. He was that good.”

He knew what to do with a ball: former national footballer Glenn “Gappa” Wade, front row, second left, is shown with the Dock Hill Rangers football team in 1959. Dock Hill Rangers evolved into North Village Community Club (Photograph supplied)
Glenn “Gappa” Wade is shown at second from left, in this photograph of an unknown team, believed to be a Bermuda Select team near the end of segregation in the 1960s (Photograph submitted)

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Published April 28, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 28, 2020 at 9:04 am)

Glenn ‘Gappa’ Wade (1939-2020)

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