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Ray remembered as a top Rangers goalscorer

Ex-Happy Valley FC and Southampton Rangers footballer George Ray will be laid to rest following a home going service at Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church tomorrow.

The former striker passed away just weeks after celebrating his 81st birthday.

Ray spent the early part of his football career playing with Happy Valley FC in the former Bermuda Football League (BFL) before moving to Rangers after taking up residency in the parish of Southampton.

The well-known taxi driver scored a famous brace for Rangers against Sandys Boat Club in the semi-final of the inaugural FA Cup competition in the 1955-56 season to help his team advance to the final.

Rangers eventually lost 3-2 to BAA in the first FA Cup final at the former National Stadium in Prospect.

Ray also scored a memorable hat-trick for Valley in a 3-0 win against Rangers in a BFL ‘A’ match at the old Sports Arena.

Former team-mate, Eldon Raynor, described the striker as a gentleman both on and off the pitch.

“George was well respected and his sportsmanship on and off the field was great,” Raynor said. “He had very good skills and was one of the top footballers and it was an honour to play with him.

“He was definitely a top player who scored a lot of goals with his feet and head. He was also a very good fighter.”

Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame inductee Dennis Wainwright added: “I didn’t play during George’s era but I used to watch him play. He was a very good dribbler who could also shield the ball very well.

“He wasn’t very fast but he had great ball handling skills.”

Ray’s son, Michael, joked: “He wasn’t the prettiest footballer but he could get you a goal,”

After retiring from the game Ray kept himself in shape playing back-yard football with modern day players such as Cyril (Dago) Steede.

“He carried football boots and shorts in his taxi and every night he came home sweaty from playing football at either Bernard Park or Empires Field,” recalled Michael.

Ray is the uncle of former Rangers coach Rick Richardson who coached the club to their sole FA Cup triumph to date during the 1983-84 season.

Ray will be laid to rest on the same day Rangers will lock horns with Hamilton Parish in the Masters Knockout Final at Bernard Park.

George Ray (second from left in the back) shown here with former team Happy Valley FC

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Published March 31, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 31, 2012 at 8:44 am)

Ray remembered as a top Rangers goalscorer

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