Legend of the game Russell is laid to rest
One of Bermuda's football legends was laid to rest yesterday when mourners turned out to pay their final respects to Earl “Townsey” Russell who died on August 30 at the age of 91.
Fittingly the service — because of Covid-19 restrictions — was held at the PHC Field where he played for many years and even up until last season could be seen sitting on the sidelines watching PHC Games.
“My grandfather lived to be 91, a football game last 90 minutes, so he played the whole match plus a minute of extra time,” said grandson Antwan Russell who carried on the footballing legacy started by his grandfather as a young player for Key West Rangers when football games were played on Thursday afternoons.
On Sunday, March 12, 1950, Key West Rangers beat Pembroke Juniors 4-3 to win the Bermuda Football League for the first time in their history. Russell went on to win four league titles with Key West Rangers.
In 1956-57, Key West Rangers joined with PHC and the talented team went on to become the FA Cup winners in their first season, beating Pembroke Juniors 4-3 in the final.
Cal “Bummy” Symonds, who spoke at yesterday's service along with another to footballer of the past, Clyde Best, who called Russell a hero of his when he starting playing for the Somerset Trojans.
Russell and Symonds helped PHC become the first team to win the league and FA Cup titles three consecutive years from 1959-60 to 1961-62.
Russell also had football-playing sons and grandsons follow him into the game, sons Derek, Dale and Michael, grandsons Tokia Russell, Dennis Russell, Maceo Dill, Blenn Bean, Kofi Dill, Antwan, and great grandson Marco Warren who currently plays for PHC.
Russell was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 while the Russell family also has the distinction of having three members inducted into the PHC Hall of Fame, Derek and Dale joining their dad.
A long time resident of Cedar Hill, Russell has just had a lane near his homestead named “Russell Way” by the Government in his memory. Internment following the memorial service at the Seventh Day Adventist cemetery in St George's.