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Dandy Town to retire shirt number in memory of former players

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In memory: In memory: Dandy Town will retire the No 16 shirt, in tribute of three former players, including Jahtino Richardson-Martin, who all died on Bermuda’s roads (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Western Stars Sports Club president Devar Boyles

Plans are afoot to officially retire the number 16 jersey among the senior football ranks at Dandy Town.

The idea came in the wake of the death of former player Jahtino Richardson-Martin, who succumbed to injuries suffered in a road collision earlier this month.

“It was floored at the executive meeting, and there’s going to be further dialogue, but I would imagine that it is going to be supported,” Devar Boyles, the Western Stars Sports Club president, under whose auspices Dandy Town fall, confirmed.

“No official decision has been taken but certainly I think that it would happen as far as the jersey being retired.

“It’s just how the club wants to go about doing that in a way that’s going to be tasteful to all of the families that have been impacted by this.

“We are trying to go through exactly what that looks like, that’s tasteful and in these economic times to also decide the budget.”

Richardson-Martin, who played both in defence and midfield, became the island’s fifteenth road fatality this year after his motorcycle was in a collision with a car near the Rubis Terceira’s gas station on North Shore Road, Smith’s on November 3.

Coincidentally, he is the third Town player after Jerome Belboda and Randy Swan to have worn the number 16 jersey and died in road crashes.

“It’s just eerie how they are connected like that, the parallels of wearing that number,” Boyles, the former Town and Bermuda midfielder, added. “It’s just crazy.

“People snatched in the prime of their life and, all of them, from a sporting standpoint in the club’s eyes, would have went on to do some huge things.

“JB [Belboda] was being groomed to be the next sweeper and Randy [Swan] was an unsung hero in his all action defending. Now Jahtino Richardson-Martin is the exact same thing and I really feel that he had a range of passing that you hadn’t seen in a while in Bermuda.

“He could really ping the ball with both feet and in my eyes Jahtino would’ve been the next captain without a shadow of a doubt.”

The club had intentions of retiring the number 16 jersey after Swan’s death in 2004 which never came to fruition.

“To be quite frank I can’t recall all the details,” Boyles said. “I know at that particular time the club had a willingness to do that but I don’t think it was ratified at the executive level.

“It wasn’t a kneejerk reaction. It was a genuine reaction and if it was done correctly, in my opinion, the jersey would not have been worn up until now.

“So now we are trying to make sure that it’s done and the only way to do that is to put it in the minutes of an executive meeting and then bring it to the members properly.

“Then everybody knows its public, it’s public information and it’s a bigger awareness about it and it’s done.”

Boyles pointed out that the retiring of the number 16 jersey will not apply to the club’s youth teams. He also revealed additional plans to honour the other club players who have lost their lives on Bermuda’s roads.

“What we are trying to do is be a bit retroactive and going back and touch the other families that wore that jersey but also to go even further than that to kind of do everybody,” he added.

“It’s very ambitious what this administration is trying to do but we will see where it really takes us.

“We know that the Richardson-Martin family will be the first to benefit from the club’s position but the intention is to do everyone from road fatalities.

“It might not necessarily have been a person wearing number 16 but people who made an impact.”Boyles said the club is still coming to terms with the wake of Richardson-Martin’s death.

“Certainly I know he meant a lot and it goes really, really deep,” he added. “At this particular point we’re [executives] finding a way to cope and they’re [players] finding a way to cope and just letting the bereavement process continue.

“This has really been a difficult one but credit to them they decided to play.

“The service was on Saturday [November 13] and the team showed up on Sunday and they found a way.

“That’s very encouraging and we’re hoping that football keeps them going because sports have a way of helping people in some really fantastic ways.

“We’re hoping that football will be the panacea to help the club heal and ultimately Bermuda because we are losing too many people to road fatalities, particularly young people.”

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Published November 27, 2021 at 7:50 am (Updated November 29, 2021 at 8:00 am)

Dandy Town to retire shirt number in memory of former players

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