Soccer

Peacock pivotal to Hotels’ glory

  • Golden era: Alan Peacock, centre, captained and coached Hotels International during their trophy-laden years in the 1970 and 1980s

Hotels International lost a third stalwart in the space of 12 years with the passing of Alan Peacock, who died of a suspected heart attack in Miami at the age of 69 last week.

His death follows the passing of Frankie Brewster, a former Bermuda defender, at the age of 55 in 2005 and English midfielder Billy Abley, who died in Liverpool in 2013 after a long battle with cancer. He was aged just 61.

Hotels, who dropped out of the league in 1993 when still in the top flight, won numerous titles in the 1970s and 1980s after claiming a first league championship in 1975, Peacock’s first season with the club.

“I met him in 1974 when he first came to the island,” Bruno Fiocci, a former Hotels manager, said. “He was playing rugby for Renegades. John Lowe, my neighbour, told me he was a rugby player. We introduced him to Hotels and he was an outstanding player. We were lucky to have him.

“He was a good captain and, for me, a great coach. He was the best coach I ever met. He really knew football.”

Fiocci, who managed Hotels from 1972 to 1985, remembers some wonderful years at Hotels, one of the top teams at the time with players such as goalkeeper Sam Nusum, Robert Calderon, captain Brewster, David Kneisler, Kaz Reizner, Ian Morrison, Tony Greaves, Coolridge Bell, Anthony Dill, Eddie Simpson, Myron Piper, Allan DeSilva, Stan Young, Eric Levon and Stanley Ray, who were part of the team that won a second title in 1979-80. Peacock, a midfielder and captain, was the player-coach that season.

“In those days we had a very good team and practically won everything,” Fiocci said. “It was a wonderful time.”

News of Peacock’s passing was a great shock to Fiocci.

“I had no words when Derek Scott called me on Wednesday morning,” he said. “You can imagine how I felt. I just had a conversation with Alan at the [World] Rugby Classic and we were supposed to go over to England in February to watch Bristol City play. That was his team. His father was a pro footballer, so it was in his blood.”

Peacock’s father, Ernie, was a midfielder for Notts County and Bristol City. David Lopes, who was the Hotels assistant manager during the 1970s and 80s, was also shocked to hear the news. “I was talking to one of the employees at Colonial just three or four weeks ago and he said that Alan was getting ready to retire.

“Derek Scott called me yesterday and asked if I heard the bad news,” said the veteran radio announcer. “This comes as a shock. The last time I bumped into him we had a chat as all former Hotels players do.

“Alan was a tenacious player, who knew the game and coached for a short time. The players went out there on the field to win. There were no barriers, the foreign and local players all gelled.”

Scott, who worked with Peacock at Colonial, said: “He was just a footballing brain, knew how to play the game in midfield. He could have played professionally in any league. He had a love of football like his father. A lot of us enjoyed the fact that he tried to take the game to another level here and Hotels gave him the platform to do that.

“Hotels, were a formidable team. Alan was my inspiration. He played with some of our finest players, in the era when football was of the best standard, with George Brangman, Randy Horton, Jimmy Parsons and [Ralph] “Gumbo” Bean. We called him the ‘red-haired wonder’. Back then, they were a well run team and that’s why we were successful.”

Ricky Hill, who joined Hotels in 1982, knew Peacock as a team-mate, coach and colleague at Colonial, where the Englishman was the chief executive officer.

Peacock used his contacts in England to help bring teams like Aston Villa to the island in the 1980s when Hotels and Somerset played them at BAA Field.

“My condolences go out to his family; his son Jonathan also works here at Colonial,” Hill said. “I’m still trying to process the whole thing. He had strong principles and morals, was intellectual on world events, sports and politics. I had the opportunity to go to Bristol and met his family. I knew Alan in so many different capacities, as a work colleague and CEO and became very close friends with him. I knew him as a tough player, no nonsense and very skilful. He had a great shot from anywhere around the 18-yard box.

“He was a really good coach; work ethic was what he concentrated on and he was technically very organised. He was probably the best coach I played under, domestically. I thought at one time he should have been the coach of the national team. Hotels had a lot of success under the leadership of Alan and eventually he became the president.”

Hotels also won the FA Cup in 1984-85 when they beat PHC Zebras in the final, and the Friendship Trophy in 1982-83 when they defeated Vasco. They lost to Devonshire Colts in the 1973-74 final and PHC in the 1987-88 final. Hotels won the Martonmere Cup twice, in 1981-82 and 1983-84 and lost in two other finals in 1975-76 and 1988-1989.