Soccer

Tenth Corona season launched with a twist

  • Up for the cup: league champions West End United get the season under way tonight at Goose Gosling Field against cup winners Robin Hood (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The Corona League plans to pull out all the stops as it launches its tenth season, starting with the Coronita Charity Cup tonight between league champions West End United and cup winners Robin Hood.

The competition, which was the brainchild of Mike McGrath, Charles Gosling and John Burcher after the Bermuda Football Association discontinued the Commercial League, has grown in leaps and bounds — making Goose Gosling Field the go-to place for “alternative” football and a good family day or night out.

A new league structure will be introduced that takes a page out of the book of the Scottish Premiership in that, after each of the eight teams have gone through the schedule twice, the league will be divided in two. Aside from greater competitiveness at all levels, it will give the weaker teams added incentive of the “wooden spoon” to play for.

“The league has gone down to the wire repeatedly, so why not enjoy that action a little more with the mini-leagues deciding things,” McGrath said.

Another wrinkle is the reintroduction of a Champions League-style format for the Corona Cup, with two groups of four playing three rounds, followed by semi-finals on March 8 and the final on April 5 to conclude the season.

The eight registered teams are BAA Wanderers, Flanagan’s Onions, Footy Kings, Lock & Key, Robin Hood, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Tuff Dogs and West End United.

Matches will be played on Friday nights at 7.00 and 9.00, and on Saturdays at 3pm and 5pm.

League action begins on October 12, but first there is the matter of Robin Hood versus West End United at 7pm tonight. “Corona Extra’s little sister, Coronita, allows us to give back to the community that enjoys and supports the Corona League,” McGrath added, with a nod to the sponsor.

The monthlong Christmas break, from December 1 to January 4, is one to spread envy throughout Europe, where many feel highly paid professional footballers are overworked, especially success-starved England teams, and have less in the tank for the business end of the season.

But McGrath and Co are determined the Corona League’s band of thirtysomethings and older will stay the course. “There will be plenty of drama and exciting football on the journey,” he said in a release.

“I would like to thank the board members for all the hard work they do, donating their time to make the league what it is. Obviously a big thank you to our sponsors who work so hard with us to create an enjoyable league for the players and the community.

“I would especially like to thank Gosling’s, who have been with us since Day 1, and to everyone who has contributed to getting us to our tenth season.”