Soccer

A ‘hard but fair’ tackler who put the team first

  • Village through and through: Irving ‘Jack’ Romaine was a member of the Bermuda team that won silver medal at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1967

North Village Community Club are mourning the death of club stalwart Irving “Jack” Romaine who achieved success as both a player and coach.

Romaine died last Thursday of complications from a stroke which he suffered several years ago. He was aged 74.

During his decorated playing career, Romaine was a talented and “no-nonsense” central defender. He played for Village from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s and was particularly renowned for his aerial prowess and a player who always put the team first.

“Jack was a no-nonsense type of guy who played the game hard but fair,” Ralph “Gumbo” Bean, the former Village forward, said.

“He was very strong in the air and a very tough tackler. He made the team much better when he was playing. I didn’t play with him that much because he was on his way out by the time I was coming through. But he always had the team’s best interests at heart. He was a team player.”

Wendell “Joe” Trott, the former Village defender and captain, described Romaine as a role model who led by example.

“Jack was a real tough boy who kept the young guys together,” Trott said. “He gave a lot of advice and not only told us, but showed us on the field what he expected from us.”

One of the highlights of Romaine’s career came at the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Canada, where he was a member of the Bermuda team that claimed the silver medal.

“He gets married one day and the next he leaves his wife to go to the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, which shows you just how much passion he had and how much he thought about the game,” Trott added.

Another career-defining moment was when Romaine was chosen as the top flight’s most valuable player.

“He was one of the first players to be voted MVP in the early 1970s playing for North Village back in the day when the sports editors used to make the selections and they had the award ceremony at the Ex-Artillerymen’s Association,” Sherwin Dill, the Village president, said.

“I was just coming into the team [as a midfielder] when he was going out. He was certainly a leader as a player and looked out for his team members.”

After hanging up his boots, Romaine enjoyed success as an assistant coach of the Village side that won the “Triple Crown” (League, FA Cup and Friendship Trophy) for the first time during the 1977-78 season. His younger sibling, Milgrove, was a member of that history-making team coached by Larry Smith.

“He is a legend of North Village Community Club, having won many awards over the years both as a player and a coach,” Dill added. “We are very proud of his achievements and the contribution he has made to the club.

“He was inducted into the North Village Hall of Fame in 2000 in appreciation of the contributions he had made to the club. We’re just happy to have been able to honour him whilst he was living.

“He will be certainly missed and the North Village Community Club family take this time to offer their most sincere condolences and prayers to his family.”