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"A thoughtful and timely piece of work which should make a major contribution to the continuing debate about the impact of West Indian cricket, and appeal to cricket fans and non-cricket afficionados alike".
Lord Bill Morris of Handsworth OJ.

“Colin has brought out, with tremendous power and depth, how important the achievements of West Indian cricket were to the self-respect and sense of identity of West Indian people in Britain”.
Clem Seecharan, Emeritus Professor of History, London Metropolitan University.

“Colin Babb has brought warmth, understanding and insight to this deftly observed account of West Indian cricket in England. He is a first-hand witness of part of a unique cricket journey and They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun is a tasty broth of cricket history, anecdote and personal reflection. It deserves to be savoured”.
Simon Lister, author of Fire in Babylon: How the West Indies Cricket Team Brought a People to its Feet, and Supercat: The authorised biography of Clive Lloyd.

“I feel that without this book, a significant and very important part of British and Caribbean history would go amiss. Sincere thanks for a well-researched and very enjoyable piece of work".
Karen Hunte, Chair, Caribbean Politics, British Political Studies Association.

Extract from They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun by Colin Babb (Hansib Publications)

I attended the first day of the 1984 Lord’s test, which I distinctly remember as being Chris Broad’s debut match for England. As soon as I had obtained clearance from my manager at work, I dashed off to watch coverage of the last day of the match in comfort on television at home. A few years earlier, our family had moved out of social housing and progressed to a neat three-bedroom, owner-occupied, house in semi-suburban south London.

The house also included a traditional West Indian-migrant-in-Britain front room with a pristine sofa, a glass cabinet, a music centre, and awards, ornaments, photographs and special possessions on display. The front room was typically used only for specific occasions, including special visits by family and friends. Gordon Greenidge, ably supported by Larry Gomes, who Tony Cozier described as the ‘glue’ in the West Indies middle-order batting line-up throughout the series, produced one of the most destructive batting performances I’ve seen in test cricket. Greenidge scored 214 not out in West Indies’ second innings to win the match.

Basil-Butcher

Basil Butcher in Watooka, Guyana, 2014

Contributors to They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun include:

Former West Indies cricketers Jimmy Adams, Ian Bradshaw, Basil Butcher, Winston Davis, Vasbert Drakes, Lance Gibbs and Deryck Murray.

Former England cricketers Ebony Rainford-Brent, Gladstone Small and Alex Tudor.

Harold 'Dickie' Bird, former cricket umpire and President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Tony Cozier, the late West Indian cricket journalist, author and broadcaster.

Sam King, ex-RAF who arrived in England on the Windrush and attended the historic 1950 West Indies win at Lord’s.

Lord Bill Morris of Handsworth OJ.

Trevor Nelson, BBC DJ and broadcaster.

Mike Phillips, author, journalist and broadcaster.

Clem Seecharan, Emeritus Professor of History at London Metropolitan University.