The 20-game USL 2nd Division
(the 3rd tier of US professional soccer) ended for the Bermuda Hogges
on Saturday night in dramatic fashion. The Hogges, whose owner Paul Scope recently threw doubt on them making another season due to the financial cost of participating in the American, albeit predomiately eastern seaboard league, finished bottom of the table.
The title was won by Richmond Kickers
who the Bermudians actually beat at home earlier in the season. Of course play-off's will decide the 'real' winner later in the month!
The Hogges only won 4 games all season, all of them at home but often in front of disappointing crowds. There was only 200 at their final home game and coach Kylie Lightbourne has consistently criticised Bermudian football fans for not getting behind the island's most vaulted team.
Nonetheless the cost of travel plus work and college commitments invariably means the Hogges travel away short on numbers and without their best players. With limited flights an away game can be a 3 or 4 day trip. However in the First Division
the Puerto Rico Islanders
appear to beat the same issues despite teams being spread as far as Vancouver, Austin, Minnesota and Miami. More money and sponsorship does flush around the USL 1 though including a television contract and regular games against MLS sides.
Anyway back to the Hogges' last game of the season Saturday night
against Real Maryland Monarchs
in Rockville, MD. The Hogges were two goals down when one of their better players Stevie Astwood hit a brace before half-time to bring it level. But then astonishingly the goalscorer was arrested by local police officers at half-time, taken away from the dressing room in his kit to the station! I read he was questioned about a "personal domestic issue"
and later released and I have been scouring the local media for updated news but have found nothing.
In the 2nd half Hogges then took the lead but eventually lost to two late goals. Before that a player from each side was sent off, and so was Hogges' coach Jack Castle, and the Bermudians, proving their lack of players, had their reserve goalkeeper playing up front! Quite a game.
I wonder if the Hogges will survive another season, I hope they do as I have still not managed to watch them as they have a very awkward schedule, which does not help their appeal. Owner, in fact he is normally described as co-owner alongside Shaun Goater, Englishman Paul Scope has thrown good money after bad to bring a better discipline of football to Bermuda and his dedication hasn't been rewarded but I personally think they advertise themselves poorly and the website
being updated would be a good start.
Oh, and losing to Simon Jordan's American mob
twice is hardly giving me encouragement is it now?