Colin Babb author

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun

“This book is a must-read for all generations of the West Indian cricket diaspora. The unbridled success of West Indian cricket teams that toured England from the 1950s to the 1980s may never be replicated in terms of their social, economic and cultural impact on the lives of Caribbean people in Britain.”
Reza Abasali, lecturer in West Indian cricket history, teacher and broadcaster, Trinidad 

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun book cover

In 1948, the Empire Windrush ship sailed from Jamaica with hundreds of Caribbean migrants on board seeking to create a new future in Britain. Two years later, the West Indies cricket team beat England for the first time on English soil at Lord’s.

For some Caribbean migrants who settled in Britain from the 1950s onwards, and their descendants, West Indies cricket offered a rich source of self-esteem. Whether they were passionate cricket fans or not, cricket provided some of the Caribbean diaspora in Britain with an opportunity to express a collective sense of identity.

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun reflects on events that influenced the development of the social impact of cricket on British Caribbean communities from the arrival of the Empire Windrush onwards.

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun also explores factors which have challenged cricket’s position as a social force for the current descendants of the Windrush generation. I also reflect on my life, with a dose of humour, as a second generation West Indian boy in 1970s/1980s Britain.   

Jimmy Adams, Dickie Bird, Ian Bradshaw, Basil Butcher, Tony Cozier, Winston Davis, Sam King, Lord Bill Morris of Handsworth OJ, Trevor Nelson, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Gladstone Small and Alex Tudor are some of the contributors who shared their memories, opinions and stories for They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun.

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun was one of the books used as reference material for the 2023 Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) report.

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Donating They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun to the West Indies Cricket Heritage Centre, Grenada.

Donating They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun to the National Library in Georgetown, Guyana.