Colin Babb author

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun has been reprinted for 2024.

“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

They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun cover page

In 1948, the Empire Windrush ship sailed from Jamaica with hundreds of Caribbean migrants 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.

From the 1950s onwards, for some Caribbean migrants and their descendants who settled in Britain, 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 post-Windrush development of the social impact of cricket on British Caribbean communities.

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, Gareth Breese, 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, Georgetown, Guyana.