BLACK HISTORY MONTH (DAY 2): After Randy Horton starred with The Cosmos, he had the first and last say as Bermuda’s spokesman for the house
Randy Horton: “The best thing that ever happened to me was when I was named Most Valuable Player in 1972. The reason for this was because of the chosen players they thought [was MVP]. ”(FrontRowSoccer.com photo)
As part of Black History Month, FrontRowSoccer.com introduces Cosmos legend Randy Horton.
By Michael Lewis
FRISCO, Texas – At first glance, he looked like a mean, intimidating guy.
Randy Horton was all 6-2 and 200 pounds. Add an afro and a nice full face beard and the Bermuda native definitely looked like someone you didn’t want to deal with on the soccer field.
Every little bit helps in football, and that includes talented strikers. If Horton’s appearance made an opposing center-back think twice about what to do, then so be it.
“I looked like I was 6-5 years old, a lot taller and I think sometimes with all my hair on my head and everything that made me look like someone who is really rough. I was really a gentle giant, ”Horton said with a laugh.
It sure didn’t hurt.
Horton was the cosmos’ first sensation and was named Rookie of the Year in 1971 before receiving the MVP award in 1972, the first of the eight teams in the North American Football League.
“They paid me a lot of attention, these center-backs,” Horton said at the NASL 50th anniversary celebration here in October 2018. “Some of the people in the league with whom I have built good relationships have some of the guys who are actually defenders. ” hard times, even in the field. I think that’s the beauty of this game too: when you play the game, not only do you have relationships with players you play with, but when you play against high profile players we recognize those good players as to whether they are yours Team or against you.
“The best thing that ever happened to me was when I was named Most Valuable Player in 1972. The reason for this was that the players were chosen who they thought of [was MVP]. My team couldn’t vote for me. But all players from the other teams could vote. They thought I was good enough. The players respect you for what you did, the guys you play against. That was the biggest compliment I’ve ever had. “
Randy Horton during his prime with the cosmos.
The Cosmos defeated the St. Louis Stars at Hofstra University Stadium and took the title behind a 2-1 result in 1972. Horton, who led the league this season (9 goals, 4 assists in 13 games for the top 22 points in the league).
“It was huge,” said Horton, who grew up playing soccer and cricket in his native Bermuda. “My team in Bermuda was a master of several years. I was used to winning. I didn’t know much about losing. You know, when I went out into the field, I wasn’t thinking about anything else. The thing was to win. That’s why I always, very difficultly prepared myself to prepare for my games. “
The 73-year-old Horton played with the Cosmos until 1974, connecting 29 games in 52 games before joining the Washington Diplomats in 1975. The next year he ended his Cosmos career with the Hartford Bicentennials.
He had the opportunity to catch up on some of his relationships at the NASL reunion.
“It’s great,” said Horton. “There is nothing like reunions. There is nothing better than seeing old friends again. It’s not just the people on your team, it’s the players you’ve played against. They are just as important to you as your teammates are. I get hugs from people who kicked me out. “
Horton then laughed.
“That’s soccer, soccer,” he said. “We’re not friends when we go out there. But we can respect ourselves and our work professionally. That stuff is important. “
After his retirement, Horton’s second act was pretty impressive on its own. He joined the House of Assembly of Bermuda in 1998.
“When I was a kid in school, I walked across that room in front of the House of Assembly and looked up there and said, ‘One day I’ll be up there. ‘”
Horton has held various positions while serving with the Progressive Labor Party, including Secretary of State for Sport, Secretary of the Environment, Minister of Home Affairs and Public Safety, and Minister of Education. In 2012, Horton became the House Speaker until he retired in 2017.
The Bermuda Parliament is similar to the British Government, in which the House of Assembly is the lower house and the Senate is the upper house. In England the House of Commons is the lower house and the House of Lords is the upper house.
“It’s a minor, it’s a minor jurisdiction,” Horton said. “It’s not as difficult as you could say [U.S.] Congress is. … The Westminster system is in place, one party sits on this side and they face each other and there is a space in between. There’s enough space not to have time to hit someone. I think that’s why it’s set up [that way]. It’s set up so that people always attack each other. A lot of time they waste a lot of time objecting to what the other party said when sometimes it is something that is good for the country. That is the challenge we have. “
When Horton became Speaker of the House, he said he had become neutral.
“I sit there and expect that whatever comes out of the mouths of the people is in the interests of the country,” said Horton. “Not just the party.” We are here to serve all people. “
When he was a spokesman, Horton learned how to deal with filibustering from rival parties.
“Sometimes, but not quite that much,” he said. “Sometimes they get up and have nothing to say. Sometimes when you are the Speaker of the House you have to listen to what I think is stupid. I sit there and say why don’t you sit down? “
Horton is proud of his two decades of service with the company. That included the Education Act when he was Minister of Education. He cleared the school at Bermuda College so all students could continue their education. He also named several schools after prominent people in those communities “so the children in the schools know who these people are,” he said.
Needless to say, Horton also prides itself on planting the seeds for the future of football in the United States.
“The foundations were laid to get young Americans interested in the game,” he said. “I always felt that this was the biggest challenge. They played the sport and the Americans didn’t play the game. When I started playing there weren’t enough Americans playing the game. If you wanted to build a fan base, basketball had gotten yours through college to the NBA. Baseball and soccer have done the same thing. Football didn’t have that. I think NASL helped build communities and get them into the game. Today some of this work is paying off. “