BBC archive film captures behind the scenes footage of the 1976 West Indies cricket
team preparing for what would prove to be an historic tour.
| The West Indian batsman made a great start|
But don't be fooled by the good time images - this
was a serious business.
Before a ball had been bowled,
the series was thrown into controversy.
prepared his players, his opposite number, the South African born captain of England,
Tony Greig, gave a television interview, which stirred the mood and set the tone.
for West Indians trying to make their way in 70s England and for one activist
in particular, the England captain's choice of words hit the rawest of nerves.
|1st Test Trent Bridge, Nottingham|
|3,4,5,7,8 June 1976|
|Umpires: HD Bird
and TW Spencer|
|5-Test series level 0-0|
He threatened to make the West Indian players "grovel".
For Viv Richards that was an explosive
and motivating comment.
Vivian Richards was just
24 when he arrived at Trent Bridge for the First Test.
Greig's taunt ringing in his ears he was determined to succeed away from his own
| Umpire Howard 'Dickie' Bird was on duty|
Richards blasted the England bowlers to every corner, one man had the best view
in the house.
Umpire 'Dickie' Bird remembers:
"To stand here and you see the great man batting, you have got to be
on the look out because he used to hit them back like tracer bullets, straight
I tell you he used to have me jumping up and down when I was stood at the bowlers
end I used to be ducking and weaving they would be whistling past my head, whistling
this side... whistling on the ground.
you had to be really fit and I mean fit to get out the way of some of his drives
because he was awesome. The Crowd here that day was packed and he gave them their
"I think people who are still
alive today and saw that knock at Trent Bridge in 1976, I think they will say
that was one of the finest test innings there has ever been in the history of
Ossie Holt was among
the thousands of vociferous West Indian supporters at Trent Bridge that day.
"I remember that day... Richards batted like a God," he recalls.
|2nd Test Lord's, London|
|17,18,19,21,22 June 1976|
HD Bird and DJ Constant|
|5-Test series level
hit an imperious 232 in a match that was eventually drawn.
as he made history on the pitch, tensions were rising off it.
same summer, an amateur filmmaker was capturing the other side of the story and
the mood of young West Indians on the streets of Brixton. One said:
| Michael Holding took eight wickets in an innings|
"Anger at being invisible
of that place but that place not recognising you
prejudice will never end."
discrimination and inequality of 1976 England was not lost on the West Indies'
most flamboyant batsman.
This of course was the hottest
summer on record, and although the Lords match was a wash out, by the Third Test
at Old Trafford, the sun was out and the heat was well and truly back on the English
|3rd Test Old Trafford, Manchester|
|8,9,10,12,13 July 1976|
|Umpires: WE Alley
and WL Budd|
|West Indies won by
|West Indies leads 5-Test
England under the
England were blown away, and by day three hopes
rested with their two senior players.
bats combined age of 80
the two toughest blokes get out there and do the
| Brian Close... brave and bold in defeat|
so on a parched and perilous wicket, in front of baying West Indies supporters,
45-year-old Brian Close faced the most fearsome bowling attack in world cricket.
despite the West Indies onslaught and the mockery of their own fans, Close and
Edrich survived the day.
Despite Close's efforts
England lost and set off for Leeds 1-0 down.
Indies victory at Headingley would clinch the series. But England's besieged captain
had other ideas.
In the second innings Greig was
left stranded as his team crumbled around him.
won but not finished
The West Indies were 2-0 up
with one Test to play - the series was theirs.
| Michael Holding the West Indies fast bowler at Lords
But victory on the pitch was countered by
oppression off it.
New laws giving the police the
powers to stop and search suspects were being used over zealously to take young
black men off the streets.
For the man using his
camera to capture the conscience of the time, the enemy was obvious and in uniform.
"More concerned by police
than National Front, police were National Front in uniform..."
|4th Test Headingley, Leeds|
|22,23,24,26,27 July 1976|
|Toss: West Indies|
DJ Constant and TW Spencer|
Indies won by 55 runs|
leads 5-Test series 2-0|
was the place of victory, the Oval was the arena for the coronation.
the king of the series had one final point to make.
quest was about to get some help.
The archive shows
that the Oval was transformed into a highly charged corner of the Caribbean.
already made four centuries in the series, but those who saw Richard's innings
knew something special was being played out before them. One eyewitness said:
"I have never seen anything like it... he timed it to
Viv never looked like getting out
| Viv Richards dismissed for 291!|
bare facts: 474 minutes, 38 boundaries, 291 runs.
could possibly bring it all to an end?
later Tony Greig mused: "It is always good getting great players out but
I have to say I do remember that - like it was yesterday.
I have got to say I don't talk about it much I mean 291...
think he might win the argument."
irony was not lost on Viv Richards:
- I almost forgot that, maybe if I'd gotten to 300 I would have remembered much
The player who dismissed Richards
in the end was the same guy who said he was going to make the West Indians grovel...
An amused Viv Richards said:
"I was grovelling at 291, yeah Tony Greig - you got me
So triumph on the pitch and adulation off it.
some this triumph went beyond sporting greatness.
innings at the Oval meant opposition could be confronted on road to freedom.
the great Vivian Richards was about to be upstaged by a 22-year-old express train
"He was super fast.
I don't look at footage much but nice smooth run up
them by pace
| Tony Greig is comprehensively bowled|
Holding took eight wickets in the first
innings and six in the second.
Never another best
bowling ever seen
But of all the Englishmen
he dismissed, there was one wicket he wanted above all others.
Holding wanted Greig's wicket.
"England batsmen said they did
not like to bat with Greig because we bowled faster
we needed to prove a
"The Stumps just scattered, and of course
to my right where all the West Indians were sitting they just stormed onto the
"It was a great feeling to see Tony
Greig depart for the last time with the stumps shattered all over the place."
|5th Test Kennington Oval, London|
|12,13,14,16,17 August 1976|
|Toss: West Indies|
WE Alley and HD Bird|
won by 231 runs|
|West Indies won
5-Test series 3-0|
And Dickie Bird
"That is when the Windies
supporters were jubilant
all the Bacardi rum bottles the coca cola cans all the crowd came onto the Oval.
"It meant so much to them, so much to their
lives a those will always remember that day at the Oval."
"They loved it
and at the end of the match I had no option... all I could do was crawl off, grovel
Just two weeks after
the glory of the Oval, the party began at Notting Hill.
| Darcus Howe 'We were charged up'|
the tension bubbling all summer between the West Indian community and the police
reached boiling point.
Caribbean cricket and carnival
for the man who witnessed both
the two are undeniably linked.
Says Darcus Howe:
was what I call an historical moment
racial abuse and cricket came into
"Never had West Indian cricket such
an intense social reflection.
"We felt stronger.
These people are not invincible
would have banned cricket... walked through police lines, if Viv could do it I
could do it too
The cause and effect theory of sporting
triumph and black uprising may be unproved.
seems little doubt that during that summer of 1976 something significant shifted
both on and off the cricket field
An important time
for cricket and the well-being of West Indians living in England.
the West Indian team left they left a different black community behind.