Eric Lavine: ‘Two times Stephen Kenny came to Galway from Longford, so it showed he really wanted me. I stayed for four and a half years which were the best of my career'

From not having any real interest in football while in school, to playing professionally in Ireland, representing the Barbados national side and currently coaching in Germany, Eric Lavine’s career path has certainly been diverse.

Domestically, Eric turned out for Pride of Gall Hill, his first senior club, until the age of 26.

“I used to play a lot of cricket in Barbados,” said Lavine speaking with “I wasn’t really into the football scene until I left secondary school. I was almost straight away called into the international team because they saw my raw potential.

"First I was playing for a local team called Technico and that was my feeding ground, where I learned all my skills. It just took off and eventually I got over to Ireland in 1997.”

A Barbadian coach, who knew Don O’Riordan (then Galway United manager), was the link which saw Lavine exchange the warm climes of the West Indies for the brisker surrounds of Connaught, with the goal of becoming a professional footballer.

“For a man coming from the Caribbean it was very cold, even in summer … If you can call it that! I never experienced that before and had to adjust very quickly. You see snow on the television, but to touch it in your hands was a culture shock. Other than that, the people were very nice to me and still are to this day.”

A popular player while with the Tribesmen, Lavine reluctantly left for Longford Town, who would become cup final specialists and enjoy European fixtures in equal measure during his spell at the midlands side.

Stephen Kenny

“At the end of the 2000 season Stephen Kenny came in for me. I had a bit of a falling out with Galway over money. I ended up leaving … Not on a bad note, but when you’re playing professionally at a club and the money isn’t there where it’s supposed to be, then you have to think twice if you want to stay or move on.

"Longford was a good move for me, even though I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t really want to leave Galway.

"Two times Stephen Kenny came to Galway from Longford, so it showed that he really wanted me. I ended up staying there for four and a half years, which were the best of my football career, since I turned professional.”

A return to Galway ahead of the 2006 campaign didn’t exactly go according to plan and the forward was quickly out the door, joining Athlone Town, his last League of Ireland club.

“If you leave a place, which was like home and try to go back, it’s never the same. I call it home because everybody still asks me: ‘When are you coming home?’ and I have lived there for a long period of my adult life. I feel like part of them and I was also missing my son.

"Stephen had left Longford and even though they won a lot of trophies afterwards, I thought it was time for me to go back to Galway. I think I only lasted two or three months and I was gone again, signing for Athlone.”

Earning 34 caps and scoring ten goals, split between being home based and in Ireland, the Barbadian international got to witness some varying aspects in how football is approached by both of these parts of the world.


“It’s a totally different ball game. The people in the Caribbean, we are very laid back. It’s not like we don’t have the talent … We do, but it’s also about having the right motivation. Because we are so laid back, we stop at a certain point and accept second best.

"That’s the main difference between people from the Caribbean and Europe, who have more professionalism towards football. We are way behind and I can say that openly.”


After retiring from the League of Ireland scene, Lavine still turned out for Oranmore in the Galway & District League. However, these days living in Aachen, Germany, he coaches FV Vaalserquartier e.V.

“I was approached by a local professional club, called Alemannia Aachen. I didn’t take it because it because the club I’m with now gave me my chance to get my UEFA A Licence. I didn’t want to leave a bad taste in anybody’s mouth, so I stayed put.

"We play in a regional league and got promoted in my first year as coach – something they hadn’t done in ten years before then.”