Has Orville Powell Lost His Marbles?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Written April 27, 2016

Published May 2, 2016

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Orville Powell, President of the Montego Bay United (MBU) Football Club, had many fans worried about the participation of his team in the 2016 Red Stripe Premier League Finals.

Herbert Morrison old boy and President/CEO of the Montego Bay United Football Club, Orville Powell, sent shock waves throughout Jamaica football circles, when he threatened last week to withdraw his team, Montego Bay United, from yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) final.

This threat, as iterated by Powell, has to do with a shift from the norms of the last two editions of the RSPL finals, which were played during TV’s prime time, 7-10 p.m.. The 2014 final and the 2015 final were both played at the National Stadium in Kingston with TV coverage of each beginning at 8:30 p.m. This year the organizers, the Professional Footballers’ Association of Jamaica (PFAJ), shifted the final to the Catherine Hall Sports Complex, Montego Bay United’s backyard, and scheduled the game for yesterday at 4 p.m..

ORVILLE-POWELL

Orville Powell doesn’t feel the clubs are respected by the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) and Professional Footballers Association of Jamaica (PFAJ).

Powell was up in arms last week and bemoaned the lack of consultation with regard to the start time of the match. He hinted at a lack of respect from the organizers and lack of thought for the fans coming to watch the match and his team (or the teams) participating in the finals. If it’s one thing “Facts, Lies & Statistics” column supports, it’s consultations and more consultations. We have seen what a lack of it has done to West Indies Cricket.

It has been common knowledge that those organizations rooted in Kingston, oftentimes, plan events in Montego Bay and other sections of the island without consultations with the locals, or an understanding of the culture of the locals in the respective areas. This usually results in these events being considered flops and the organizers bewildered as to the lack of attendance and financial successes. As we often remind them, Kingston is not Jamaica and Montego Bay is not like Kingston.

Nevertheless, this event is not a Montego Bay event per se, but a national event that will have individuals from all across the island, not just Montego Bay, coming to watch the spectacle of the final.

Andrew-Price

PLCA general manager and PFAJ President, Andrew Price and the PFAJ board have communicated clearly that there will repercussions if Montego Bay United fail to show for the RSPL finals.

The PFAJ seemingly indicated last week that the start time was based on generating maximum revenue from TV rights deals, among other things, and was in consultation with their sponsors and stakeholders. To be frank, the PFAJ doesn’t have to consult with participating teams in the final, but merely needs to inform them of when and where, though they could consult out of courtesy.

Fans in some circles had sided with Powell and bespoke their displeasure if they were forced to watch the match in the hot sun or the ‘sun hot’ as they put it. However, when I checked the weather forecast a week ago, yesterday afternoon, specifically the time during the final had a 69 percent chance of showers. So, the ‘sun hot’ was not a guarantee like all weather forecasts.

If the new generation of fans of Montego Bay United and Jamaican football are prime time, nighttime or cool weather fans only, then it would be in stark contrast to the loyal old fans of Beacon and especially Seba, the names once held by the Montego Bay United Football Club. Montego Bay United fans and fans of football in Jamaica must be prepared to support their teams anywhere and anytime and the players prepared to play any place and anytime.

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Montego Bay United, formerly Seba United, returned to the Premier League in 2011 and have made three consecutive Premier League finals, 2014-2016.

Categorically, I disagreed with Powell’s cornered approach. The match being in Montego Bay alone should be an incentive for the fans who missed out on travelling to Kingston in support of their team the past two years, to do so now. If the match is scheduled for 10 a.m. or 12 noon, in the sun or in the rain, they should be there in full support. Fans of teams in the English Premier League (EPL) show up for their team’s games at 1, 3 or 4 p.m. local times in the sun, snow and rain. Jamaican fans should show no indifference despite not having snow to contend with.

 

Since 2011, when Powell acquired the club, changed its name and brand, Montego Bay United has seen marked success with this its third final in consecutive years. Arnett Gardens is the only other team over that period that can boast of making the semi-finals three years running much more the finals. Henceforth, Powell and his team must be doing something right.

Paul 'Tegat' Davis took over the reins as coach of Montego Bay United in January 2016

Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis took over the reins as coach of Montego Bay United in January 2016

However, I question whether the stance by Powell wasn’t a spectacle and an unnecessary distraction for his team, the fans, and the final. If Mobay United played yesterday and lost, Powell’s detractors will attempt to burn his career in football at the stakes. On the other hand, the siege mentality and the ‘we against the world (or Kingston)’ notion could have the opposite effect on his team as we saw for West Indies senior men’s team in the recently concluded T20 World Cup. If they played yesterday and won, Powell will be lauded for his mental strategies and warfare.

On the contrary, if by the time you read this column, Montego Bay United is confirmed to have withdrawn from the RSPL final and Portmore United were crowned 2015-16 RSPL Champions due to Montego Bay’s forfeiture, then Powell, baptised in principle, has done a disservice to his team. I’d be then begged to question if Powell has lost his marbles and is Bedlam bound?

His actions last week has added sufficient sunlight to the operations of the PFAJ and hinted at possible future changes. I hope he didn’t keep his team from the finals and put the sun out on football in Montego Bay, Western Jamaica, and especially at Montego Bay United. If Powell withdraws his team, a plethora of repercussions would await the resurging Mobay United, as promised by the PFAJ.

With fingers crossed, I hope good sense has prevailed. Powell, I beg you, keep your marbles!

Until next time…

Zaheer E. Clarke is a freelance sportswriter. He can be reached at zaheer.clarke@gmail.com. Follow him on Facebook at Zaheer Facts, Lies & Statistics, or on Twitter at @zaheerclarke

 From the “Lies & Statistics” column in the Western Mirror (Published May 2, 2016)

DISCLAIMER: This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any e-zine, newsletter, blog or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.

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2 thoughts on “Has Orville Powell Lost His Marbles?

  1. Jamaican sports organizations are rarely short of patronizing decisions. The comparisons with what happens in other league don’t really take you far. Find me a major league that has the timing and location of its principal final decided only a few days before the actual event. Find me a major league that would overturn the precedent set (and presumably done to the satisfaction of clubs) in terms of timing, and then claim that this is to maximize revenues. Are we to assume that they did not seek to maximise these revenues in the past? Of course, that’s not such a rhetorical question. Look at its overseer, the JFF, and how it runs football. Let me say, I would stand with Powell on ‘taking a stance’ against arbitrariness.

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  2. Good article, it’s not a matter of traveling, it’s more of a time factor and been honest/fair. Give a black man power and he becomes Hitler, look a west Indies cricket (dictators and oppressors). He & the board should have had some form of communication with the west, I know it is the PFAJ game. We have alot of bosses but no leader. Bosses blame, demand, but leaders lead by example. Don’t totally agree with Mr. Powell action, but to get your message across to dictator and oppressors in Jamaica you have block road and burn tyre.

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