Regional

Sandra Christie — on the way to becoming first female president of Premier League club

Discipline, structure Christie’s main focus

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer

Thursday, July 03, 2014    

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TUCKER, St James — If Orville Powell actually carries out his stated intention of resigning as president of the Red Stripe Premier League champions, Montego Bay United, it will pave the way for Sandra Christie to become the first female head of a Premier League club in the country.

Last month, when Powell announced his resignation, he also handed over the running of the club to Christie, the administrator for the club for the past three years, and to executive Donald Martin.

While admitting that the task of running the club as it tries to defend its title will be "daunting", Christie says she is ready to take up where Powell left off.

"It is truly a daunting task, but I have to take it up because I believe it is something worth fighting for," she told the Jamaica Observer West.

"I grew up in Montego Bay and I am a Jamaican, and there is a certain pride when you realise that the youths that are coming up are looking forward to something greater than what we call 'patty shop'. There is unity and strength in this team and we believe we can do it once we have that," Christie said.

Being a woman taking over a job can be tough, but she says the path set by her predecessor would make things easier for her.

"My leadership style is similar to Mr Powell's and maybe because I am female it might not seem that way, but I have strong leadership traits," she pointed out.

Discipline and structure are her main focus.

"In our organisation, everybody knows their responsibilities and what is expected of them; because when you know what your standard is from the get-go, you have a sure plan as to how you will achieve the goal, and communication is very important as well," she explained.

Asked how she expected the men would treat her, the only woman at that level in the organisation, Christie was quick to point out, "I think I have earned their respect over the three years I have been here and we have truly developed as a family, and those who have visited us can appreciate that I

have their respect and

their commitment."

To make things work, financing the team will

take priority and Christie

admits that things are not looking good.

Getting corporate support has always been difficult and keeping the team together could depend on the new management team's ability to raise sponsorship.

"Realistically it is looking hard right now, but we did not go about this last season without its own challenges," Christie pointed out.

Training for the new season is scheduled to start in mid-July, she said, but prior to that a new coach is to be named.

Last season, MBU went through three coaches on their way to the title; Donovan Duckie got the team off to a fast start, but they faltered in the second round before he resigned, citing personal business.

High Solomon then took over and instantly revived the team's hopes with three straight wins, but left soon after to take up an overseas assignment.

Dr Dean Weatherly, who was in charge of the team for most of the previous season, then guided the team through the final few regular season games, the semi-finals win over Harbour View, and the final against Waterhouse.

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