Captain Marvel 'Bigga' Thompson reveals secret to success

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Friday, June 19, 2015

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ONEIL Thompson, the captain of Arnett Gardens FC, said more depth in midfield contributed to the team's superb run in the 2014-15 Red Stripe Premier League campaign.

Arnett defeated 2013-14 winners Montego Bay United 2-0 in the final at the National Stadium on June 1. They previously topped the preliminary phase of the competition, totalling 69 points from 33 games.

"We improved in areas where we were weak last year," said Thompson.

"The number one place we improved in was central midfield where [former Boys' Town FC player] Renae Lloyd came in to give the team that rhythm that we were missing."

He added that there were telling contributions from other players who he felt were less-heralded. He named left-sided defender Kenniel Hyde and midfielder Vishinul Harris as two of those.

The 31-year-old Thompson, also an ex-Boys' Town FC player who has played for the senior Reggae Boyz, was himself recognised at the recent RSPL awards ceremony.

He was named Player of the Season and also given the acclaimed Tony Burrowes Award for outstanding conduct on and off the field.

Despite the personal accolades, he insisted that the team achievements mean more.

"It's a great feeling... the individual awards are nice, but I think the best feeling is still winning the Premier League," he told the Jamaica Observer.

He conceded, however, that given his wealth of experience after playing with the national team and plying his trade on overseas soil, he was able to pass on tips to reassure his clubmates.

"I learned to appreciate when things are good and when things are bad and I think I have passed that on to my team very well," he noted.

He explained that though many saw Montego Bay as favourites to win back-to-back titles, Arnett's tactical ploy to stifle their pacey opponents spurred them on to lift the crown for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

"They were right about Montego Bay being dangerous at the top, but we are good at analysing things and that's what most teams didn't do. We didn't give Montego Bay any room to run behind us," the Arnett skipper said.

Arnett was the top-scoring team with 60 goals, while giving 36 at the other end. Thompson praised the attacking instinct of the team, saying that Arnett "conceded goals, but everyone has to give props to players up front".

After three seasons with Arnett Gardens, the community has become his new home.

But he still expressed affection for rival Trench Town team Boys' Town FC, the club he represented for many years. The towering player said he remains grateful because Boys' Town contributed immeasurably to his career.

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