MAY PEN, Clarendon — Humble Lion president Mike Henry on Thursday dismissed rumors that head coach Lenny Hyde has been fired, but the events of the last week or so surely suggest that there has been a fall-out at Effortville.
Not only were Hyde and his assistant, Max Straw, absent from the team's technical area for their last game against Montego Bay United, but it is also understood that Henry has been overseeing training sessions for the past week.
When asked about Hyde's status at the struggling Red Stripe Premier League club, Henry's initial response was that he is taking a sabbatical to tend to business overseas.
Pressed further, he revealed that the three-time winning premiership coach was asked to take a break while he (Henry) irons out a few administrative issues.
"I have not gotten rid of any coach," Henry said. "I have told them what I expect overall and they have listened to me. The last game they were not on the bench because they had some issues with transportation."
He added: "(They) advised (me) that one of them will be off the island from this week, so I have stepped in a little bit earlier to correct some administrative and coaching issues.
"His assistant and I are meeting tomorrow (Friday) to discuss issues that I want to see implemented going forward, both in dealing with the structure of the club and the commitment and discipline of the players. But for now, I have just stepped in to fill the void to ensure that we win the next four matches."
It is no secret that Hyde and the Effortville faithful do not see eye-to-eye. The residents of the central Clarendon community accused him of "showing no love to the community", and he is often the victim of verbal abuse, laced with expletives and other distasteful comments whenever Humble Lion perform poorly at home.
"Hyde has had a fairly good reputation (but) whenever you are moving and making the transition from a community to a professional structure there will be issues that have to be addressed," the central Clarendon Member of Parliament said.
It is also believed that a number of players have become uncomfortable working with Hyde, who led them to a fourth-place finish last season.
"In the Jamaican context, players tend to blame coaches when they don't perform. Some say, 'him don't like me that's why him don't play me', and then the community reacts equally.
"But it is important to balance things out to find out the truth, so I said to the coaches, 'hold back and let me take it on. Let me see who is turning up late; let me see who is malingering and let me see who is going to the doctor and the physiotherapist'," Henry told the Jamaica Observer.
There is also a suggestion that Hyde's sudden absence is rooted in the club's financial problems — a story that no one was willing to admit or deny.
Efforts to contact Hyde, who won league titles at Tivoli Gardens, Harbour View and Hazard United (now Portmore), proved futile. His cell phone rang without an answer.
And with Henry confirming that a panel of coaches, not including Hyde, will take charge of today's home game against leaders Harbour View, the saga looks set to continue.
"On Sunday, a combination of myself, Mr Anthony Pringle — and I will be speaking to Max Straw — will be in charge," he said.
Humble Lion, winless in six games, are 10th in the 12-team league on 15 points, three clear of the relegation zone.