Montego Bay faithful bask in afterglow of Premier League triumph
THE plaudits are still coming in after Montego Bay United took the 2013-14 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) trophy with a barnstorming 5-2 win over Waterhouse FC at the National Stadium on Monday.
The victory marked the third top flight league title for the St James-based club after previous successes in 1986-87 and 1996-97 -- the last time a team from western Jamaica won the crown -- under the name Seba United.
Club president Orville Powell, the main man behind the controversial move to change the club's name to Montego Bay United, was ecstatic, joking with players and club officials moments after the final whistle.
He was criticised by some during the season when Montego Bay parted ways with head coach Donovan Duckie and then interim replacement Pastor Hugh Solomon, before settling with veteran Dr Dean Weatherly.
On Monday, as the clock approached midnight, he was central to the celebrations as players and fans lofted him above their heads in recognition of his part in the triumph.
"It's a good feeling, I'm happy. I can't find words to describe because it is a dream. We knew that with the hard work and the sort of discipline we are trying to instil... we knew the result would be this.
"It was no surprise. We always knew we could beat them. We organised what we were doing," he explained when he eventually escaped the numerous clamouring clutches.
"We have our plan and I'm at a stage where I have to know what I want in a coach. Every coach there has positives and there is the negative. All the coaches made their contribution. They made it what it is so how can I say anything negative about them?
"We knew Pastor would not be with us the entire season because of other commitments. It's not just change, we had the formula," he debated in relation to the coaching decisions.
Former Reggae Boyz captain Warren Barrett, an ardent fan of football in western Jamaica, could not contain his joy when the Jamaica Observer caught up with him after the encounter.
"As a man from the West, it feels good. It has a been a while since a team from western Jamaica won it," said the goalkeeper, a key cog of the Violet Kickers FC outfit, which last won the league championship in the 95-96 campaign.
Barrett's Violet Kickers and Seba were intense rivals in the second city over a decade ago, and were central in providing players for the national programme.
Now a national goalkeeping coach, he noted the positive impact Montego Bay's success could have on the current Jamaica set-up.
The fight against criminality, he believes, could also be boosted.
"As one person said to me earlier, whenever the West is on top, the national programme normally thrives, so it's a good feeling for the city.
"There is the crime and violence, there is the lottery scamming and a number of negatives and this really is something that will augur well for the city. The youngsters should see that there is something for them in sports if they really dedicate themselves to it," he reasoned.
Of the match, which featured plenty of passion and excitement to make up for any shortcomings in quality, Barrett was impressed with Montego Bay and the individual performance of forward Dino Williams.
"I think the first half was a bit patchy from both teams, probably some nerves showed from both sets of players. MoBay started to put their passes together and got the first goal and I think a little naivety set in for Waterhouse to equalise because it was a counter-attack and so close to half-time.
"Maybe riding on the momentum, I think Waterhouse came out very attacking in the second half. The second goal was some brilliant individual play from Dino Williams but the third and fourth goals were from counter-attacks.
"I think it was too early in the game for Waterhouse to open up and go for the equalising goal (when they were down 1-2) and they paid dearly for that. MoBay were clinical in front goal, and there were some excellent goals," said the man who kept goal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.