Arnett Gardens FC downsizes amid COVID-19 challenges

Arnett Gardens FC downsizes amid COVID-19 challenges

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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FORMER champions Arnett Gardens Football Club has shaken things up by releasing a number of players as the club heads in a new direction influenced by harsh realities brought on by COVID-19.

Chairman Mark Golding, in a statement, said football clubs around the world have been operating without commercial revenues since March, 2020 and the challenges being faced by the them are multifaceted.

With that in mind, it is easier to say who from last season's first team squad are still at the club.

Kamal Malcolm, Fabian Reid, Steve Clarke, Paul Wilson, Ramone McGregor, Romeo Guthrie and Damari Deacon are just a few remaining after the South St Andrew-based club parted ways with many players.

The likes of Damion Hyatt, Al Nesbeth, Lamar Neil, Ricardo Oldham, Tamar Edwards, Jarmar Jackson, Odane Samuels, Jamar Martin, Andrew Allen and Shamar Pryce are among players released.

Marvin Morgan is said to be overseas, while Ramoun Reid has migrated. Patrick Brown left in January along with Vishinul Harris and the talented Lamar Nelson left last season.

“The crisis necessitates tough decisions being taken by clubs. Confronted by these realities and the uncertainties that lie ahead, Arnett Gardens is having to restructure our cost base in an effort to become a more resilient and sustainable organisation,” said Golding in the statement.

“The club is undertaking a process of reducing its overhead, starting with the size of the squad for the upcoming season, as we prepare to resume operations with lower projected income,” he explained.

But several former players, who wish to remain anonymous, believe the club is heading for a disaster and will be playing “bush league” football in the near future.

But Head Coach Alex Thomas is of the view that the team will do well as they have retained enough quality players to make them competitive.

“The club's direction, policy and philosophy with the coaches mean focus on young talents in and around the communities,” said Thomas.

“We will definitely be competitive for the 2020/21 season because we have retained players from previous squad and looking forward for the other young talents to join the squad to have a good mixture,” he added.

Golding, in his statement, pleads with supporters to back the club's new direction.

“Arnett Gardens is seeking the full cooperation and support of our stakeholders, players, members of staff, fans and community members as we implement these measures to ensure the survival of our club,” said Golding.

“We are confident that, if we all pull together in these difficult times, we will come through and emerge even stronger and better that we were before,” he added.

— Howard Walker

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