DRAX HALL, St Ann — Donovan Duckie, who led then-newcomers Mount Pleasant Football Academy to a historic semi-final place in the Red Stripe Premier League in their maiden 2018-19 season, has been relieved of his duties one game into the new season after an opening game loss to former champions Harbour View FC at their Drax Hall home on Sunday.
The expensively assembled Mount Pleasant FA were beaten 1-2 by Harbour View at home, the second time they were losing to the east Kingston-based team in two seasons, both times at Drax Hall.
David Galloway, manager of the St Ann-based club, confirmed to the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the decision to remove Duckie was made at a meeting of the club’s board held on Monday evening.
It was the third firing of a head coach since the pre-season, after Jerome Waite was separated from his job as the head coach at Arnett Gardens and Fabian Taylor at Dunbeholden FC.
Galloway also said veteran coach Paul “Tegat Davis”, who himself was replaced by Duckie and relegated to the assistant position last season, would take over as the head coach.
Duckie, who was also relieved of his coaching job with the national Under 23 team after their disastrous showing at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in July, only offered a “no comment” when contacted by the Observer.
Galloway said the board’s decision was based on comments Duckie made in post-game interviews on Sunday.
“The board was not pleased with what has been going on…things were brought up and basically the board did not like the type of football that had been displayed.”
The manager did admit they were happy with last season’s fourth-place finish, spearheaded by Duckie.
“Yes that was good; we did well in our first year and created history by getting to the semi-finals,” said Galloway.
In his interview with the Observer after the game, Duckie had said he was disappointed with the result, but thought his team was experienced enough to turn things around in what would be a long season.
“We were dismal in front of goal. We tried some new things, including committing a number of players in offence. Had we been more clinical, the result would have been different… we played well, had more possession and created a lot of chances, but that’s the game — we knew the risk going forward but we had to be clinical.
“It’s a long season and this is the first game; it’s a long season and we will improve, I am not too worried (as) we are experienced and we will continue to work and improve,” Duckie was quoted.
The club, which started under the name ‘Stush in the Bush’ and was financed by Englishman Peter Goule, has attracted nationwide attention and support with their meteoritic rise through the St Ann Football Association leagues and earning a place in the RSPL on their first attempt in the Premier League play-offs.
Meanwhile Davis, who qualified Seba United, (now Montego Bay United) to the RSPL and returned to lead them to their second title in three years in the 2015-2016 season, also coached at Arnett Gardens and Village United.
Davis was in charge of the Mount Pleasant FA team and was joined by Duckie for the Premier League play-offs, and said at the time he welcomed the addition of the much-travelled coach who had stints at several Premier League clubs.
Duckie was named head coach of the team for their first stint in the RSPL, with Davis as one of his assistants as the team finished third overall after 33 games and qualified for the semi-finals though losing to Waterhouse FC, the team he had led to the final the previous season.
Davis, who has been with the team “from the grass roots”, said his focus will be on trying to get the team to perform on match days.
“I am here to do a job, as I have been doing from the very start. There was a vacancy and I was asked to fill it — and it’s another coaching job that I will give my all to.
“We must try to get some goals, we have to start scoring, we are satisfied with the defensive part of the team, but the attack must get going,” said the former Jamaica international.