Western Grandstand - Don’t give the PLCA the last laugh
As most football fans in Montego Bay would have hoped, the city's pride and joy, Montego Bay United FC, have earned the right to contest the 2015-16 Red Stripe Premier League final and from all indications, stand a fabulous chance of walking away with the coveted title for the second time in three years.
However, while the club's ecstatic fans are gearing up for the grand finale against Portmore United, slated for the Montego Bay Sports Complex at 4 p.m. tomorrow, the overall arrangement of the game has not gone down well with Orville Powell, the tough-talking boss of MBUFC, who is hopping mad at the designated start time.
Arguing that the early start time could prevent some working fans from seeing the game, the aggrieved Powell issued a threat that his team will not take the field unless the time is adjusted by the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), which seemingly took the decision without consultation.
Knowing the trademark high-handed manner in which the PLCA and its boss, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), handle most issues, I seriously doubt that they will bow to Powell's demand.
In fact, I rather suspect that they might be using this as a ploy to irritate Powell, who has repeatedly and openly challenged the organisation.
While I can understand Powell's position, especially in regard to being upset by the PLCA's modus operandi, if I was in his position, I would just dismiss the arrogance of the PLCA and play the game at 4 p.m.
Additionally, I think Powell should also be cognisant that the PLCA might just be itching to find a legitimate reason to drop the hammer on MBUFC in the hope of shutting him up.
As some persons have been saying, it could well be that the PLCA, based on the wishes of the sponsors and the availability of a television slot to air the game live, had no choice but to play the game at 4 p.m.
However, because of their dubious record of making arbitrary decisions, similar to Powell, I would not readily take their word, especially since, with the very same set of circumstances, the last two finals were played at night (in Kingston).
In addition, if the PLCA had a problem getting a Sunday- evening television slot to air the game, I would like to know what are the reasons why the game could not be switched to Monday night in the 8:30 p.m. slot reserved for television game during the preliminary phase of the competition.
Based on my assessment, the time of the game was deliberately set for a time when MBUFC will not have maximum crowd support as a way of compensating Portmore United agreeing to travel across the country to play the final at Catherine Hall, is the alternate home ground for MBUFC.
I believe if that argument was put to Powell, he would have probably bought into it since he should recognise that, by playing in Montego Bay, his team already has a big advantage in terms of familiar surroundings and possible crowd support.
While I must applaud Powell for not being afraid to stand up to both the PLCA and the JFF when it comes to defending his rights.
I would urge him to play the game, as scheduled, as experience should have taught him that you cannot expect unreasonable persons to act reasonably, especially if they are aiming to prove a point.
I don't believe I will be attending the game because, unless there is a change in my work plans, I will be engaged in other activities at that time.
Nonetheless, I will be throwing my full support behind MBUFC because I want to see Powell's vision for national football being backed up by titles, not just talk.