Jamaica’s football needs Butler, Blaine


February 25, 2017

Western Bureau:

After what has been a protracted stand-off, it would appear that a line of communication has finally opened up between Craig Butler, the outspoken co-founder of the Phoenix Football Academy and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss, Captain Horace Burrell.

Based on his vision for the game, his capacity to spot talent and his contacts globally, Jamaica's football needs a man like Butler if we are serious about rebuilding, especially at a time when our youth programme is struggling to remain relevant.

While I regularly criticise Burrell's stewardship, I still believe that he loves Jamaica's football dearly and must now be wracking his brain about how to get Butler on board without any major dislocation in terms of personnel.


I would like to see the current courtship between the JFF and Butler materialise into a successful union. However, I am concerned about Butler's antagonistic stance against Vin Blaine, who currently operates as the director of Jamaica's football.

While it is clear that Butler knows what he is about in terms of transforming raw talent into sparkling gems, I still cannot buy into this, 'my way or no way' stance he has taken in regards to throwing his support behind Jamaica's football.

Frankly speaking, as much as I would like to see Butler involved in Jamaica's football, especially if it would also mean having his Phoenix Football Academy players representing Jamaica, I still don't believe he should be accommodated at the expense of giving Blaine the boot.

While I know very little about Blaine's technical and tactical competence, outside of his yeomen service to the national women's programme, I still believe it would be an insult to all the persons who have toiled hard in the service of this country, if he is removed from the national programme solely because we would like to see a Leon Bailey and a Kyle Butler representing Jamaica.

It could well be true that Butler has solid reasons to hold a grudge against Blaine. However, Butler needs to understand that national football is bigger than both him and Blaine and if really cares about Jamaica's football and wants to see us do well, he probably needs to let bygones be bygones and try to help us build a brighter future.

special emphasis

I believe the JFF should take the bull by the horns and offer Butler the job as technical director of youth football with special emphasis on the developing youth academies across the country. Blaine could then be asked to concentrate on the senior programme with special emphasis on ensuring a smooth transition from the junior to the senior ranks.

If the persons on either side of this issue really care about national football, we probably need to look at what is happening in our very successful national track and field programme. While our two top coaches, Stephen Francis and Glen Mills, are clearly two different personalities, they are both giving maximum value to Jamaica without getting in each other's way.

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