Teddy has grown - Johnson's attitude has changed, says Edwards
Coach of Tivoli Gardens Omar Edwards said that his star attacker Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson's attitude has changed despite the player serving a three-match ban for indiscipline during a Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) match earlier this month.
Johnson was found in breach of Article 57 and was suspended for three games and fined a total of $20,000. He received a one-match suspension and was fined $15,000 for threats against the officials. He received further punishment of two games, and a $5,000 fine for assaulting a match official (without causing harm).
The 37-year-old Johnson has a history of being suspended in England as he picked up several red cards.
The incident took place during a RSPL match between Tivoli and Harbour View at Harbour View Stadium on February 7. The game ended prematurely because of unruly spectators throwing missiles on to the pitch with the hosts leading 2-0 in the 68th minute.
In a replay, over a week ago, Harbour View won 2-0.
"Before the red card, his attitude has grown tremendously. He is the player who motivates the team, talking to a few players to correct their flaws, and he tries to be the person for others to look up to based on his football qualities," Edwards told STAR Sports yesterday.
"His knowledge and professionalism of reaching training very early is a big plus. He has never been late for one training session since I moved to Tivoli from Boys' Town last season. As the coach, sometimes I try to reach training earlier than Teddy but he always beats me," the coach shared.
"That is the professionalism he has developed as a player, while playing in England. We can't fine him for being late for a training session. He has never been late," Edwards insisted.
"Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson, despite his age, is very important to the Tivoli Gardens team. I mean, just his presence on the field gives opposing defenders problems," he also said.
"As a coach, I have set standards and asked Teddy to be that influential player in the team. There are times when he is not playing and he would give a shout out to the players. They recognise Teddy's voice and listen up to his instruction," continued Edwards.
Tivoli Gardens are in third position on 43 points in the 12-team RSPL, behind leaders Portmore United, who are on 56 points, and second-place Arnett Gardens (46).
"Our aim is still to finish the league on most points. We are going to continue to give it a shot. Portmore are in first place, over 10 points in the lead. It is still possible for us to pass them and win the $1 million prize, but just in case it does not work our way, we are going for the next best position of second place," Edwards pointed out.
"It would be pleasing to finish second, which would give us an automatic berth into the semifinal instead of starting from the quarter-final stage in the play-off. Arnett are currently occupying second position, so we have set our eyes directly on them. If we can overtake Arnett that would be added motivation," the coach concluded.
Tivoli will host Montego Bay United in their next fixture at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex on Sunday, starting at 3:30 p.m.