Thomas eager to start Arnett job
When the 2019-20 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football season begins next month, a new man will be at the helm at Arnett Gardens, as Alex Thomas will be calling the shots from the top. Thomas replaced long- standing head coach Jerome Waite.
Waite was axed by the club management because it was felt Arnett needed a full-time coach, while Waite’s focus was not only on the club, but also Charlie Smith High School and the national senior men’s team, where he serves as the assistant coach.
“I am ready for the challenge because I live in the community and I used to play for them in the past, so this is not a new environment for me,” Thomas told STAR Sports. “The management of the club reached out to me at first, and I told them that I had to think about it. I had to discuss the whole thing with my family members because I had to let the people around me know what was going on. Their response was good, so I went back to management and told them that I was ready and willing for the job.”
Although Arnett management felt Waite’s schedule was too busy, Thomas’ appointment raises eyebrows as he too will be splitting attention between teams, being the head coach of Wolmer’s Boys School in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup. His schoolboy football season will run from September to December, with teams sometimes playing two or three matches in a week. But Thomas says he is not fazed about the prospect.
“I really do not know what was the problem at Arnett with management and Jerome (Waite), but this is all about man management,” he said. “Yes, Wolmer’s and Arnett are two big teams. Coaching at both is like coaching at Real Madrid and Barcelona as they are big name teams, and both come with pressure and that is the pace of the job and I can manage. It can work, as I can juggle with both teams, and I will always do my best. I will give both teams my full support and it will work.”
Knowing that this will be his first assignment at this level, despite his years of involvement at Wolmer’s Boys’ as assistant coach and head coach since last season, Thomas said he is not worried about the task ahead.
“Nervous? No, that is not in our book,” he said. “The last time my brother (former Portmore United head coach Shavar Thomas) did an interview, he said nervousness is not in our books, as we are strong and that is how we have grown up to be. We are strong and we are always ready for challenges and we are going to put in the work and the fans can expect great things.”
Alex said his elder brother, who had back-to-back RSPL title success at Portmore, has given him his full support at Arnett.
“I have learnt a lot from him and he also has learnt a lot from me, as I have been in coaching before him,” he said. “We talked about football on a daily basis as that’s all we talk about. He talked to me about this Arnett job and he said ‘Brother, take it with both hands, and do your thing as I have your back 100 per cent.’
“I don’t want to be like him, I want to do greater things than him. I want to achieve more as this is the way we compete against each other as we push ourselves to the limit, from youth days playing together.”
Thomas said his immediate aim for this season with The Junglists, is to at least finish in the RSPL top six.