Regional

Whither MBU?

Former premier league champs head for relegation

The Sporting Edge Paul Reid

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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Montego Bay United (MBU), the club that reignited club football in western Jamaica, dragging it out of the doldrums with three straight Red Stripe Premier League final appearances and two titles, are in trouble and could be relegated at the end of the season.

Led by the controversial founding president Orville Powell, who angered many when he took over and renamed Seba United, MBU won over the hearts of football fans who turned out in their numbers to watch games at Wespow Park and the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

But the departure of Powell from the club has seen a dramatic downturn in fortunes, and unless drastic action is taken immediately, another great club that brought joy to the football-crazy fans of the western city could vanish from the scene or go into the obscurity of 'bush leagues' like former champions before them, Violet Kickers and Wadadah FC.

MBU have hit rock bottom and appear to be digging deeper under the surface as the team could be out of the RSPL next season, ending a seven-year run during which they took their fans on a roller-coaster ride.

The team that rose to the very top of local club football between the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, a mere three years ago, are dead last in the points standings with 19 from 23 games played; have scored just 16 goals, one short of the lowest in the league; and have conceded 34.

This season's reincarnation of MBU looks a shadow of the teams from the 2014 to 2016 seasons, despite many of the players still on the books of the club.

There seems to be a general malaise over the entire club from the lack of commitment by the players on the field, the lack of an experienced coach with proven success at this level all season, and what appears, at least to us on the outside, the nonchalance of management to get the listing ship back upright and fighting for life.

That Powell would never stand for this is without question. The new ownership of the club appears content to sit back and watch the ship go down.

After an off season of uncertainty with the departure of Powell, there was a brief glimmer of hope at the start of the season, with promises of the return of championship football and the inclusion of bright, new, young talent.

Those promises and hopes were quickly snuffed out with a series of uninspired performances to start the season, and despite the briefest of flashes here and there, the team has not been able to put together a meaningful run all year.

With 10 games to be played, MBU are in dire straits, and unless there is a veteran coach who knows how to light a fire under the players and get them to dig deep, St James will be without an RSPL team next season.

If the MBU management are serious about staying in the RSPL, they must wake up and take action, grab the bull by the horns, and find a tactician that can guide the team from their place in the cellar.

They are three or four points from relative safety, and while almost every other team in the lower half have made moves to help themselves, MBU have stood pat.

It's time to go after a coach of the calibre of a Paul “Tegat” Davis who has shown his worth in the RSPL and at MBU in the past, or else it will be Super League football for them next year.


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