Upset ‘Junglists’ held by TG
UPSET BY a salary dispute brought on by a restructuring exercise at their club, Arnett Gardens’ players stayed away from training for three days last week ahead of yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League clash against rivals Tivoli Gardens at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
All things considered, the 0-0 scoreline – despite coming against nine men – can hardly be considered a negative with reports that the players were at one point considering to not show up for the fixture. This after the club’s hierarchy decided early last week to cut the squad size and chop the salaries of players as well as members of the technical staff.
President of Arnett Gardens FC Patrick Roberts said that because sponsors withdrew their support, the club was faced with a situation that required these decisions.
“Following a meeting of the club’s executive body last month, a decision was taken to cut salaries. Our budget was between $1.7 million to $2 million previously on a monthly basis,” Roberts told The Gleaner after yesterday’s match.
“We looked at our situation, which is not unique because of the economical crisis. What happened is that the chairman met with the other executive members last month to look at downsizing. We still tried to come up with the additional funds, but that did not happen.
“Some players were given the opportunity to leave or take a salary cut. We have a squad of 40 players with about seventy-five percent of the squad on contract,” he also disclosed.
“We are trying to have a meeting with the players before the end of the week to explain the new situation moving forward. Now, we are looking at a budget of between $1.3 to $1.4 million in salaries. The PLCA gives each club $300,000 monthly, but we have to find creative ways to meet our budget,” Roberts explained.
He also said the entire board was still in place, but there had been changes to the security arrangement.
“We have a change in the security as we need stricter gate control. We had also planned to play the game against Tivoli under lights, but because it was a planned television game, the 3 p.m. start time could not be changed,” he further said.
On the field, veteran Tivoli goalkeeper Edsel ‘Robbie’ Scott was forced into a number of spectacular saves as his nineman team held the hosts in a hotly contested match.
Scott’s heroics were the highlight of the game and he was duly awarded the Man of the Match.
Tivoli lost their captain and central defender Romaine Breakenridge, who received a red card in the 31st minute for violent conduct after hitting Arnett’s striker Damari ‘Hustler’ Deacon in an off-the-ball incident.
Mitchily Waul was then given his marching orders after yellow cards in the 42nd and 52nd minutes. However, Arnett failed to capitalise on their two-man advantage.
Among Scott’s saves was a penalty kick taken by Arnett’s substitute Kemal ‘Tull’ Malcolm in the 81st minute. He also denied Deacon early in the game.
Arnett Garden’s Marvin Morgan (foreground) goes down under a challenge from Tivoli Gardens’ Jermaine Johnson during their Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Anthony Spaulding Sports complex yesterday. The game ended 0-0.