Premier League relegation could benefit MBU, FC Reno

The Sporting Edge

Paul Reid

Thursday, February 07, 2019

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It might not be such a bad thing for Montego Bay United (MBU) to be relegated from the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) at the end of this season.

Montego Bay United and FC Reno, both former champions, are at the foot of the RSPL point standings and struggling to put together results that would see them salvage their places for next year.

This has been the story for FC Reno for at least the last four seasons, but until last year, MBU have always managed to stay clear of the relegation scrap.

Both Portmore United ( PMU), the defending champions and current leaders of the RSPL, and Cavalier FC, who are in third place, were recently demoted from the RSPL, but used the time in the lower leagues to strengthen, then returned with a bang.

It makes no sense trying to reinvent the wheel and the MBU leaderships could take a page out of their books. Get out of the grind of the RSPL for one or two seasons, find good, investors and partners and invest in good young talent as both Cavalier and PMU have done.

Yes, it would be difficult for fans of the sport in the western parishes if none of the Super League contenders were to step up and fill the gap left by MBU next year, but the break could set them up for a more sustained run, instead of what we have been subjected to over the last two seasons.

After a disastrous start to the 2017-18 season under Rod Underwood, another American Tim Hankinson returned to the island in January 2018 and not only steered MBU clear of the drop zone but had them within a few points of vying for a play-off spot.

This year so far, both MBU and FC Reno have struggled, reeling from one loss after another, and based on form, it would take a miracle for both teams to escape the drop. One of the two might be able to, with some luck, save themselves, but both is hardly likely.

In the four or so decades that I have watched football in Jamaica, I cannot recall a national club competition with not even one western-based club.

St James was without a Premier League team for three years between the 2008 and 2009 season and 2010-2011 when Village United of Trelawny and Westmoreland's Reno flew the flag.

In 2005 and 2006, there were four teams from western Jamaica in the Premier League. Wadadah and Seba United from St James, Reno from Westmoreland and Village United from Trelawny.

A few years earlier, St James alone had four clubs, including Seaview and Violet Kickers, then Wadadah were relegated at the end of the 2006-07 season followed by Seba United a year later.

Seba United returned under the name Montego Bay United in the 2011-12 season, and maybe it's time for a break to restructure.

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