New owners plot success for Sporting
TOLL GATE, Clarendon — A new-look management team at Sporting Central Academy (SCA) has promised to transform the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) side into a successful and "vibrant Members' Club."
Led by president Ainsley Lowe, the new group of investors officially assumed ownership of the club on June 25 and has since named former ISSA president Clement Radcliffe as chairman.
Gareth Williams (treasurer), Courtney Murray (managing director) and Samantha Stewart (secretary) are listed as the other board members, while Vassell Reynolds, who had three coaching stints at the club, will serve as the board's technical advisor.
Lowe, who is the managing director of Image One Limited, told the Jamaica Observer he is confident in the group's ability to bring success to the south-western Clarendon outfit.
"The board is not a group of talkers. Everyone on it has achieved significantly in and out of football," declared Lowe, who previously served as an executive of South Central Super League team Spartan Athletic.
"The club will not be owned by a single individual," he added. "We are currently in the process, through our lawyers, to have (it) registered as a membership club. When that is completed we will invite members who will be entitled to all the privileges afforded by the club's constitution."
Lowe, who confessed to being a long-term admirer of the team, said his role is "to build on the great foundation and make the club more inclusive and sustainable".
He also confirmed that Sporting will continue to play their home games at Brancourt in Clarendon Park, but revealed that modification to the team's logo and strip, likewise an improved press and VIP area, are some of the changes that can be expected for the upcoming season.
Meantime, longstanding Under-21 coach Nigel Stewart has been promoted to head coach of the premiership team after serving in that position on an interim basis towards the end of last season.
Founded in 2000 by Brandon Murray and former Reggae Boy Chris Dawes as a replacement for the now defunct Galaxy FC, Sporting — who finished ninth in last season's Premier League — have struggled to contain their top-flight status since gaining promotion in 2007.
Except for their first season when they eked out a top-six finish, the Clarendon club spent the last four seasons battling relegation, often needing last-day heroics to avoid demotion.
They have also had their share of administrative problems, with the previous owners oftentimes struggling to meet their financial obligations.
Despite their problems, Sporting have managed to win the hearts of many local fans with their exciting brand of touch football and tendency to groom talented young players.
Lowe said the aim of this administration is to build on that legacy.
"That philosophy is and will continue to be at the heart of Sporting," he said. "We have players in our team who have been with us for 5-7 years and they are still under 23. Our (youngsters) will be given the environment at Sporting to grow and expose themselves."