Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Vidal envisions taking Waterhouse to next level

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 1:00 AMLivingston Scott
National Baking Company (NBC) joined up as sponsors of Waterhouse Football Club for the 2015-16 Red Stripe Premier League season, with a million-dollar presentation at Waterhouse Stadium on Sunday. Those involved in the presentation were (from left) Waterhouse player Paul Young Jr, Ainsley Smikle (treasurer), Fitzroy Vidal (president), Bruce Bicknell (chairman), NBC’s Steven Sykes, operations manager, and Janelle Brown, marketing manager. Also in the photo is the NBC mascot, the Jamaica humming bird.

When Ricky Chin resigned as president of Waterhouse Football Club last season, it was certain that the next man to step into his boots would have a mountainous task returning the club to the peak of it powers.

After a comprehensive search, Jamaica Public Service (JPS) board member and a director for energy in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Fitzroy Vidal, was handed the mantle to move the club forward.

"Waterhouse Football Club is one of the biggest football clubs in the country. I was asked to assume this role of taking charge of the club as president and I consented and the management asked me to implement the necessary changes that I saw fit and rebuild the club to its former glory and even exceed it," he stated.

Vidal said the club's hierarchy contended that the club was not being managed properly, and that it was plagued with problems of inadequate structures and financial challenges such as a high electricity bill and was overburdened by a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) fine.

OPERATINGAS ABUSINESS

"The administrative area needs changes and we have had personnel changes. But it's work in progress. We have more to do and we want the right people, but we are determined to take it (club) to the professional level, as we want to run it as a business."

He added: "We are facing mountains of debts which we are committed to paying off and at the same time to run the club as a professional unit is extremely difficult. But I undertook the task to transform the club into a business operation and put it back to its rightful position. But the financial management is of high priority and we are putting structures in place.

"Our sponsors are big stakeholders. We saw National Continental Bakery stepping forward and giving us additional money to support us and it is extremely important because it takes money to run a football and this is sending a big signal and we are grateful for it.

"They (sponsors) have been with us through the good and bad times, the highs and lows and corporate Jamaica know what football can do for this community with financial support on a larger scale," Vidal reasoned.

However, uncharacteristic poor results on the field this season have been a major cause for concern, sparking fears of relegation in a community which lives, eats and breathes Waterhouse Football Club.

"The community is very important to this football club, the fan base is very strong and very supportive. The club was hungry for change and it has been difficult, but very strategic. We made some changes at the technical level and after I got the technical team I wanted, I then moved my focus to the administrative aspect and we have seen improvements, although not as much as we would have wanted, particularly because we have been paying our debts to creditors," he noted.

"My vision is to make Waterhouse Football Club a football giant, winning leagues, developing youngsters into professional footballers and helping them ply their trade on the international scene and leverage the Waterhouse FC brand for the sustainable benefit of all stakeholders.

"I am proud to be identified with this club because everywhere I go people want to be associated with them," said Vidal.