Follow the Trace: All’s well that ends well
So after all, we did have an exciting final game and we do have a 2015-16 Red Stripe Premier League champion. Congratulations are in order to Montego Bay United, who duly and spectacularly crowned themselves champions of local football amidst all the preceding controversy.
The actual football action on the pitch will still have to compete with the theatrics of the two weeks leading into the final. Montego Bay United president, Mr Orville Powell, voluntarily played the part of the maligned messenger, but amidst the quagmire of contentious and vitriolic outbursts he did deliver some poignant and relevant messages.
It is quite clear that Mr Powell and Montego Bay United were indeed disrespected and treated unfairly.
Time for the final
The admission by the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) that they did consult with Portmore United and not Montego Bay United re the changes to the scheduling and the time for the final is one count.
Count number two is the blatant double standard, in that Montego Bay United actually requested for a rescheduling of the final in previous seasons on the grounds that the MoBay fans had to travel to and from Kingston on a Monday night and his request was unequivocally denied.
To have this year’s final shifted to Montego Bay and the start time adjusted that is a valid case of what being good for the goose not being good for the gander, which is most unjust. Word from the Montego Bay United camp is that these specific cases are mere symptoms of wider issues the western club has been having overtime with the football authorities.
One could argue that it is of their own doing, with Mr Powell’s eccentricity and his outspoken traits which make him not the easiest person to work with. The principle, however, supersedes the individual and the communication amongst the stakeholders and the public was poor from the start.
It was only last Friday, two days before the final and more than a week into the spiralling controversy, that it was made public that the title sponsors had plans to broadcast the final to 24 countries around the world, which understandably could have had a major influence on the date and time set for the final.
Why then were these dynamics not communicated to ALL the stakeholders, including Montego Bay United, in a timely manner?
All is well that ends well though. Montego Bay United weathered the swirling, emotional storm surrounding this game and fully deserve to be champions.
The publicity and hype created by the controversy were invaluable. It was perhaps not the best kind of publicity from a corporate perspective, but it was a great sell for the game itself, which attracted a large crowd.
There has not been a Premier League final in recent history that generated this amount of drama, spectacle and interest leading into the game itself. As to whether or not we have all been befuddled by a brilliant stroke of marketing genius - ignited by these two weeks of uncut controversy - or there are genuine issues that need to be addressed, we might never know. But for sure, it worked out quite fine in the end.
We look forward to next season and hope that it will, at least, be equally competitive, that will culminate in another dramatic and spectacular high profile climax. The league needs it, football needs it.