Sun | Aug 20, 2017

No home sweet home - RSPL clubs missing own ground advantage

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 2:05 AMLivingston Scott
Osani Ricketts (left) of Portmore United and Jamoy Sibblies (centre) of Maverley-Hughenden battle for the ball, while Portmore United's Kambuji McCalla (No 21) looks on during a recent Red Stripe Premier League football match at the Constant Spring Field.

Portmore United, Boys' Town and Maverley-Hughenden do not have the luxury of hosting games at their home grounds, and each of the teams has suffered in one way or another because of this.

Craig Walters, president of Maverley-Hughenden, said its field needs renovation. Boys' Town's coach Andrew Price says that a broken water pump has led to serious deterioration of the field and they have been forced to play at Barbican until it is fixed. Meanwhile, Portmore's assistant coach, Linval Dixon, says their playing surface has also suffered from drought.

Not having a place to call home on match days has disadvantages. For Walters, it affects gate receipts. "We are renting, so a percentage of the gate goes to paying for the field. It affects revenue because we cannot maximise the gates and money is key to running the club," he said.

"Hosting away games can run you into a hundred thousand [dollars] a game. You have renting, security, medical service, having a PA system. If the rental could be cut out, other areas would still be covered, but it would mean $200,000-$3000,000 a month, and that could pay salary and other things," he reasoned.

Price says Boys' Town have suffered the last two seasons without the atmosphere at the Collie Smith Complex. Even though they lose revenue when they play at Collie Smith, Price says their 12th man has been irreplaceable.

"Not having them (fans) is a significant loss. But our anticipation is to return home as soon as the pump is sorted [out]," he said.

Barbican has less spectator attendance, Price noted, but they collect more there.

"We don't get the turnout (at Barbican), but we get enough revenue to deal with game expenses. Sometimes we play at Boys' Town and are not able to do that, because it's not completely secured. But home has proved to be a motivator. Collie Smith is a fortress, so not having games there affects us," he added.

Walters also argues Maverley-Hughenden lack the home atmosphere they desire. "Constant Spring is nothing compare to your home field. That homely environment that we want is not present," he said.

Of the three teams, Portmore United are the most successful, and yet the most unsettled. The team started out playing at the Juici Field in Clarendon before turning to Prison Oval of late.

"It's a big disadvantage. Ferdie Neita is short of water. Management is looking at how best they can sort it out, because it's frustrating not being able to play at home.

"We don't have a huge fan base, but we take the little (crowd) we get with the big games. You don't get the same support as when you play at home, but our football standard is still high and we hope that draws a few spectators, but we hope to get back to Ferdie Neita Park soon. The management is trying to get water, even if they have to go through the mayor or councillor," he said.