Wed | Aug 21, 2019

The Gold standard - New Arnett chairman aiming for sustainable business model

Published:Monday | April 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp/Gleaner Writer
In this file photo from June 5, 2017, Mark Golding (right) is pictured celebrating Arnett Gardens’ winning the Red Stripe Premier League title with midfielder Marvin Morgan (centre) and his teammates. Golding was officially appointed the club’s new chairman in a general meeting held on Saturday.

Newly elected chairman of Arnett Gardens Football Club Mark Golding said that he stepped into the role with the purpose of giving the club what he described as a more sustainable business model.

Following a well-documented issue of players not receiving salaries for months, a new executive was unanimously unopposed at a general meeting on Saturday.

Prior to that, Ricardo 'Charlie Chaplin' Bennett resigned as general manager in February. Patrick Roberts also tendered his resignation as president on Thursday after 18 years in charge.

The new Arnett Gardens FC executive body reads: Mark Golding, chairman; Chris Marshall vice-chairman; Derrick Crooks, vice-chairman; Chris Bicknell president; Peter Thelwell, general manager; Patrick Rose, treasurer; and Sophia Fraser-Binns, general secretary.

Golding, in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, explained why he decided to take on the responsibility of leading the club forward after former Member of Parliament and club chairman Dr Omar Davies stepped down.

"I succeeded Dr Davies as MP in the constituency last September. In the run-up to that, Dr Davies made it clear to me as he found it difficult to fund the club and because of health-related issues he could not continue," he added.

"I stepped in and made sure that the club could continue to operate in the 2016-17 season, and I went out and raised money from corporate Jamaica and was able to ensure that the club operated seamlessly for that season. We ended up being the champions last season."




Golding explained that after replacing Davies, he oversaw the club's finances while working with Bennett. He said he then suggested creating a board of directors to address what he said was a failing business model in the club. Golding offered Roberts a role on the board but had this offer declined as Roberts said he was not in agreement with his vision.

"The executive met and decided that Charlie would stay on as general manager," he said. "At that point, I was confused because Dr Davies had formally appointed me as chairman by letter of appointment. I requested KSAFA's (Kingston and St Andrew Football Association) intervention but Roberts came up with a document that he said was a constitution, but Dr Davies was unaware of any constitution. Apparently, it was drafted over a decade ago but was never ratified by the executive.

"The constitution gave the president the role as chairman of the executive, and it put the presidential position at the heart of the governance of the club. I told them if I was to be in charge, I must be in a position to do so. I stepped back and wished them well."

Golding said that the players requested KSAFA to allow him to take over as chairman as an ongoing issue with salaries led to frustration affecting team form in the league. After KSAFA obliged, the club went ahead with Saturday's general meeting.