Orville Higgins | Butler has lost some ground
It has come and gone with relatively small national interest. This one didn't even merit the tag of the proverbial nine-day wonder. The game was played at Waterhouse. The scores were carried in local media the next day, and that, pretty much, was the end of that. "Who would have 'thunk' this?" Sic.
A few months ago, a game between Craig Butler's Phoenix outfit and the national team was being talked about. People then had a genuine interest. At that time, the drama that was unfolding between Butler and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) was at an all-time high. Public sentiment was more on Butler's side then than it is now. More Jamaicans were of the view then that the JFF should do more to facilitate Butler and his Phoenix players. That proposed game was to settle all arguments about who could nurture and produce better players, Phoenix on the one hand and Jamaica's football on the other.
The game didn't take place. Truth be told, it was never going to happen, but it was a nice fantasy to have. Since then, there has been a subtle shift in public sentiment.
Butler has not exactly endeared himself to a wide cross section of the Jamaican public. Even his biggest supporters in media and elsewhere couldn't always support his positions. He may be a good football mind and a great agent but he couldn't teach a course on how to win friends and influence people. We thought this Phoenix - versus - Jamaica game had died a natural death until we heard about St Andrews FC from Malta against Waterhouse.
Just at the point where we were wrapping our heads around this new arrangement we heard that the game will not get the blessings from the JFF because proper guidelines were not followed. How could that be?
Unaware of protocol?
Surely, Waterhouse and Butler himself should have known of the international protocols. Butler, I've gathered, is not happy at the JFF snub, but the truth is neither Waterhouse nor Butler has come out looking too good. Next thing we heard was that a Phoenix All Stars team comprising many of the same St Andrews players would be taking on Waterhouse instead. You may be asking, what's in a name?
The JFF cannot prevent an all-stars game, so bingo! A game was on after all! An impressive win for the Phoenix team would have created some ripples. It would have lent credibility to many of the negatives that Butler had been saying about Jamaica's football. To use a Phoenix aggregation and beat the Premier League leaders would have given Butler a real psychological boost over the JFF and his detractors. As it turned out Waterhouse came out easy out 3-0 winners.
The lack of a system that Butler had criticised the JFF ad nauseam about wasevident in his own team.
You wonder if Butler had badly miscalculated the strength of his own players. He has lost some ground here. From all reports, Kyle Butler looked OK though. Could that have been the sole purpose of the game? To put him on display? From what I was told by trusted analysts, he looked decent enough and could merit attention from the national coach, although my sources say he couldn't be considered an automatic selection by any means. So the game has come and gone with little fanfare. You wonder what's the next episode in the ongoing drama that involves Butler and the JFF. Knowing Butler it shouldn't be long in coming.