Sat | Jan 25, 2020

Hard done by - Damion Stewart feels slighted by Harbour View dismissal

Published:Monday | January 13, 2020 | 12:28 AM
Harbour View FC’s Damion Thomas (left) battles with Molynes United’s Romario Campbell during a Red Stripe Premier League game at the Constant Spring Field on Thursday, November 27, 2019. Harbour View was being coached by former defender Damion Stewart at the time.
Harbour View FC’s Damion Thomas (left) battles with Molynes United’s Romario Campbell during a Red Stripe Premier League game at the Constant Spring Field on Thursday, November 27, 2019. Harbour View was being coached by former defender Damion Stewart at the time.

When he got the appointment to coach his former club, Harbour View, back in November, former national senior ­defender Damion Stewart was eager to bring glory back to the ‘Stars of the East’. Two months later, however, Stewart finds himself out of a job after being dismissed by the club’s executives in a move he says he found hasty and poorly handled.

Stewart told The Gleaner that he felt that his dismissal as head coach caught him flat-footed and could have been handled better given his years of service to the club.

“I received the news via WhatsApp message,” he said. “It was very sudden. There was no indication that this was happening. The situation could have been handled better. I played for Harbour View from 1995 and did a 10-year stint there. I won the national title, multiple federation cups, and Jackie Bell titles. I was one of the players that brought the club money.”

Better club structure

During his brief stint as coach, Stewart said he noticed that the club lacked a proper structure. He said it was far too easy for players to bypass a coach’s ­decision and approach the executives and express their discontent.

“I think there needs to be a bridge between the players and directors of the club,” he said. “It’s too easy access for ­players to bypass the coach and ­sometimes complain straight to the ­directors instead of talking to the coaches.”

Stewart believes that it was not a ­matter of footballing issues that led to his dismissal as he only had been in charge for 10 games. His sentiments echoed those of Frank Taylor, who was also fired by Harbour View in similar fashion after he took control of the club upon Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner’s resignation.

Stewart feels that his time at the club was cut prematurely.

“Obviously, the football wasn’t the reason why I was sacked because I was there for only 10 games in charge of a team that hasn’t won anything for the last six years,” Stewart said. “Obviously, it’s a club in transition, so anyone that goes in will need more time.”

Building an identity

Stewart says he will now set his sights on schoolboy football for his next coaching job, believing that with younger players, he will have the opportunity to develop his football identity. This was something he says he was unable to do at Harbour View.

“The only problems, and not really ­problems to be fair, were Ajeanie [Talbott] and Luca Levee,” he said. “Every coach has a way of playing, and if players won’t conform to that, you just have to find players that will. That was the thing with Luca. He didn’t want to learn my system of play. He was stuck in his own way. If you’re not going to listen to me, I’m just going to put you to the side.”

Harbour View general manager Clyde Jureidini declined to make any response regarding Stewart when contacted by The Gleaner. He maintains that as at this time, he would not be making any more ­statements on the decision taken.

Gregory Bryce