Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Powell yearning for bigger and better

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 11:02 PMAdrian Frater and Paul Clarke
Montego Bay United FC's captain Dwayne Ambusley (with trophy) celebrate his team's victory in the 2015/16 Red Stripe NPL final with his team-mates and club supporters.

When Seba United was rebranded Montego Bay United (MBU) Football Club after businessman Orville Powell acquired the franchise in 2011, one of his stated objective was to use the western city's global appeal as a premier tourism destination as a marketing tool for the club.

While the club is yet cemented the kind of phenomenal relationship top-flight international clubs such as FC Barcelona and Manchester United has had with their home cities, there is no question that, from a local perspective, MBUFC has quickly become an unqualified success, having qualified for the last three Red Stripe NPL finals.

"It feels good; but personally, I know we have not won anything yet," said Powell, in seeking to balance his long-term expectation against the team's championship success in 2013/14 and 2015/16 season. "In terms of where we want the club to go, this is just the start."

In addition to their on the field success, the club has also invested significantly in the building of its infrastructure, which includes the Wespow Park, in Tucker, which features a modern club house completed with living quarters, a gymnasium, a restaurant and offices. It also features one official match field, two training fields and a futsol field.

"The first couple of years after we changed the name from Seba United to MBU were tough, but to be in the finals of the premier league in three consecutive seasons, winning twice, that is the growth we are talking about," said Powell. "We are getting better. Two of our players have been called to work overseas (contracts), so it is clear we are getting there."

In winning a second NPL title as the rebranded MBU, Powell believes his classy outfit, which also contested the 2015/16 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, is on the way to fashioning an exceptional football product.




"The long-term goal is to deliver a football product that is second-to-none, one that offers players, supporters and sponsors the best possible chance to raise the bar with a progressive football club," said Powell.

"Our relative success gives joy. I see the joy in the people. The happiness it brings when we win the title is exceptional. The response I get from the people is amazing. Words cannot explain what I am feeling," added Powell.

Success for MBU has come at a hefty cost but for Powell, it is all part and parcel of his dream of becoming the very best on the local circuit and then moving on to become an established force globally.

"The investment is substantial ... the club's yearly expenditure rounds out to approximately $30-40 million, most of which will not be recouped," said Powell. "We are growing and we are being loved more. People are now understanding why we made so much hard choices and they are coming on board with us"

In breaking down the club's expenditure, Powell said the overall maintenance of Wespow Park, which includes a fifty meter swimming pool, the practise fields and match field, a go-kart track and a restaurant, coupled with the salaries of players and staff, takes up the lion's share of the club's wage bill.

With a product the entire St. James can rally around with pride, Powell believes MBU is now poised to be the catalyst of change in terms of uniting the parish, which is currently being plagued by violence and a myriad of social issues.

"It's a difficult job, but one that I cherish and love and I have no intentions of pulling out. I made a commitment to see to the development of football in St. James and Jamaica and it is still my dream today and will be my dream tomorrow," stated Powell