Western Bureau:While acknowledging that he has detractors within the organisation, businessman Linnel McLean, who was recently re-elected to serve another term as chairman of the Jamaica Football Federation Western Confederation, is bent on keeping the organisation relevant.
"There are some elements that are not supportive of me and what I stand for," McLean told The Gleaner earlier this week. "However, I have a job to do so, if they don't want to work with me, I will just have to work around them."
When the 'Confed' elections were first announced, president of the Westmoreland FA Everton Tomlinson and Montego Bay United FC (MBUFC) chairman Orville Powell, both former chairmen of the confederation, indicated that they would be challenging McLean. However, those challenges never materialised.
In fact, at the congress McLean and all the members of the last administration were re-elected unopposed. The new team, which is to be strengthened by co-opted members in the near future, reads as follows: Linnel McLean - chairman, David Watt - vice-chairman, general secretary - Carol Gentles, assistant general secretary - Copeland Bailey and treasurer - Sheridan Samuels.
"I have a good team, and I see this as an opportunity to cement our presence on football here in the west," said McLean, who is also president of the Trelawny FA. "I believe our football is on a solid foundation, but we are not doing enough to highlight our successes."
Since taking over from Powell, whose tenure as 'Confed' chairman was cut short by his resignation in 2009, McLean has brought stability to the organisation, which was once a hotbed of controversy. During his previous tenure, Reno FC and MBUFC (formerly Seba United) both returned to the Red Stripe Premier League after being previously relegated.
In looking forward, McLean said he will be paying specific attention to areas such the development of playing fields, the development of a proper youth programme for the region and a new thrust to develop women's football.
"We will be looking at creating a partnership with the business community in the hope of getting their support to develop proper playing fields in the region," said McLean. "Hanover badly needs a venue with revenue-collecting potential, and if we are to get stronger and better, we need better facilities."
In looking at the restructuring of the confederation's premier competition for the ongoing 2011-12 season, which has been transformed from a league to a much shorter two-zone format, which will feature a mid-season finals, a semi-final and a final, McLean said it was an economic decision.
"The sponsors are not in a position to increase their support, so we had to restructure the competition in a way to reduce the cost," said McLean. "We are nonetheless expecting a very good season."
In the heyday of western Jamaica's football, the region was arguably the most powerful in national football, boasting as much as five National Premier League teams at one time.