Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Andrew Price, head coach of Boys' Town Football Club, has been left hurt by the departure of four of his top players during the January transfer window.
The four players who have left the Collie Drive-based club are national senior team representatives Oneil 'Bigga' Thompson and Xavian Virgo, Premier League veteran and former national youth player Antony Bennett, and the club's leading scorer after the opening two rounds, Rafeik Thomas.
Thompson has joined Arnett Gardens, Virgo is now at league leaders Harbour View, Bennett is now with Clarendon-based outfit Humble Lion, and Thomas currently calls Tivoli Gardens home.
"I'm not only coach of the team, I am mentor and like a father figure and it is very difficult to part company with people you consider your sons. But it is a part of life and it is the sport," Price said.
"All these players have contributed significantly to the development of Boys' Town's football programme over the last decade and we are really sorry that they have left us, but the show must continue."
Continuing, Price says there are "capable" replacements in his squad who can measure up to the league standard.
"I think we have capable players, experienced, seasoned campaigners who are willing to step up, blended with young, youthful, exuberant players who I believe can come out and do a good job."
According to Price, the foursome asked for transfers and the club granted their request, as it would make no sense to have people at the club who were not happy.
There is also the factor of money, an area in which Price believes Boys' Town will continue to struggle to compete with other clubs.
Not highly paid
"Boys' Town has never been a club that has been heavily financially supported and, as such, we pay with the little that we get from the PLCA (Premier League Clubs' Association) and whatever supporters come forward to support and help us," Price outlined. "So anyone coming to Boys' Town will know that Boys' Town is not one of the higher-paying clubs in Jamaica.
"But what we do is try and make our players feel comfortable and live like a family, where there is good camaraderie and we treat them with respect. If you want to get a big salary, here is not the place to look for it. So we are always going to be threatened by other clubs who are able to pay big salaries that we are not able to manage, and that has been happening for years; it is not the first time."
With Thomas - who scored eight of the team's 27 goals this season - departing, Price is expecting Jermaine Allen, who has returned to the club on a permanent move from Tivoli Gardens, to be among those who take on the scoring duties.
Allen is one of only two signings that Boys' Town made in January, the other being Adrian King from Waterhouse.
Despite the 13-point deficit between themselves and league leaders Harbour View (45), Price is confident that his team can still challenge for the title.
"Last year we battled back from an 11-point deficit to push Portmore down to the final game of the season, and the previous year Tivoli were leading by 13 points and both titles were decided by the last game," Price reminded. "This is the time of the year that we (Boys' Town) normally make our push, and I believe that we still have the quality players that can push for that title."