Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Veteran football administrator Everton Tomlinson was re-elected to another two years as head honcho of the Westmoreland Football Association, this after his opponent - radio broadcaster and teacher Ian Miles - failed to show for Saturday's polls at Belmont Academy in Bluefields.
Tomlinson was duly nominated and elected by 44 of the 57 delegates to serve another term in the capacity as president, a position he has held since 1993.
In the build-up to the election, Miles had ruffled some feathers in campaigning for the post, making for a bitter pre-election period. But the likelihood of getting the majority of delegates to vote in his favour may have been an uphill task for Miles, as Tomlinson had long been seen as a great footballing mind by many in the parish, mainly because of his long association with the sport.
From his playing time at Savanna-la-Mar Secondary (Godfrey Stewart High) and St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), to his days at Westland and Reno FC, he had built a solid, though, at times, controversial legacy.
"The delegates saw it fit to return me to office because of what they saw in the 10 years that I have led the parish football association," Tomlinson told The Gleaner.
"The administration has taken football to all corners of this parish with our grass-roots competitions, and thanks to this administration and the youth programmes we have in place, Westmoreland schools have won two daCosta Cup titles," he boasted, "and this new term will see even greater things as we seek to revolutionise our clubs for future success at all levels."
Westmoreland's much-publicised grass-roots programme, which is the cornerstone being used by Tomlinson in the pursuit of better standard of play, takes place every Saturday morning in various communities and will, in the near future, be expanded into a yearlong league, he says.
"This programme gives us a tremendous start for our youths. These children will be drawn across the entire parish to participate in our grass-roots league, where parents will be the managers and coaches.
"This is a unique attempt to get everyone actively involved in football at the youth level, so parents will be the coaches and this is important also for the children, who no doubt may feel at home taking advice from their own parents," said Tomlinson.
The competition will see players aged six to eight years participating, as well as boys and girls in the 10-12 category.
"I am willing to start fresh with the youngsters at this stage of their development so that in the future, the parish football will be better served," Tomlinson reasoned.
The rest of the WFA executive team are Donald Gordon (first vice-president), Cedric Patton (second vice-president), Dr Kevin McIntyre - third vice-president, Devon Maxwell - general secretary, Beverly Spence-Chin - treasurer, Zemroy Senior - assistant treasurer/secretary, and public relations officer - Shermaine Hartley.