Interesting days ahead as new season of RSPL kicks off today
Portmore United's players pose with the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) trophy after the Shavar Thomas-coached team beat Waterhouse 1-0 in the final of the 2018-2019 season on Monday, April 29, 2019 at the National Stadium. (PHOTO: Llewelyn Wynter). Portmore United will now take orders from Ricardo "Bibi" Gardner for the new season, which kicks off on Sunday, September 1.
The new season of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), which kicks off on Sunday should be interesting and the early attention will certainly be on Arnett Gardens, Humble Lion and two-time defending champions Portmore United, which will be taking instructions from new coaches.
Interestingly, Andrew Price - who has guided Boys’ Town over the years – has made the switch to Clarendon-based outfit Humble Lion with new Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) Mike Henry, the chairman of the club.
Boys’ Town will not be around this season as the club was relegated from top-flight football on Match Day 28 of last season, 13 years after returning under the guidance of Price.
Price takes over from O’Neil "Bigga" Thompson, who was given the job at Humble Lion in February 2019 after Glendon “Admiral” Bailey failed to inspire the club.
Humble Lion, which failed to get into the playoffs last season after finishing eighth with 35 points, will begin their 2019-2020 campaign away to Arnett Gardens, which parted ways with long-time coach Jerome Waite, who has led the club to four of its five RSPL titles, and employed one of their former players, the inexperienced Alex Thomas.
Alex is the younger brother to Shavar, who has led Portmore United to back-to-back RSPL titles before departing at the end of last season to take up coaching duties in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Alex is also the head coach at Wolmer's Boys' School, a post he took last year but the Heroes Circle-based school suffered an early elimination from the Digicel Manning Cup.
Arnett Gardens ended last season in fifth place on 49 points after making it to the play-offs.
An interesting game looms between Arnett Gardens and Humble Lion on Sunday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex as both new coaches will be looking to start life at their new clubs on a positive note.
Portmore United will begin the defense of their title in the Monday night fixture against the promoted Kingston and St Andrew Football Association outfit Molynes United at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
The seven-time RSPL champion will be taking orders from former national senior team captain Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, who failed to make an impact at his boyhood club Harbour View and resigned in December 2018 after accepting the job in 2017.
In 15 matches under Gardner last season, Harbour View registered just two wins, while losing six and drawing seven. When Gardner, who spent 14 seasons as a professional in England, departed Harbour View, the four-time RSPL champions were in 11th position in the 12 team standings with 13 points, four points adrift of bottom-of-the-table Dunbeholden.
An interesting season looms for Gardner and Portmore United.
Meanwhile, the other promoted team, Vere United, will begin their campaign in topflight football on Match Day 2 (September 8) against Portmore United at the Wembley Centre of Excellence in Hale, Clarendon.
UWI FC vs Tivoli Gardens at UWI Bowl Mona (3:30pm)
Mount Pleasant vs Harbour View at Drax Hall Sports Complex (4:00pm)
Cavalier FC vs. Dunbeholden FC at Stadium East (5:00pm)
Arnett Gardens FC vs Humble Lion FC at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex (7:00pm)
Portmore United FC vs Molynes United FC at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex (8:30pm)