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Gore Development injects cash into Old Harbour Bay FC

Gore OHBayFC1Between now and the end of May the Old Harbour Bay Football Club will benefit from a $500,000 cash incentive courtesy of Gore Development Limited. Ruthven Ottey, general manager, Gore Development, yesterday presented the first tranche of payment to the management of the St Catherine Major League outfit at its New Kingston head office and is optimistic that it’s the start of new beginnings for both parties.

Miguel Perrin (right), manager, Old Harbour Bay United FC accepts on behalf of the club a cheque from Ruthven Ottey (left), general manager, Gore Development Limited, during presentation at Gore Development’s head office in Kingston on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. Sharing in the moment are Linval Dixon (right background), head coach and Steve Dixon, club president.

“As you know we are doing development in the Old Harbour area. We have also employed a lot of persons from that particular area and therefore once you come forward and you had a structured plan it would be a no-brainer for us to jump at it and assist where we can.

“So we are pleased to be there and we see it as a bonus for us that you will have our name on the shirts. “We may not spend all of our construction years in that area but the fact that we are out there then it doesn’t matter where we go people will look at us differently,” Ottey told club officials before presenting the cheque.

Over the last three years after achieving promotion from Division One, Old Harbour Bay has established itself as a major football force in the parish, winning the Major League mid-season final, while twice qualifying for the semi-finals as well as making back-to-back appearances in the knock-out tournament.

Gore OHBayFC2Ottey, who is more attuned with the nation’s topflight league, admitted that he knew nothing about the team until club president Steve Dixon wrote to his office seeking their assistance. It was a pleasant surprise he told Old Harbour News afterwards, noting that the construction and development company intends to make it a long-term plan once the club is achieving the right results.

“We plan to do it year to year. I think the initial deal is for one year and depending on the success of the club, then surely we will look to continue the sponsorship or even increase the sponsorship,” added Ottey. “One of the things that really jump out at us when Steve wrote to us, it was not so much we sponsor and looking for a club that will have our name on the shirt, but was mostly to help the community on a whole.

We note what he said about getting the youths involve and what he said about the discipline of the youths in the area, what he said about the youths being occupied in a structured environment and with the club helping persons with their general development and education. Those are the stuff that really grab at us and that’s part of the reason why we decided to sponsor.”

The club has already made the decision to don Gore-branded jerseys for the remainder of the football season, while the deal is seen as a welcome boost for not just the club but also the community.

“It is a major shift with regards to football and community sport in Old Harbour Bay. Two of our biggest issues when I went there is the discipline and sponsorship. As for the discipline that is where (coach) Linval (Dixon) comes in and then Gore now providing the sponsorship to give us the kind of support needed. So I really believe that the community can now move forward in terms of playing the kind of competitive football in order to move to the next level which is the Premier League and at the same time provide some level of structure and discipline that the community can identify with,” said the club president.

At a cursory glance, the president informed Old Harbour News that conservatively it cost the club roughly $3 million per season to play in the senior and youth competitions in the parish. It must be noted that player’s salaries are not part of the equation and that no insurance coverage is offered either. And there are no cash incentives for winning the Major League also.

Such is the reality of Old Harbour Bay FC, and by extension every other football club in the country. But the players and community continue to dream big, as they set sight on reaching the premiership next season. “The target that we set is for the 2016/17 season to be in the Premier League,” said the president. “As such we are really aggressive in trying to get the sort of support and sponsorship to achieve that. Where we see ourselves in the next three or four years is playing competitive football at the Premier League level.”

Meantime, head of the Old Harbour Bay Community Development Association Camille Williams-Cheese, says the decision by Gore Development is laudable but is also hoping that the company will look to invest in other areas of the community going forward.