Community football still relevant – Hayles
Former Harbour View and Kingston College coach Donovan Hayles is calling for greater support of community football in the ongoing battle between community-based club football and a franchise-based system in Jamaica.
"The community shaped me as a young man, (community) people really shaped me. There were many parents I had in Harbour View. It's in the community you are born, grow up and learn football.
"A lot of people are talking about community football is not the way to go and club franchise (is), not realising that (this is how it is) all over the world. Manchester United is a community. Liverpool and these teams are districts in the area and that is why there people are behind these clubs, because this is where they live.
"They buy players, so the players may not come from there; but the fact is, a Liverpool, Manchester United, Madrid is not different in terms of the areas in Jamaican like Harbour View, Boys' Town, Tivoli Gardens," he reasoned.
He also added that former coaches Neville Granville and Russell Bell must be credited for bringing more acceptance to community-based football in the past.
"I lift my hat to Russell Bell and Neville Granville. They really got community football playing at the 'big-man' level. We came up under a system where we named our teams off these (international club) teams, so in those days people use to call their teams names like Real Madrid, Santos. But when Russell Bell and Neville Granville came, they adopted our local names and maintained it.
"Teams like Harbour View, Port Royal, Boys' Town, Tivoli Gardens started using our local names, just like the teams in England and those places. So it is the local district that plays the Premier League that we craze about. So the structure is the same; although it's a different standard, it's the same structure in terms of community," he said.