NEWLY crowned Digicel Premier League (DPL) champions Harbour View’s success was due to a concerted team effort and hard work, but club president Carvel Stewart believes it’s also because they have a ‘special one’ in coach Donovan Hayles.
“Dedicated hard work…. is one factor, and I believe I have the most technically sound coach in the league in terms of his grasp of the attacking and defensive need of the team and how he applied it,” opined Stewart, who is also deputy chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA).
HAYLES… works out how to win games
“Donovan would work out how we would win the games, especially when the forwards were not scoring. If you noticed ‘Bassa’ (Marcelino Blackburn) would come in and score the goals; he was the leading goalscorer from midfield. It was a lot of tactical planning from Donovan, and the players delivered.
“There are times when you lose because the luck was not with you and there are times when you win because the luck is with you…. 92 minutes Arnett 1, Harbour View 0 and in the 94th minute, Harbour View 2, Arnett 1.
“For 92 minutes we attacked Arnett and everything went over the bar or wide of the post,” Stewart noted.
Harbour View amassed 77 points from their 38 games, inclusive of 23 wins, eight draws and seven loses, to finish 11 clear of dethroned Tivoli Gardens on 66.
It was also the third league title for the ‘Stars of the East’, having also won in the 1999/2000 and 2006/07 seasons.
Only four clubs in Santos (five), Tivoli Gardens (four) and Portmore United (four) have had more successes than Harbour View, but what makes this year’s triumph even more special is that the average age of the team is 21 years.
“Our philosophy goes back to the 70s. The first time we played National League in 1977, we had 15- and 16 year-olds on the field and finished second.
“That’s where we build them from. ‘Bibi’ (Ricardo Gardner) played at 14. It has to be a conscious decision to dedicate the development of the youngsters. The thing is to commit to it and allow them to develop and when they are ready, don’t wait,” Stewart pointed out.
“Our senior players welcomed the youths. They didn’t regard them as competition. They encouraged them and took them under their wings,” he added.
“It also comes down to the maturity of the players like Richard Edwards, Lovel Palmer; the solid base set by Dwayne Miller before he left and nobody had the amount of clean sheet that we had.
“We had 19 clean sheets and I believe 15 of them was Dwayne. With Dwayne we could score one goal and still win, and that was a definite factor.
“Jermaine Hue’s influence on the young attacking midfielders around him and how he helped to guide and lead them; the arrival of Kavin Bryan was also timely because we were struggling in the goal-scoring department. He scored three games in a row that won the games and it started us off and helped the younger players.
“At the back you can’t credit the clean sheet to the goalkeeper alone; the central men Dicoy Williams and Montrose Phinn and the wingbacks were Under-21 players.
“Andrew “Bowa” Hines kept them fit, and if you looked at the last game against Tivoli, they were still able to run 90 minutes after the long season.
“It was a trying season financially for everybody, and the players were really co-operative. Once I laid out to them what the financial difficulties were, they discussed it amongst themselves and decided that they will work with it because they knew that when I have it then that is dealt with,” he added.
Harbour View showed their depth by also capturing the Jamaica Football Federation’s Under-21 League and won the Claro Kingston and St Andrew Football Association’s Under-20 Confed league.
Their Under-17s went undefeated, but lost all their points in the boardroom for using ineligible players.