Former Western Tigers executives return after vote of confidence motion
By Michael Benjamin
The standoff between the footballers of Western Tigers FC and the members of the executive committee took a strange twist yesterday afternoon when eleven of the club’s nineteen players moved a vote of confidence for President Gordon Gilhuys to be reinstated to the helm of the club.
In an abrupt turn around from their original position, the players collectively and publicly agreed that their stance that forced Mr. Gilhuys to resign was ill advised and as a consequence, they were willing to let bygones be bygones. The decision of the players has paved the way for the reinstatement of the entire executive committee that had also tendered their resignation in support of their President.
The footballers and displaced executives convened at Mr. Gilhuys’ Albert Street, office yesterday afternoon to brief the media of the situation. Several of the players, including captain, Dillon Fraser and striker, Devon Millington were noticeably absent from the meeting and it is unclear whether they are supportive of the decision taken by their colleagues. The other absent players are defender, Colin Nelson, midfielder, Eron Hayde, Sherman David and Maxwell Pellew. None of their colleagues could shed any light on their position in the matter. Since the absent group was in the minority, the decision was taken to reinstate Mr. Gilhuys and his executives.
Shortly after the declaration, the reinstalled committee members agreed to suspend coach Cornel Millington with immediate effect. Kaieteur Sport understands that Mr. Millington would be summoned before a disciplinary committee to explain his unconstitutional stance in the just concluded brouhaha. The embattled coach was in the forefront of activities relating to the players standoff and was a part of the group that identified itself as ‘concerned patrons.’ Patrice Ram was appointed as Millington’s replacement. Captain, Dillon Fraser was also earmarked for disciplinary actions and Mr. Gilhuys revealed that he would also be summoned to a meeting to clarify his stance in the just concluded dispute.
And in what appeared to be a public show of confidence, Mr. Gilhuys has directed his executives to put the necessary modalities in place to have the Annual General Meeting and the election of office bearers run off by February month end. “I have nothing to hide nor do I nurture any fear. Let the players decide who they want to lead them,” proclaimed Mr. Gilhuys.
He admitted that he was partially responsible for the standoff since he was not communicating with the players. He further disclosed that the disbursement of the winnings was the major contention of the players. To this end, Mr. Gilhuys has vowed to inculcate a healthier relationship with the players so as to avoid future confrontations. He said that all of the money donated to, and won by the club was accounted for. He further explained that the players received over $900,000 of the $3M donated to the club plus the entire million dollars of the K&S prize. He said that this was in keeping with the disbursement agreement between the players and the executives.
“In the past we have relaxed this agreement and given all of the prize money to the players,” Mr. Gilhuys said. He posited that the generosity of the executives had been somewhat misconstrued and the players somehow believed that this arrangement would have been in place for all of the tournaments.
The executives had reverted to the agreement and paid out the agreed percentage to the players from the $3M. They had also given the entire winning prize of $1M to the team but a few misguided players demanded the entire amount. When the executives refused to acquiesce to this request the players had become disgruntled leading to the just concluded standoff. Mr. Gilhuys also said that the other monies in contention amounting to some US600, was not yet handed over to the club. This also included a motorcycle donated by Beck’s in Robb Street. “We are still waiting on the sponsors to hand over this prize,” declared Mr. Gilhuys.
Earlier in the week, group of individuals identifying themselves as ‘concerned patrons of the club’ and led by magistrate Nigel Hawke had visited the club and held talks with coach Cornel Millington, captain Dillon Fraser and some of the players to discuss the way forward. At the end of that forum Mr. Hawke had intimated that his major concern was to bring some normalcy to the situation. He had also disclosed that he would have spoken with Mr. Gilhuys on the matter.
Mr. Gilhuys confirmed that he had indeed spoken with Mr. Hawke. He did not elaborate on the nature of the discussion but adamantly declared that there was no way that any interim committee could have been constituted by ‘back door tactics.’ He said that as far as he knew the group headed by Mr. Hawke was not a properly constituted interim body. Kaieteur Sport attempted to contact Mr. Hawke for his reactions to this new development but his cell phone rang out.
Meanwhile, moments after receiving the vote of confidence, members of the executive disclosed some of the immediate initiatives they plan to address. The players were informed that the entire leadership team would be at the West Ruimveldt Ground to commence the registration process of players in all categories from U-13 up to the U-21 categories starting at 16:00hrs this Wednesday. The Western Tigers’ boss urged the players to gear up for the start of the impending football season. He noted that the ground was indeed in a deplorable condition and mandated his fellow executive, Dexter Cush to make additional arrangements for a suitable ground for the footballers to conduct training sessions.