I’ve proven I can coach, says Village boss Goater
By winnning his first Premier Division title Shaun Goater believes he has finally proven to himself, and his doubters, that he can be a successful coach.
When he arrived at Bernard Park two-and-a-half years ago, many thought he was destined to join a long list of failed former top players not cut out for coaching.
On Sunday, though, the former Manchester City striker will ‘officially' win his first championship at the humble surroundings of Police Field, where his team play Devonshire Colts in the last round of the league season.
Winning any piece of silverware is a feat in itself and Goater's now won four at Village but it was the title he coveted the most. He believes it's an achievement which will not only silence any doubters but also extinguish his own self doubts.
“I wanted to first prove (I could coach) to myself and I think I have,” said Goater, whose team claimed the Dudley Eve trophy earlier this season.
“The rest of the league knows the challenge my team presents and, more to the point, our opposing players know how tough a team Village are. They're the ones who have a real understanding of which teams have good coaches.”
Winning the title this weekend will also enable Goater and his players to exorcise a few demons. They had one hand on the trophy last season with two games to go but agonisingly let it slip, allowing Dandy Town to wrest it from their grasp.
Goater believes the main difference between that painful surrender and this time around is the mental toughness of his players which has enabled Village to become a more consistent side.
“We let it slip last year because of a mental lapse. It's the mental side of things where we've improved and that's what's allowed us to be more consistent,” he said.
Although PHC can finish level on points with Village, unless they beat Boulevard by an astronomical scoreline and the Rams are massacred by relegated Colts, the title will wend its way to Bernard Park for the first time since 2006.
And having missed out on ‘officially' winning the title after losing to PHC a fortnight ago, Goater is urging his players to sign off the season in style.
“We've put a lot of hard work in to get us where we are and we're looking to make it an entertaining game,” he said. “We want to win the title with more points than everyone else and we want to win it in style. Let's be honest, the title is virtually won unless PHC go and win about 23-0.
As a reward for winning the league, Village will have the opportunity to represent Bermuda in next year's CFU Club Championships qualifiers a competition Hornets recently played in.
Having attended Town's home tie against Defence Force, a 1-1 draw, Goater believes Village have nothing to fear and is confident they can surprise a few of the Caribbean's top teams.
“We've rewarded ourselves and our fans by qualifying (for the CFU Club Championships). We hope to represent ourselves and Bermuda in a similar fashion to Dandy Town,” Goater said.
“Town and ourselves are on a even par, and therefore I was intrigued to see how they fared against Defence Force.
“I thought they adapted themselves very well at home and I was interested to see they lost 3-0 away because the Force didn't look three goals better in the first game.”
Goater has made no secret of his desire to coach Bermuda Hogges, a team which he co-owns. He was denied the opportunity last season with the Bermuda Football Association, who had control of team affairs, opting for Scott Morton instead.
He added: “The strangest thing is Paul (Scope) and Kyle (Lightbourne) and I haven't sat down to talk yet. The domestic season is nearly wrapped up and I imagine we'll be discussing some things shortly.”