Jennings: Boulevard must become “true community club” – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Jennings: Boulevard must become “true community club”

Assistant coach Mark Jennings insists Boulevard must become a “true community club” again and believes the future is bright for the struggling Digicel Premier Division outfit.

Besieged with difficulties both on and off the pitch this season, Boulevard are currently bottom of the league and fighting for their top-flight survival.

Gang-related issues have further compounded their problems with the team having to forfeit a fixture in Somerset earlier this month over fears for their players’ safety.

Following that forfeit, Public Works Minister Michael Weeks, who represents the club’s constituency, suggested the team might need to scrap their senior programme and concentrate on developing their young talent.

And Blazers’ hierarchy have themselves acknowledged the problems plaguing the side, calling an emergency meeting at Victor Scott Primary School last week to discuss the club’s future.

Jennings admits Boulevard have “taken their eye off the ball” and neglected their community responsibilities in recent years but has backed president Lou Matthews and the executive committee to turn things around.

“Boulevard is a very important club for the community,” said Jennings, who has taken absence of leave from his coaching duties due to health issues.

“This is a community club that needs a football team like Boulevard and needs Boulevard to do things in the community.

“Our recent meeting was very fruitful and encouraging and I believe there will be some internal changes to help solve some of our problems. I think we need to become a community club again because we have strayed away from doing a lot of things in the community that we used to do.”

Jennings, a former Bermuda international, was disappointed with Minister Weeks’ comments and thinks disbanding the club’s senior side would cause irreparable damage.

“If Boulevard were taken out the league they would never get back; people would bring up all sort of things about gangs and things of that nature,” said Jennings.

“(Weeks) owes Boulevard an apology and the community an apology. I still think Michael Weeks is a good guy his comments weren’t helpful.”

Buoyed by Blazers’ win over Hood at the weekend which breathed fresh life into their survival chances, Jennings believes the club will go from strength to strength even if they succumbed to relegation.

“Hopefully we can still stay up but even if we’re playing 12.30pm football next season I’ll still be here,” he said.

“Even if we go down we will continue and it may not even be a bad thing for us.”

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Published February 28, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 28, 2012 at 7:47 am)

Jennings: Boulevard must become “true community club”

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