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It’s despicable: Ray Jones angry at rivals after missing out on Coach of Year

Devonshire Colts coach Ray Jones hit out at rivals after bizarre vote (File photograph by Ras Mykkal)

Controversy emerged at the Bermuda Football Association Senior Awards ceremony on Sunday night, as Ray Jones was inexplicably denied First Division Coach of the Year honours.

With Jones having guided Devonshire Colts on an historic quest of league perfection, winning all 16 matches and finishing runner-up in the Shield competition, the decision to reward Tori Davis, coach of second-placed Wolves, was greeted with shock.

With the award voted for by his fellow coaches, Jones pulled no punches after the event as he accused his rivals of having made a mockery of the voting process and that they should bow their collective heads in shame.

Jones, a member of the BFA executive, was keen to point out that the responsibility for the decision rested squarely upon the coaches, rather than the governing body, whose job it was to collect and compile the relative data.

“It’s a disappointing night, not so much for myself because I’ve been doing this for 35 years,” said Jones, who has dedicated both his playing and coaching career to the grassroots organisation.

“I’m disappointed for my players based on the accomplishment that they achieved. They performed a perfect season.

“We know that there have been teams that have gone undefeated — the Trojans, the Social Clubs, the Zebras in various decades — but no one’s been able to say that there’s been anyone in any division that’s had a perfect season.

“Awards are supposed to be a celebration and tonight has been a disappointment. My players have worked hard since August, with 25 players showing up at every training night, which made it a joy for me to coach.

“So, at this point it is disrespectful what the coaches have done to the integrity of the voting process.”

This is the second year running that the First Division Coach of the Year Award was mired in controversy after Antwan Russell was passed over for the honour despite leading his side to the League and Shield double and making it to the FA Cup semi-finals.

“To clarify for the public, the BFA does not select the nominees nor the winners. The process is that coaches are to nominate their player and then the other coaches vote on the player or coach of the year,” Jones said.

“For other coaches to believe that the team that has the least goals scored against, scored the most goals and won the division by an 18-point margin did not clean sweep the awards is despicable.

“Those coaches should look in the mirror at themselves, as well as have their players know that they are the ones that have made a mockery of the awards tonight.

“It’s also important that the people of Bermuda know the truth and coaches should not be able to hide behind saying that it was the BFA awards.

“The BFA put on the awards and gave us the authority to make a choice and the coaches let down football in disgracing the integrity of the game.”

Thrust into a strange, unenviable role despite being venerated was Davis, whose success in piloting Wolves to second place and promotion to the Premier Division was yet undeniable.

“I was very surprised,” said Davis, his trademark smile effervescent in the moment.

“Ray has been doing it for years, way longer than I have coached. He’s won trophies and did a tremendous job this year in getting his team to go undefeated in the First Division and I can’t explain it any better what he’s accomplished.”

Davis described his own journey to the head coach position as something of an accident.

“I came in as an assistant coach, before an injury planted me as the head coach,” joked Davis, a longtime midfield stalwart for the Hermitage Road outfit.

“I have to give thanks to guys like Dennis Brown, who came to Wolves when we had no structure to the team. It was hard to adjust but as I moved along with his structure and leadership, I was able to grasp his concept and go from there.”

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Published April 30, 2024 at 7:29 am (Updated April 30, 2024 at 7:29 am)

It’s despicable: Ray Jones angry at rivals after missing out on Coach of Year

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