Businessman Richard Ferguson hopes to revitalise the financially struggling Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), employing the model he used recently to turn the struggling Rangers football club into title contenders.
One of the presidential candidates for the November 24 TTFA election, Ferguson is running on a campaign of “bringing financial change to football”. He believes he can also make the TTFA similarly self-sufficient.
“Football is a business and we have to approach it as a business,” Ferguson said while being interviewed yesterday by host Fazeer Mohammed on TV6’s Morning Edition programme.
He said he had been receiving positive feedback from his interaction among the 47 delegates who will decide the outcome of the TTFA election.
“I have had excellent responses so far and they have loved what we have done in La Horquetta,” he said.
And should he be successful, Ferguson said he was willing to work with all for the good of football.
“We will try to get everybody on board. We will try to have proper corporate governance. We will try to get everybody in one direction.”
The businessman who took over the former St Ann’s Rangers, renaming the club Terminix La Horquetta Rangers and drawing encouraging crowds at its Arima base, admitted more would be required than governance and financial astuteness. He said his team would not be attempting to do it all on their own.
“What we are bringing is financial experience,” he said. “But we need the expertise of the football as well. That is where everybody has to come together.”
Ferguson felt he had a financial recipe and expressed his belief that, for that reason, clubs and delegates would support him. He said that like his La Horquetta Rangers - owned by Terminix Trinidad & Tobago Limited – he hoped to make the TTFA self-sufficient.
“Rangers was the worst team (in the Pro League). They came last every, every season for 10 years and right now, Rangers are (title) contenders,” Ferguson said.
“We are no longer a team that needs a subvention,” he declared. “Terminix La Horquetta Rangers played eleven games in La Horquetta in the Ascension Football League. We collected over $525,000 in 11 games. If we play 20 games, we should get about one and a half million.”
He continued: “With that, our team is now fully professional. It requires no subvention. It requires no begging.”
To turn Rangers around, Ferguson said, they had to look at what was there and formulate a model. He took Rangers from St Ann’s where they no longer had use of a community ground to la Horquetta, an area with a huge population containing several available grounds.
Rangers took the game back to the community, making it easy for a football lover to just walk down the road and see a football match rather than having to go all the way to Ato Boldon Stadium, for instance. He said the La Horquetta community greatly supported that initiative.
“Our team has about six guys from La Horquetta. The head coach Dave Quamina is from La Horquetta. The captain Jamaal Creighton is from La Horquetta. He scored eight goals in eleven games.”
Rangers had to initially make a sizeable $7.2m financial input to make the La Horquetta Recreation Ground fit for professional football.
“The problem with the community ground is that they do not have the facilities. The ground was terrible,” Ferguson declared. “There was (sic) no toilet facilities. It was not fenced.”
“From that, we no longer have to inject any money into the club. The club will generate its own money, pay the players, pay the coaches,” he added.