REAL MONA HISTORY

Present Executive 2010

President Peter Moses.
1st VP - A.B Stewart Stephenson.
VP Ian Gage.
Secretary KC Bourne
Treasurer William Watson.
Club Captain Michael Boothe.
Other executive members: Howard McIntosh. Neil Gordon- Martin. David Williams. Gerry Murray. Jacqueline Gordon-Martin. Rupert Ashman.
Senior titles won

1967-KSAFA Division 11& KO titles.

1970/71-KSAFA Division I title.

1972/73-KSAFA KO title 2nd

1983/84- KSAFA Syd Bartlett title.

1990-Dyoll Masters League

2007/2008-KSAFA Major Leaugue Champions

The roots of Real Mona Football Club date back to 1958 in the sports of the sons of settlers of the then new Mona Heights Community. Most homes there had no fences at first, and without computers or television, and limited access to music systems, youths played at each other’s houses and in abundant open community spaces.

Except for the chauffeured tourists, they also enjoyed Hope Gardens almost exclusively during the week. Outside of public holidays, outings were few because Hope Gardens was a long bus ride for most Kingston residents. Mona youth also interacted when neighbours helped each other planting gardens, finishing houses, and in activities organized by the Citizens’ Association. As an integral part of nationhood on the eve Independence, community building dominated public imagination.

With the help of parents like Mr. Lee of Garden Boulevard, the boys organized football, cricket and table tennis teams, and arranged competitions against other communities. They held track meets in Hope Gardens, much to the annoyance of superintendent of gardens, who would chase them in his American car when their sports disturbed the lovely lawns. They also organized swim meets at the UWI pool, courtesy of an understanding caretaker. Most boys represented their schools in competition in these sports.

By 1962, the Citizens’ Association began to develop Central Park -- where the Community Centre now stands—for “small games” like badminton. Football and cricket were restricted to Buttercup Park, then littered with derelict construction equipment and material. But tension developed between the youths and the Citizens’ Association over access to the parks. Eventually, the Association arranged with the English football coach of Jamaica College and Liguanea United, Derek Tompkinson, for Mona youths to be absorbed into an expanded entity, Liguanea-Mona United. This new club would help to develop and have access to what is now known as Buttercup Park.

The community cleared the park and opened in 1963, and for the next three years the new club competed successfully in all three football divisions. Few Mona youths made the Division 1 team, largely because they very young. But they dominated the teams of the lower divisions with excellent ball control and short-passing that is still be seen in Real Mona’s style today. This was different from what Tompkinson coached, the traditional English style of hard running, bustling players chasing long passes from the back of the field.

Soon, difference in football philosophy and internal tension led to Mona youths to form Real Mona in 1966. The essence of the “Real” was, to distinguish it from “Liguanea” Mona. "We needed to play our natural game,” says Micheal Witter, an original member and now professor of Government at UWI. “We were so opposed to things English at the dawn of Independence, that it probably influenced our attitude to that style of play.”

Real Mona won Division 2 in its first year, thrilling football fans with its classy play of deft, short passes. Unfortunately, this team soon lost players to the demands of jobs and university, and never fulfilled its early promise, a recurring theme in Real Mona’s history. Real Mona’s middle class youths always had wider options for personal development after secondary school than most others, particularly the option to go abroad to school.

Promoted to Division 1 the next year, the club attracted many talented young players from across Kingston. Many footballers from other communities came to see Buttercup Park to join Real Mona. Two of these, Allan Cole and Leonard “Chicken” Mason, would lead the team to the championship in 1970. The price of attracting so many good players, however, was that control of the club slipped away from the Mona Youths. The club even switched training to Caxton Park in Vineyard Town to accommodate players for other communities.

In 1973, a small group of Mona youths took the club’s training back to Buttercup Park, but it had already lost some of its organic community links. A new generation of Mona youths rose to leadership in 1975, and sought to restore the club’s original mission as a community organization. Sports and cultural activities were organized and encouraged for both sexes - basketball, men’s and women’s hockey, women’s football, cultural shows, even classes for weak students. Again, there was an attempt to build a football programme for all ages to ensure a stream of new talent from the senior team. The was formally renamed Real Mona Community Club.

Since Real Mona's inception, football at Buttercup has been broader than participation in KSAFA competitions. Mona has a rich tradition of corner leagues and other internal competitions, of touring teams, and of the almost daily, and particularly on Sunday, scrimmage game involving all generations of footballers. The roots of the current Tourers and the Masters’ league teams reach back to the competitions of the 1970s.

Because of the club’s renewed community thrust in the mid-1970s, Real Mona played a leading role in KSAFA to establish the Major League for community clubs instead of the traditional private football teams. Real Mona was also very active in promoting football and supporting clubs in nearby communities, such as August Town, Hermitage, Elletson Flat, and, of course, Liguanea.

The teams of the late 1970s were extremely talented, disciplined, and intensely competitive. Several national players emerged from Real Mona’s senior team, including Martin Woodstock, Richard Murray and Roger Martin. Many others went on to win football scholarships in the USA. A few eventually played in the professional and semi-professional leagues after graduation. The junior teams nurtured many talented players through the President and Minor League Cup competitions.

By the beginning of the 1980s, many players had gone off to college, migrated, assumed family responsibilities, or were just worn out from almost a decade of high-energy mobilization. The Youth programmes declined for want of organizational energy, and the supply of players for the senior team diminished.

The senior team was ageing in the mid 1980s, and despite flashes of classy football it was clear a renewal was needed. A major community effort was mobilized to re-build the youth programme, and in a few years, it simply became a feeder for many clubs in KSAFA. As fast as Real Mona developed young players, they were lured away or drifted to clubs where they believed they had better chances of selection.

The youth programme was highly organized, and well informed by modern training techniques distilled from Buttercup Park’s football tradition, learned from visiting foreign and local coaches, and studied in football education programmes. It focused on the player’s total development, insisting on attention to schoolwork, self-discipline and qualities that would encourage responsible young adults. The teams performed very well, although Real Mona was too often the close runner-up rather than the champion. The programme supplied new talent to rejuvenate the senior team, and for a while it became a model for the entire club.

While Real Mona’s teams often fell short of championships, everyone agreed they play a good game. In addition, many youths persons benefited from club membership by getting college scholarships from assistance with the challenges of the primary and secondary school system, and from the opportunities to develop their talents as cultural performers, as coaches, and as technical personnel in sports and music. Today, former and current Real Mona players occupy leadership roles in business, the professions, the public service, the arts and culture, both here and abroad.

Revising the original constitution and reorganizing in the late 1980s, the club narrowed its scope to football, thereby shedding direct organizational responsibility for the variety of other youth activities. It was renamed, Real Mona Football Club to concentrate resources on the game, rebuild the club’s standards, and win the Syddie Bartlett competition and climb to a higher level.

The club then launched a major campaign to improve Buttercup Park, build Real Mona’s institutionally, and to professionalise the club affairs and its football program. Today, the field has modern goal-posts, proper fencing, and is well-lit for night games. A formal lease gives the club’s legal right to the park. Except for brief periods, the club has had a constitutionally elected executive and in recent years it has adopted a modern management structure for its teams. This summer, the club appointed an international agent to provide professional support.

The appointment of Jackie Walters as Technical Director brought more strength to Real Mona. Consistent top positions in the various age group competitions indicate it was a wise move. Repeated championship honours in the Ken Mathews U-14 and Minor League competitions as well as being consecutive finalists for the last three years in the U-12 competition firmly established Real Mona’s youth programme as the most successful in the country.

Attempts to match this at the senior level fell short in the Major League. Under Coach Bradley Stewart the Club managed a semi final berth, and Coach Chris Ziadie won a place in the finals, the closest Real Mona came to promotion to the A League. Recently, the Club's total offering of football to all age groups has expanded its program to facilitate eight teams, from kids under ten to Masters League team with players over 35 years old.

Undoubtedly, Real Mona is now energized to take on the new opportunities in football in Jamaica. The national program's success opened doors for clubs to embrace not only football scholarships but also opportunities for professional careers in the sport. Emerging Real Mona players of the 1990s such as Andy Wiliams and Shavar Thomas have heralded this new awakening. “Real Mona is intent on creating the infrastructure that will allow the talent of tomorrow to emerge,” says President Peter Moses. If the first 35 years is an indication of what the Club can accomplish, it’s easy to believe him.

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