Jamaica Gleaner /
Richard ‘Charlie Chaplin’ Bennett has walked away as general manager and acting financial controller at defending Red Stripe Premier League champions Arnett Gardens after eleven years with the south St Andrew-based football club.
Bennett who was also in charge of security at the team’s home ground, the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, has decided step aside to clear the way for new Member of Parliament, Mark Golding, to take over as chairman of the club.
Bennett, in an exclusive interview with The Gleaner, yesterday said he resigned to allow Golding to ‘make his move.’
“I have tendered my resignation and sent it to the president (Patrick Roberts) and head coach (Jerome Waite). I resigned from last Friday and sent an email to the relevant persons last night (Monday). I do my thing professionally, make sure it reaches who it has to reach,” he said.
Bennett added that the club has been a burden to him financially and otherwise. Only last Sunday he paid for the trip to Red Stripe Premier League trip to Reno FC in Westmoreland.
“I did not see anybody step forward to assist the players so I just financed them,” he said
The veteran entertainer and businessman said he took up duties at Arnett Gardens because of his close association with former MP and club chairman, Dr Omar Davies.
“Due to the closeness with me and Dr Davies, I decided to take the position and that was eleven years ago. When I went there the club was a disaster in terms of finance, support and organisation. Nobody wanted to take a cheque from Arnett Gardens Football Club. One player was owed $250,000. Others were also owed. I cleaned up all of that,” he shared..
“It cost me a lot of sweat and money. At one point Dr Davies’ party (People’s National Party) was not in power for some five years so it was tough. I had to make things happen. There was support from manager George Phang, president Patrick Roberts, Jimmy Deer and Steve Gordon who passed on yesterday,” he said.
He added that not a lot of money was not being made at the entrance gates in Arnett Gardens.
“We control the gate system but a whole heap of people come in free. I never did anything without Dr Davies not knowing about it. If we lose money or made money a report was sent to Dr Davies, copied to then Senator Golding and copied to Patrick Roberts. Information was also sent to Phang.”
Bennett said he was upset by recent reports which suggested that no financial statements were coming out of the club. He said such reports were attacking his integrity.
Last November MP Golding told The Gleaner that he wanted to put a new board in place at Arnett Gardens and register it as a company ‘so we can conduct the business in a more streamlined way, with a board to provide oversight and guidance to management.’
“My aim is to try and maximise revenue with the club, while trying to keep the community spirit,” Golding told The Gleaner. He has, however, insisted that he will only assume the role of club chairman if the players and the community are willing to make the proposed changes.