The National Premier League is in its 32nd year and here is a summary of the competition to date.
Santos Football Club has won this league five (5) times, four times consecutively, from the first Premier League (then the National League) from 1973/74 – 1976-77 then they came back to win in 1979-1980, defeating Cavalier Soccer Club for the third (3rd) time in six years.The next most successful team is Arnett Gardens, who won 3 times and were runners-up 4 times.Tied for third place is Boys Town and Reno with 3 victories and 3 runner-up finishes each, then Tivoli Gardens with 3 victories and 1 runner up slot.
Seba United with two (2) victories and four (4) runner up finishes leads the teams with two wins.Hazard, which has 2 wins and 1 runner up slot, is next, followed by Violet Kickers and Wadadah with 2 wins each.
Cavalier Football Club, Harbour View Football Club and Waterhouse Football Club have 1 victory and 3 runner up spots each after playing in 4 finals; followed by JDF with 1 victory from 1 final appearance.Black Lion, Constant Spring and Thunderbolts all had one runner up slot each after having had one fairytale season in 1987-90, 1994-95 and 1980-1981, respectively.
There are only 13 champions in the league’s 31-year history. One 5 time champion, four 3 time champions, four teams that won the championship two times and four teams that has been victorious one time each.
The teams that have participated in the most finals are Arnett - 7, Santos, Seba, Boys Town & Reno - 6, followed by Cavalier, Harbour View, Tivoli Garden and Waterhouse - 4 finals each.
Hazard has participated in 3 finals; Violet Kickers and Wadadah have perfect records from taking part in 2 finals.JDF is also prefect after participating in 1, whilst Thunderbolts, Black Lions and Constant Spring were runners up in their only finals appearance.
I will try to rank the teams that have played in the finals over the years to see which is the number 1 (one) Premier League team that played in the championship awarding points as follows: -
(a)5 points for first
(b)3 points for second
The ranking would be as follows: -
1.Arnett Gardens-27 points
3.Boys Town-24 points
Reno Football Club-24 points
5.Cavalier Soccer Club-14 points
Harbour View-14 points
Season 32 has started and former finalists such as Santos, Boys Town, Cavalier, Seba, Violet Kickers, JDF, Black Lion, and Thunderbolt are not present in the premiership, whilst Arnett Gardens, Reno, Tivoli Gardens, Harbour View, Hazard, Wadadah, Waterhouse and Constant Spring can add to their life ranking.
Country vs. Town
In the 31 year history of which 29 years was completed.Teams from the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) won 18 times as against 11 times for teams from the rural areas.It took 13 years before a team from rural Jamaica took the title. The first rural team to win the Premier League title was Seba United in 1996/1997, and then rural teams won 10 out of 11 years from 1996/97 to 1996-1997 with only the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) of Kingston breaking the stranglehold in 1984-1985.Waterhouse defeated the defending champions Seba in 1997-98 to stop the feast of the rural area and KSAFA teams went on to dominate for the next 5 years until ultra smart Hazard United (now Portmore United) beat defending Champion Arnett in a return final in 2002/2003.Thankfully, Tivoli Gardens steadied the nerves of KSAFA in 2003-2004.
This years Premier League will be competitive with quality teams from both country and town.Will it be 19 for KSAFA or will it be 12 for rural Jamaica?