The influence former Reggae Boy Ian ‘Pepe’ Goodison is having on his former club, Olympic Gardens, has been massive, said vice-president and assistant coach Michael Peart.
The former Transmere Rovers star defender returned to the club after over 20 years and made his first appearance of the season in a 3-0 win over Swallowfield on Saturday, and Peart, so far, has been impressed by the influence he has had on the players’ discipline and attitude to training and games.
“He has been very instrumental and the team needed that kind of leadership. That is what he brings to the training and to games. Even though it’s just one game he has played, you can see the difference already.
“The first game he played we won 3-0, although he didn’t start, he came on near to half-time. But from he came on, the team started to get organised by him talking, so that is the leadership qualities he brings,” he said.
Peart said it was evident he was going to have a major impact, the moment it was announced that he was going to rejoining the club.
“Before he even started, some of the guys heard he was coming and their attitude changed right away, because they know he is a no-nonsense man when it comes to his football.
“Last (Monday) night in training, a player missed a goal and the player had to run 10 laps. He (Pepe) just said, ‘Excuse me coach but this player needs to run’, and he took the guy off the field and made him run. I just work with it. Everybody knows this man is serious about his football, and he’s more professional.
“During games, normally the players lose a ball and they argue about it. But (on Saturday) one turn he turned and said, ‘ballas, the game is still playing, and everyone was running past him to try and win back the ball, so that influence is massive,” he insisted.
Peart now plays Goodison in central midfield, which he believes is more suitable for the 45-year-old.
“Everyone is looking up to him. This is our fourth year reaching the Major League quarter-finals and we haven’t made it to the Super League, but if he had come back (to Olympic) from that time (when he returned home), I believe we would, have reached the Super League already,” he said.
Greenwich Town lead Group B of the Major League standings with 16 points, two more than New Kingston. Olympic sit third with 13 points, ahead of Seaview and Bull Bay on 11 points.