North East Stars has parted ways with its former head coach Angus Eve in the first step of the Sangre Grande-based Pro League club’s financial restructuring.
Stars gave Eve, who club owner Darryl Mahabir once referred to as “the Maestro”, his first opportunity as head coach at Stars. And, three years later, Trinidad and Tobago’s most capped outfield player set a milestone in being the first coach to see out his contract under “Deadly Darryl.”
But Eve will not get a fresh contract as Mahabir has opted to cut his salary bill by promoting Stars’ youth team technical director, Roland Clarke.
“It was a more economical choice,” Mahabir told Wired868. “(Clarke) has been knocking on the door for years. And we think in this year we need to restructure, and to restructure you have to consolidate and then move forward.”
At present, Eve is in Jamaica where he is providing analysis on the 2015 Copa America tournament for SportsMax.
Stars team manager Maurice Eligon initially said the club preferred not to comment until his return. However, Clarke let the cat out of the bag by announcing his new appointment on Twitter yesterday.
Mahabir said Stars hope for “a very fruitful season” under Clarke but did not suggest what league placement would satisfy him. But then the Grande outfit, who lifted the Pro League crown once in 2004, have not been league contenders for some time.
Under Eve, Stars won the 2012 Toyota Classic Cup and the 2015 TTFA FA Trophy—both times via penalties against Defence Force and DIRECTV W Connection respectively—but finished fourth, fifth and fourth in the standings.
His teams were often solid and stubborn but rarely entertaining, although he did make the most of the few quality offensive players on his roster like Cornell Glen, Trevin Caesar and Keron Cummings. All three represented the “Soca Warriors” while at Stars.
Eve will be commended too for giving top flight opportunities to teenagers and former Arima North schoolboys Neveal Hackshaw and Jesus Perez, who are both on the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team at present.
Mahabir described Eve’s work as “excellent.”
“Angus has been good as a team manager,” said Mahabir, who is also the owner of popular fast food franchise, Japs Fried Chicken. “His work with us was excellent (and some of) the results and standings at the end of the season didn’t give him the credit he deserved.
“His work behind the scene in managing players and finances was excellent.”
Stars are determined to be more financially viable now and Mahabir spoke at greater length about raising income than winning matches.
“We have focused on football before and spending without any significant source of income rather than the subvention from the government,” said Mahabir, “and it has a put a lot of pressure on the business of Japs…
“So our focus is to put more attention on the business arm of North East Stars.”
As a result, Stars manager Maurice Eligon will become the club’s business manager while Mahabir’s brother, Kevin Thomas, will inherit Eligon’s former job.
The club intends to return to its Ojoe Road ground for the upcoming 2015/16 season and Eligon said they already begun work at reaching out to supporters within their community.
Fans, according to Eligon, can expect to see a young competitive team, led by the likes of Hackshaw, Perez, Kion Joseph, Anthony Diaz, Jomoul Francois and Taryk Sampson.
“We have been contacting our fans and one of our first initiatives is to have our home games well attended,” said Eligon. “We want to give the club back to the community… If we can get 1,500 people to our games it will help us a lot financially…
“Every Pro League coach presents a deficit budget every year (the excess beyond the Government subvention) and depends on the club to pick up the deficit… We are going to make a surplus budget this year so we can upgrade the facilities, partner with schools and so on.”