Home / Volley / Local Football / Fenwick poised to take over North East Stars, will move club to Arima Velodrome

Fenwick poised to take over North East Stars, will move club to Arima Velodrome

Terry Fenwick looks set for a sensational return to the Pro League with increased powers to boot, as the successful and combative English coach declared that he will lead North East Stars into battle for the 2017 season.

The deal, according to Fenwick, would give the former San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC coach full authority over all football operations at the club, although Stars owner Darryl Mahabir remains as chairman.

Photo: Terry Fenwick (right) salutes the crowd after leading Central FC to the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield title. Looking on is Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene (centre). (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Terry Fenwick (right) salutes the crowd after leading Central FC to the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield title.
Looking on is Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene (centre).
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“Over the last month, Darryl Mahabir and I have met on several occasions to figure out how we will handle the situation,” Fenwick told Wired868. “He will remain as our chairman but all football matters will come under my remit, so he can get on with his outside interests.”

Mahabir could not be reached for comment. However, a senior official at Stars confirmed that a formal deal between the two parties appears to be a matter of when and not if.

“Basically, the plan is for Terry to take over the running of the club,” he said, under the condition of anonymity. “The confirmation should happen within the next 24 hours.”

Arguably, the most eye-raising aspect of Fenwick’s return lies in his new base. Stars, who initially played at Ojoe Road in Sangre Grande but have not had a home for years, have agreed a deal with the Arima Borough Council to move the club to the Arima Velodrome.

“We feel that we have got a bit of a coup there,” said Fenwick, a former England World Cup player and Tottenham Spurs captain. “The Arima Mayor [Lisa Morris] is quite keen for us to use the Velodrome as a home base. The Velodrome is possibly the only stadium that is right in the heart of a community.

Photo: The Arima Velodrome or Municipal Stadium. (Copyright NALIS)
Photo: The Arima Velodrome or Municipal Stadium.
(Copyright NALIS)

“Everything revolves around the Velodrome and it has such a great following. From my experience in the past, even minor league games at the Velodrome would attract 1,000 fans and sometimes more.

“It is a focal point [for Arimians] and this is something we hope to take advantage of.”

Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian said she is excited by the pending arrival of not only Fenwick’s Stars but also National Super League champions FC Santa Rosa, who are led by interim Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy.

Santa Rosa played at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya for the last two years while they used the UTT facilities in Malabar before that.

Morris hopes the two clubs can return the spotlight to a community that once produced or showcased talented players like Kerry Jamerson, Timothy Haynes, Kerwin “Papa” Emmanuel, Derek King, Dwayne and Craig Demmin and the late Mickey Trotman.

Morris knows first-hand the power of sport in the borough. Her father, Raymond Morris, had close ties with the Arima Memphis football club while her grandfather, Leroy Morris, was a footballer before he became Arima mayor.

Photo: Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian.
Photo: Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian.

“Officially, Mr Fenwick will receive his [confirmation] letter on Thursday but it was already discussed and decided upon unanimously by the Borough,” Morris told Wired868. “We are just excited that someone of Mr Fenwick’s international stature would come here and [help] Arima to be the football mecca as it once was back in the 1970s and 1980s.

“So we hope with Mr Fenwick and Mr Look Loy, we can once more be a powerhouse in Trinidad and even the Caribbean.”

Two years ago, Fenwick was on the verge of a similar relationship in the Morvant/Laventille region, which had the blessing of then MP Donna Cox and Sport Ministry Permanent Secretary Gillian MacIntyre.

However, the proposal ended in controversy after Kevin Harrison—then advisor to Sport Minister Brent Sancho—ordered MacIntyre to withdraw the Ministry’s financial support.

Fenwick was previously employed by Harrison and Sancho at Central FC and parted way on acrimonious terms, despite helping the pair to their maiden Pro League and Caribbean Cup titles in 2015.

Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy. Looking on is Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (top left) and Bankers Insurance CEO Vance Gabriel (top centre). (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy.
Looking on is Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (top left) and Bankers Insurance CEO Vance Gabriel (top centre).
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The Sport Ministry subsequently started a probe into its support for the project, which was a collaborative effort by Fenwick and the Ma Pau Casino. MacIntyre gave a TT$450,000 cheque to the fledgling Ma Pau Morvant Sports Club, as was within her remit as PS. However, the application fee for the Pro League was TT$400,000.

Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene said, at the time, that his body felt it was an innocent mistake while the Sport Ministry never proved fraudulent behaviour—although two employees, exclusive of the PS, were suspended pending investigations.

This time, Fenwick appears to have avoided controversy. Harrison claimed that his only concern is regarding the details of Stars’ new partnership at board room level. Once more, Ma Pau, according to Harrison, is involved.

“My only question was concerning the status of Ma Pau,” said Harrison. “To date, I am not aware of the arrangement made between Ma Pau and North East Stars regarding ownership, etc. When Ma Pau were in the League before and they left, apparently they owed players some money. So have they sorted that out first?

“Otherwise, I can’t see it being a problem. We have no problem with [Fenwick]. He always makes football more interesting and I think the League needs that spice.”

Photo: Then Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (left) and North East Stars coach Angus Eve glare at each other during their 2014 Digicel Pro Bowl quarterfinal clash. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Then Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (left) and North East Stars coach Angus Eve glare at each other during their 2014 Digicel Pro Bowl quarterfinal clash.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

So far, Fenwick has not revealed whether he has any financial backers and who they might be.

Arima is already making adjustments for the new year and Morris said Sport Minister Darryl Smith promised to help develop the India Ground in Malabar, which would allow the Borough to comfortably host Pro League and Super League games without leaving out the Arima League.

“It is exciting times ahead,” said Morris. “We have the room and we just look forward to embracing everyone. I would also like to acknowledge the social aspect of both plans. Both [Fenwick and Look Loy] have promised to give back to the at-risk communities in Arima.

“Santa Rosa have always been closely intertwined with the community but will now actively go out to the at-risk areas while [Fenwick’s] Football Factory is also supposed to come to Arima.”

Fenwick explained how he thinks he can provide a social benefit to Arima.

“We are looking at opening a Football Factory in Arima that will help young players develop and learn the game and get life skills,” said Fenwick. “And by that I mean discipline, communication, leadership skills, confidence and all kinds of life skills. In Port of Spain, we have kids from all walks of life—kids from Morvant and Caledonia who can’t speak to each other on their block but get along at Football Factory.

Photo: FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy (centre) talks to his players at halftime while then captain Jovan Rochford (right) has a drink of water during 2015/16 CNG National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division action against Club Sando Moruga at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy (centre) talks to his players at halftime while then captain Jovan Rochford (right) has a drink of water during 2015/16 CNG National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division action against Club Sando Moruga at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

“Not all of these kids will be excellent footballers. The better youngsters will move on and compete with the professional youth teams. So we see it as a holistic all-round program.

“In Port in Spain, where we attract 175 kids, we can sometimes have as many as 150 parents who come out to watch their kids go through their drills on Tuesday and Thursday evening. So we see that as the family aspect of it…

“We have had a good working relationship with the British High Commission in the past on anti-gang initiatives as well that maybe we can help to get started in Arima.”

The Football Factory, like most football academies, operates with a combination of paid players and others who receive scholarships. Fenwick and Morris said both parties still need to iron out further details of their partnership beyond Stars’ use of the Velodrome.

In terms of the Pro League club’s ambitions on the field, Fenwick promised to create a team capable of challenging for the title within a year and a half. The Englishman unearthed a stream of teenaged talent at Jabloteh—such as Khaleem Hyland, Sheldon Bateau, Ataulla Guerra, Robert Primus and Lester Peltier—and will attempt to use a similar formula in Arima.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (left) rolls the ball through the legs of United Staes captain Michael Bradley during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (left) rolls the ball through the legs of United Staes captain Michael Bradley during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“We are looking at the development of young players because there are some terrific young players out there,” said Fenwick. “So we want a handful of experienced players—who are good role models—to lead a young team that might take 18 months to reach their full potential.

“We recognise that we need to have an excellent team and we hope people in Arima are patient as we build. I want a sprinkling of senior boys that will give us some shape to start with, but that will be four or five tops.”

While Fenwick declined the chance to name any youthful transfer targets, he did mention a 41-year-old talisman who worked alongside him at Jabloteh and Central.

The evergreen Marvin Oliver, who spent last season with relegated Super League Premiership Division team, Maracas FC, is first on Fenwick’s list and could operate as a player/coach for Stars.

“Marvin is somebody I have a lot of time for because I recognise his professionalism and how he applies himself,” said Fenwick. “He leads by example and gives good information to the youngsters on and off the training ground. I will speak to Marvin in due course [and] I will like his involvement. But it is still early stages.”

Photo: Comunicaciones midfielder Jorge Aparacio (left) grapples with Central FC star Marvin Oliver during 2015 CONCACAF Champions League action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Comunicaciones midfielder Jorge Aparacio (left) grapples with Central FC star Marvin Oliver during 2015 CONCACAF Champions League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Fenwick also identified King, the former Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team assistant coach, as a potential asset for his coaching staff.

King, who still lives in Arima, is a former Pro League champion coach with Joe Public and steered the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team to the Caribbean Cup title in 2004. He quit the national team last November after the David John-Williams-led TTFA administration dismissed head coach Stephen Hart.

Fenwick has already approached King and hopes to convince the promising 36-year-old coach to join him at Stars.

“We need people on the ground who are capable of looking after the programme,” said Fenwick. “I would run the programme—to make sure it is delivered with the same quality and intensity—but I want to rely on people like Derek King for his expertise and knowledge of the area.

“I haven’t decided on what role he will have yet because I need to talk to him [formally] to see if he is available.”

The Pro League has not revealed a start date for its new season although it is expected to kick off in May.

Photo: Ma Pau Stars winger Hayden Tinto (left) takes on Morvant Caledonia United defender Seon Thomas during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Ma Pau Stars winger Hayden Tinto (left) takes on Morvant Caledonia United defender Seon Thomas during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Fenwick’s potential move to Arima will mark the first time a Pro League team has used the Velodrome as its home base since Arima Fire in 2000.

Stars used the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar in recent years but the inadequate lighting at the venue meant that they often played home games at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva instead.

“Darryl has been a bit frustrated not to have a home ground in Grande but he is delighted we got the velodrome,” said Fenwick. “He wants to see his baby, his North East Stars, go on to bigger and better things. He has had several coaches fail to deliver what he was looking for.”

As always, Fenwick backs himself to deliver something special.

The Englishman is the Pro League’s second most accomplished league coach with four titles, which is one short of the five league trophies held by W Connection technical director Stuart Charles-Fevrier.

Fenwick is also the only coach to win league trophies with two separate clubs, although there is a caveat. He spent barely a month at Central when he won his only league trophy with that club in 2014—after Sancho and Harrison replaced coach Zoran Vranes within touching distance of the finish line.

Photo: Then Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (left) whistles from the bench during his team's Pro League contest with Point Fortin Civic in the 2014/15 season. Central won 5-2. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Then Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (left) whistles from the bench during his team’s Pro League contest with Point Fortin Civic in the 2014/15 season.
Central won 5-2.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Ross Russell subsequently replaced Fenwick at Central but was fired midway through the season, which the “Couva Sharks” again won. Russell managed two Pro League titles at Defence Force but did not get the chance to match Fenwick’s feat of succeeding at more than one team.

Ironically, Russell coached Stars last season. However, Wired868 understands that all player and coaching contracts at the club expired earlier this year, which gives Fenwick a free hand to reshape the team.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

Check Also

Pro League scores: ‘Benjie’ hattrick and maiden Hudson item as Connection whip Rangers

Pacy winger Neil Benjamin Jr grabbed the first hattrick of the 2017 Pro League season …

143 comments

  1. North east or? Ķendo Łoverbôi

  2. This question is related to our national senior team: when will be final selection before Panama game which is in a few weeks? Also what team the real squad going to play before that game? Local based players against Barbados is really a test?

  3. Is about time they wake back up the velodrome and bring back some sporting life in Arima great initiative. Plus with Fenwick is big players and sure trophies.

  4. I agree with you Garth, it appears that people have fprgotten all the things he has done, A local would have been ostracised for life. goal psots shifting in this country

  5. This will certainly be interesting

  6. Lasana Liburd, I just can’t seem to get out of my head that image of him deliberately elbowing the player who was celebrating a victory over a club he was coaching at the time. I don’t think any local coach would’ve gotten away with that.

    • In truth he was punished. Both player and coach were. What people might not be aware of is that the Brazilian player celebrated his goal in the opposing team’s technical area which is against the rules too.
      There have been many full out brawls that were much worse than that. Trust me.
      I was on pro league disciplinary committee two years ago when a fight took place on the field and a Police player (who is also a policeman) walked up to a Civic player from behind and almost took his eye out with a sucker punch.
      That civic player is a former Trinidad and Tobago World Youth Cup player btw.
      Just two months ago, police had to part the medical staff members of Presentation College and Naparima who both started fighting after the game in full view of hundreds of school children.
      Those are just the facts.

    • I hear you. I did not know about the area rule. I just felt he was a bit over the top reacting like that. I guess the player could’ve been accused of provocation by what he did. I do think he made a difference as a coach in T&T though.

    • Terry was definitely wrong and was punished. Jabloteh and Connection were fierce rivals at the time, so it might have been intentional provocation.
      The Brazilian, Goulart, was a brilliant player and Fenwick’s game plan would have been to stop him. Maybe he was reacting to getting one over on Terry despite his best efforts.
      So both men went too far and Terry was violently over the top.
      It is notable that he has not been involved in anything remotely like that since. And that incident was over 10 years ago. People make mistakes and I think he learnt from it

    • I remember in a schoolboys game around that same time and St Augustine put the ball out so an Arima player could get medical treatment. Instead of giving the ball back, Arima ran through and scored off the throw while the St Augustine players stood in shock.
      I was very upset that then Arima coach Kerry Jamerson didn’t give a goal back or make a statement or something. He just took the points.
      I’d like to think that was an error of judgment then and he regrets it now. People make mistakes though.

  7. WE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND YOU KNOW WE ARE COMING!!! North East stars

  8. Nice terry back jamming still

  9. I’m thoroughly excited. Football returning to the heart of Arima and also Terry Fenwick is coming to Arima. This article has me pumped as an ‘Arimian’

  10. interesting. how short memory we have. Another example of Trinis standing for nothing. A cabal in the football. A man who spat on players is now at the helm of alocal club. who paying his exorbitant fees? I’m sure if a local person had done that (spat) he would be in the dog house.I guess this is Trinidad, different strokes for different folks. An we boast we free.Really. I saw that coming a long time , since his name was being bandied for Soca warriors coach. We are a shameless and gutless people. Football mafia at work, like everthing else in this country

    • His wages are being paid by the club’s sponsors and not taxpayers. There is a lot of misinformation about about Fenwick, Rossana. I don’t know that he ever spat on anyone.
      The only case of spitting in the top flight was Marvin Phillip who spat on a referee. He has grown up a lot since and has done very well for Trinidad and Tobago as our national goalkeeper.

    • Jabloteh early years began at my alma mater grounds San Juan government, so i know some hand one stories . is this the same man when Jabloteh couldn’t’ pay him after the collapse at CLICO , he bailed out on them and refused to accompany them to a match in Suriname 2009. t Is this te same man who the police was investigating for an alleged $450,000 re Ma Pau. to play in the TT Pro league? Really corruption. Birds of a feather flock together. The same man who recently boasted he liivng in T&t for 17 years and was the best man for the job Lawrence now holds. People in T&T suffers from amnesia conveniently. The goalpost also shifts conveniently . Anyway everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. I’m not shifting from mine. A society which lacks integrity and ethics and I’m not speaking about the government or politicians , but ordinary citizens.

    • Rossana, I don’t know where to start. But I’d query your sources. Football is my business and over 90 percent of what you said was false.
      It’s not always about convenient memories. Some people are just closer to the facts than others.

  11. Should have gotten the t&t work in my opinion, the time was right for him…if he failed then u can take some years to rebuild with Lawrence…might end up happening the other way around tho, who knows

  12. Very nice move your worship.

  13. Grande team playing in arima

  14. Good luck to all parties involved. Any updates on the subvention returning??

  15. Exciting times ahead in Arima…I have fond memories of the Velodrome…It’s where I first saw David Nakhid play for T&T and put in a MOTM performance back in the 90’s vs Barbados I think.

  16. Arima was always and will always be bless with young talented footballers

  17. Something like this was long overdue well done Mr Fenwick !!!!

  18. Yeah Bor Bor and Curtis, imagine if they had this when we were just finishing school eh.

  19. The last time I was so happy was when I got a second wife and survived.

  20. Lasana Liburd so tru after teams like ARIMA United And Memphis fell off football died in arima it’s nice to to know it’s coming bk with a bang and applauded Jamaal Shabazz Keith Jeffrey and all others that are tryin to bring back the football to the cummunity

  21. Now I forgot Saunders 3 peat champion with Stern and Jeffreys from Jabloteh wow . And all you feel this thing would crash? Real gladiators

  22. Home games in Arima….home games in Morvant …..home games in San Juan…..Wow

  23. Third week of May runs till 3rd week December

  24. Add back some colour in the TT Pro League and let the talk be played out on the pitch….Congrats to Marvin Olliver another Gladiator …..Fenwick …Eve………….Stuart Charles…..Streete….Hood..Marvin Gordon ….looking good ….have not been so excited in a while

  25. When does the season start exactly Jamaal?

  26. And the season will start May?

  27. The Fenwick /Lookloy combination Great for the League (s) and Arima. Wow never a dull moment….I think Fenwick will force me back on the pitch for Cale. Where is Cro Cro…. or a calypsonian when you need one boy….
    Anyway we jamming still

  28. has anyone ever seriously done any work at getting private investors to buy into the TTPro?

  29. As a boy, we had Arima United playing at the Drome. After that players never had a top flight team in the area. And Arima has a huge catchment area. So I think it is great for young players and football fans.
    Don’t know all the details but sounds like Arima will have good football this year between the Pro League and the Super League.

  30. Any potential name change? Arima Stars perhaps?

  31. What kind of salaries will this team pay and will they provide housing to foreign players? I have some foreign players that need an outlet to show case themselves or get their career back on track.

  32. Arima is the ideal location for a Professional football team.

  33. Is there going to be promotion/relegation implemented?

  34. From what I understand, FC Santa Rosa are not interested in that Nigel. Don’t know if they will change their minds. Is that being considered Timothy Rochford?

  35. Has Super League/Pro League double headers ever been considered. For example, FC Santa Rosa in the opening game, followed by North East Stars in the headline game.

  36. This is great for Arima! Also great for both the Pro League and Super League. The Velodrome is very much accessible and is smack in the center of the hub of the East, Arima.

    The challenge is for these clubs to get persons out. They’re so much close by communities that they can tap into to grow their fan base. I eagerly await developments

  37. Ah like this move. Now let’s see how this plays out.

  38. very foward thinking move Lisa Morris-Julian: Arima Central