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Fenwick’s back! Feisty Englishman makes shock return to Central FC

Call him the unsinkable Terry Fenwick.

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)

The former England World Cup defender left Trinidad and Tobago Pro League club, Central FC, last year for greener pastures with Belgium lower division club, CS Visé, and took three of Couva-based team’s best players with him.

The Visé dream turned into a nightmare and the Trinidad and Tobago exports to the obscure club, Willis Plaza, Rundell Winchester, Elton John and Kevon Villaroel, returned with sad tales of broken promises and unpaid wages. At present, Visé, which imploded financially soon after Fenwick joined them, is in 16th place in the Belgium third division and in danger of relegation.

It is uncertain when the Englishman abandoned the Belgium club.

However, tomorrow morning, Fenwick will officially rejoin them at the “Couva Sharks” as their new head coach. Zoran Vranes, a native of the former Yugoslav republic, will step aside and take over the position of Central technical director with responsibility over the youth and women’s teams.

Vranes will essentially act in place of Central director of women’s and youth football, George Romano, who is recovering from a stroke he suffered last month.

Central operations director Kevin Harrison, who is also advisor to Sport Minister Brent Sancho, confirmed that the feisty Englishman was back in the driver’s seat.

Photo: Serbia-born coach Zoran Vranes led Central FC to the First Citizens Cup title while the club is first in the Pro League at present. However, Vranes will step aside for Terry Fenwick to take over first team duties. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Serbia-born coach Zoran Vranes led Central FC to the First Citizens Cup title while the club is first in the Pro League at present.
However, Vranes will step aside for Terry Fenwick to take over first team duties.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“We are in the last furlong now and the results haven’t been spectacular,” Harrison told Wired868. “Maybe they were getting jaded and needed a little freshener. The players will have to try a bit harder now and refocus to get in the team under a new coach.”

The decision is arguably harsh on Vranes who, at present, has the Sharks at the top of the table and in line for their first domestic league title. Central also retained the 2014 First Citizens Cup under the former Trinidad and Tobago World Youth Cup coach.

However, the Sharks were experiencing a mini-blip after a 1-1 draw to Defence Force on Saturday and a TTFA FA Trophy semi-final defeat to bitter rivals, DIRECTV W Connection, last week.

Harrison admitted that it was not a unanimous decision.

“At the end of the day, the (Central) board did say the team was top of the league and doing quite well but it was more about getting the pieces in the right places,” said Harrison, who is also British. “With George not being there and our Easter camps and so on coming up, we needed more experienced hands to take care of our academy.

“Vranes’ developmental role has been pretty good and then you had Terry’s record last season of 17 games unbeaten. It seemed a better fit.”

Harrison said Central was not put off by Fenwick’s disastrous spell at Visé, which led to the Pro League team paying to bring its players back and then offering them stipends while they waited for the January transfer window to open.

Photo: Central FC scorer Willis Plaza (right) is congratulated by teammate Darren Mitchell during Pro League action against Point Fortin Civic. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC scorer Willis Plaza (right) is congratulated by teammate Darren Mitchell during Pro League action against Point Fortin Civic.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“Terry was just an employee of the club, he wasn’t making decisions there,” said Harrison. “In fact, Terry was trying to intercede on behalf of the players… If I say ‘we will pay you this much money’ and the board runs out of money, it isn’t my fault. That would be blaming the messenger…

“I think the team is excited because a lot of them had a good relationship with Terry. If Vranes was fired that might be different because a lot of players like Vranes and enjoy working with him. They actually have an extra coach now rather than losing one.”

Harrison rebuffed rumours that Sancho personally signed off on Fenwick’s return, despite the Sport Minister’s claim he was no longer involved with Central so as to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

“Brent’s heart will always be with Central but we have a board in place and there is a degree of separation,” said Harrison. “I can’t say we will never ask for his advice or opinion… Central FC will always be his baby and it is hard to totally detach yourself.

“But there must be a degree of separation and, in this case, it was my decision.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is the owner and former chairman at Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is the owner and former chairman at Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

Harrison declined to name the members of the Central FC board.

“I’d rather not,” he said. “I think they’d rather sit in the background.”

Fenwick confirmed his return to Central FC but did not comment further up until the time of publication.

The Englishman, who captained Tottenham Spurs and Crystal Palace in the English top flight and is a former Portsmouth manager, first came to Trinidad in 2001. He led CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh to back to back league titles in 2002 and 2003 before returning to England for a short and unmemorable stint with lower league team, Northampton.

He returned to Jabloteh in 2005 and—despite walking off the job twice due to work disputes—helped the club to two more league titles in 2007 and 2008 and, even after the Clico turmoil, still helped the “San Juan Kings” to a FA Trophy before he left for good in 2011.

Photo: Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (centre) collects a Coach of the Month prize from Blue Waters Communications Officer Cassia Precilla (right) and Pro League secretary Julia Baptiste in March 2014. (Courtesy TT Pro League)
Photo: Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (centre) collects a Coach of the Month prize from Blue Waters Communications Officer Cassia Precilla (right) and Pro League secretary Julia Baptiste in March 2014.
(Courtesy TT Pro League)

Two years later, he took over from compatriot and ex-Chelsea coach, Graham Rix, at fledgling club, Central, and led them to them to the First Citizen Cup and Lucozade Goal Shield crowns.

Now, he has rejoined the Sharks again with the team trying to stave off defending champions and bitter rivals, W Connection. Cue fireworks.

AboutLasana 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.

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33 comments

  1. I agree with you Cheyenne Hector Vranes biggest mistake was clear favouritism of his U20 players especially di silva who in my opinion is yet to show his worth or show he is deserving a place in the starting 11 likewise i felt Leston Paul consistency dropped earlier later on in the season resulting in injury

  2. Still one of d best coach in t&t

  3. Hannibal Najjar

    99% of the time 99% of teams experience some degree of slipping and this is often good for coaches since it helps as a wake-up call type of bell-ringing. So Central’s current plateauing is kind of expected but they are still in control of the top rank and seem to be managing the “turbulence” well. As for the coach change, Central will reap what they sow, and the leadership is now going to have to actively inspect what what they expect with clinical accuracy as time is of essence indeed. One question, is the leadership aware of any emotional, structural, or personality change in the Englishman as he returns with the Belgium collapse on his plate? Did this not happen before in almost exact fashion when he was with Jabloteh? By the way, what message are we conveying to the young minds when we “swapping wives” in the mix of some understandable trials! As for Zoran, he is a man of integrity and consistency – he is even-keel, balanced and will survive this “carpet pull”.

  4. Something bigger here we not seeing hmmm

  5. Fenwick ! The jumping Englishman. Ent he went Europe?

  6. Ah really feel is the Trini Women he like oui. Ah woulda quote Keith but ah not going there. Lol.

  7. Lasana Liburd… well done with the new wired site man…keep the work going

  8. Your government working for you……ent “Sanko?”

  9. Cue fireworks ! Lol.
    I won’t say much since you never know what’s going on with the upper management of the club. Speculate rift, speculate dressing room bust up but for all you know Central probably always wanted Fenwick… maybe Vranes wanted to go as well.

  10. I’m happy to see Terry back on the scene…someone had to light the fire under them, like Alana said

  11. Cheyenne Hector you hit the nail on the head! Fenwick had a good handle on the guys and did produce results. The Sharks lost a couple games last season because most of the players are on the national team and Pro League didn’t stop the league games when the guys went on international duty. That affected the guys tremendously. Nevertheless Central FC did give Connection a run for their money. Noting the team was only established in 2012! I love our Pro League games and with Fenwick return it would only get better for my team because his philosophy is Win Win Win!

  12. yea it’s a results business and to be fair to him he’s getting results but agreed with Harrison that lately it’s not been as rosey as it was earlier this season….just my opinion but I think it’s definitely got to do with a lost dressing room and If they were to blow the league title after such a convincing start because of a rift it’s probably best to promote him to upstairs to be a T.D which he is quite good at with his youth record… Terry coming in will give them all a lift and a bit of fire up their ass to be on their toes and push on. Win Win for me.

  13. Ok. I’m not sure if that is or isn’t the case but it is an interesting point. I also noted that Zoran preferred a different bunch of players. But then all coaches do and the important thing is whether you are winning or not.

  14. Yea in my opinion he did….Most games I’ve seen the senior players in the team have had verbals with him when taken off , or when given instructions from the touchline…I can’t remember any lack of respect under a Terry regime… also Vranes favouritism of his U20 players , example making Paul and De Silva captain and vice captain may have been an error in his first year…. I look at it like Moyes and United and despite being top of the table , he has the roster of dreams at Pro League level but the divide is clear…Same way Moyes lost the backing of the experienced players such as RVP, Rio, Vidic, Evra etc but had the backing of Rooney (former player) and Januzaj (youngster)

  15. Who lost the dressing room Cheyenne Hector? Zoran?

  16. Like Terry was missing Trini real bad………..

  17. Wait wait Chelsea stuff here boy

  18. called this months ago, once you lose the dressing room you gotta go

  19. Yes. I think it was rough on Zoran.

  20. Its a dam shame we don not forgive our own as we do foreigners. If I had deliberately elbowed anyone especially the way he did I would never be forgiven for it. I dare anyone from T&T to try that anywhere in the UK. I will never forget that incident.

  21. Poor Zoran… he must be suffering from Battered-Coach syndrome by now…but welcome back Terry!!!

  22. I welcome this! As a Central FC supporter from day one I just love this guy! He’s hungry for winning! Allot of negative comments will come from people who don’t even follow the TT Pro League games!

  23. I’M SHOCKED! says…no one ever. Terry love it here.

  24. A a…papa….things didnt work out in Belgium or what? Let me go read this eh