Call him the unsinkable Terry Fenwick.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.