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Central and Fenwick part ways; Vranes among possible new coaches

Caribbean and Pro League champions, Central FC, are on the hunt for a new head coach after failing to agree terms with Englishman, Terry Fenwick, who steered the “Couva Sharks” to the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship and Digicel Pro Bowl titles and led the team for their last three Pro League outings, as they wrapped up the domestic crown.

Photo: Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (left) whistles from the bench during his team's Pro League contest with Point Fortin Civic. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC coach Terry Fenwick (left) whistles from the bench during his team’s Pro League contest with Point Fortin Civic.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Fenwick joined the Sharks in 2013 and led them to second place and a Caribbean Club Championship spot for the first time before he departed in June 2014 for a brief and disastrous stint with financially-ailing lower league Belgium club, CV Vise.

He replaced his own successor at Central, Serbian Zoran Vranes, in March 2015 and completed their League chase and added two more titles for good measure in as many months.

But the relationship between the two parties looks to have come to an abrupt end once more.

The outspoken coach, who was an England 1986 World Cup player, said he was in negotiations with Central for a new deal over the past month. However, he hinted that the two sides did not see eye-to-eye on the administrative state of the club.

Just after noon today, the Central board informed Fenwick, via email, that he would not receive a new contract.

Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (second from right) is congratulated by head coach Terry Fenwick while his teammates join in during a Pro League fixture. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (second from right) is congratulated by head coach Terry Fenwick while his teammates join in during a Pro League fixture in 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“I turned an offer down (from Central) 10 days ago and I gave them a ballpark at what i’m looking at,” Fenwick told Wired868. “But the situation is that at a time when the club has had such success and gotten a wonderful draw in the Champions League, there is a lot of disarray behind the scenes…

“It is not just my contract. None of the staff are signed up and most of the players are out of contract.”

Central operations director Kevin Harrison said he was not involved in Fenwick’s contract negotiations but suggested that the matter was a failed contract negotiation.

“(Fenwick) met with the board and I suppose what ever he wanted wasn’t met and he is gone,” said Harrison. “Without a doubt we wanted him to continue but presumably we couldn’t agree to the terms he wanted and that was that.”

Central’s close season featured a near mutiny by its players over bonus payments while nearly half the first team squad and the entire coaching staff is out of contract. And the Sharks will play their first Champions League game in less than two months.

Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front), operations director Kevin Harrison (top left) and teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Fenwick expressed frustration with the administrative state of the club.

“There is no understanding at what goes into making a successful team at board level,” he said, “and I am not prepared to continue with no staff and no players while we get closer to what is a huge game for Trinidad and Tobago football (against LA Galaxy).

“I wanted to start pre-season on Monday (June 29) and I would have wanted to be close to a full squad as possible… The club is in no shape or form ready for a CONCACAF draw against Galaxy.”

However, Harrison denied Central was in turmoil and claimed that their post-season sluggishness was a result of the drawn out contract negotiations with Fenwick. He said the Sharks hoped to have a head coach in place before they began signing support staff and players.

“Until the deal with Terry was agreed, we couldn’t agree contracts for coaching staff or players,” said Harrison. “If there is any delay on the part of Central FC, it was because of the delay with Terry. So now we will look for a new coach.”

Harrison, who is also British, said talks have begun with their coaching staff from last season and he suggested that any one from Dale Saunders, Kevin Jeffrey, Marc Leslie, George Romano or Anthony Rougier were fully capable of starting Central’s pre-season training.

Photo: Former Central FC head coach Zoran Vranes is now in charge of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Central FC head coach Zoran Vranes is now in charge of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

He revealed that Central board is likely to talk to its former head coach, Vranes, before interviewing new candidates. At present, Vranes is the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team head coach although he has not been paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFA).

The Serbian was shafted to allow Fenwick to carry the Sharks to glory last season. Harrison did not quite remember that way, though.

“We didn’t replace him, we moved him within the club,” said Harrison. “He did a fantastic job last year and we will be mad not to talk to him. You only have to look at his record last year to see that…

“But for now, I just want to know what his goal for the future is. We clearly cannot have a coach or technical director who is not available for us by the end of July.”

The Under-23 Team will be at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in mid-July. And, if they advance from their Caribbean preliminary group, the Warriors face their next round of 2016 Olympic qualifiers in August.

Central FC have never hired a local coach. The club’s first appointment was Englishman Graham Rix who was followed by Fenwick, Vranes and Fenwick again.

Photo: 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: 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)

Harrison suggested that Fenwick and Vranes could be considered “Trinis” by now but claimed the Sharks have interviewed locals and would not rule out hiring a head coach who was born in Trinidad and Tobago. And that includes this country’s most capped outfield player, Angus Eve, who just left his post at the helm of North East Stars.

Either way, Harrison claimed there was no panic at Central.

“We will sit down with Vranes to see what his situation is and we would not rule out having him as coach, technical director or caretaker,” he said. “There are several coaches who we will look to talk to, although there is no one in mind at the moment. But there is no panic.

“There will be certain staff that we will offer contracts to early next week and they will be able to take over training and get everything nice and stabilised. So when the players come back from the Gold Cup, everything is in place for them.”

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.

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62 comments

  1. Things really bad if Vranes is on anyone’s short list

  2. Stop saying sports minister he is old news in a few weeks he and his corrupt government I get the S on the ground Jack go blow them out of the water is real files going and buss real soon

  3. And just to let alyuh know Central F.C. will never hire any local coaches eh, once the sports minister has any say. Them really good yes.

  4. Ah wonder if is meh sports minister eh he will be in for a very rude awakening . Them really good yes.

  5. Uncle Earl Mango Pierre guess who full out nomination papers for toco!!! Let the games begin!!

  6. Probably has better fish to fry.

  7. Kevin, calm down dude, its not that serious. Take win.

  8. Richard Zen O’Brien Yes, it’s about Central. So why bring politics into it? Just because you are opposed to the PP govt, doesn’t mean that every story has to have a political connotation. This is a football story, so why not discuss football? I didn’t see you cussing North East who haven’t much in the last 3 years. Maybe he’s operating like the PNM opposition party? Oh wait,,, Lets just keep it with football, yes?

  9. Ummmm…maybe because the article was about Central FC, maybe?

  10. I don’t understand the concern. Clubs negotiate with coaches all of the time. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t. Every coach has the right to ask for a salary that they would like. Every club has a budget to adhere to. Terry is an excellent coach, but terms could not be agreed. Richard Zen O’Brien, why are you not saying the same about North East Stars?