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We have no respect for Stern! Stars slam T&T assistant coach after on-field insults

North East Stars head coach Derek King and at least two members of his playing staff have condemned the behaviour of Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team assistant coach and former World Cup 2006 star Stern John, after several heated verbal exchanges at Couva last night which left players disgusted and fearful of victimisation.

John, who is Trinidad and Tobago’s all-time record scorer with 70 goals from 114 international appearances, was on duty as Central FC coach and, for the second straight match, decided to play himself from the start.

Photo: Saddle Hill striker and Trinidad and Tobago Hall of Fame athlete Stern John prepares to come on as a substitute in 2015/16 CNG National Super League (NSL) action against Barrackpore United.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

But it was not a happy time for John or Central as Stars humiliated them 6-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium after leading by four goals at halftime.

By the final whistle, it was King and his squad who were livid, though, as they alleged that John taunted Stars players about their skills—or their supposed lack thereof—and their inability to break into the “Soca Warriors” team for which he serves as assistant to head coach Dennis Lawrence.

At present, left-back Kevon Villaroel is the only Stars player on the national squad although the Arima-based team are four points clear at the top of the Pro League standings and employ the likes of Yohance Marshall, Rundell Winchester, Julius James, Duane Muckette, Kishun Seecharan, Keston George, Kevon Goddard, Jomoul Francois, Kerry Baptiste and Densill Theobald.

The crosstalk, according to two Stars players who spoke on condition of anonymity, started in the second half when James—a former 2001 Under-17 World Youth Cup player, MLS employee and Hermann Trophy candidate with the University of Connecticut (UConn)—flattened John with a tackle that was whistled as a foul.

John’s response, according to a Stars player, was to call James “a shit player.”

Photo: Then Central FC defender Julius James (right) looks for passing options during Pro League action against Defence Force at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 24 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“That is why you can’t make the national team!” John allegedly taunted James.

James, who is 33 and has 16 senior international caps for the Warriors, was selected in Lawrence’s first national team to play Barbados but declined the invitation to sign a one-year deal with United States team Sacramento Republic instead. He has not been recalled since.

It was only the beginning of John’s supposed tirade.

“He started to tell players that they were shit and that they were not going to get paid at the end of the month,” said one player. “He told Keston George (a versatile 24-year-old player who was Central FC captain just two months ago) that he was shit and had a shit touch and only made the national team because he made it happen…

“I used to have respect for Stern John but it is hard for me now.”

George was called up to train with the Warriors—while still a Central player—in April before a friendly international away to Grenada although he did not make the final squad. He has not been invited to rejoin the squad since.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team assistant coach Stern John (foreground) leads the squad in training at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on 8 March 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Wired868 tried without success to reach John for a comment. King told Wired868 that he phoned Lawrence immediately after the match to complain.

“I called Dennis last night and told him as a national coach that was real poor from Stern,” said King, who was assistant to ex-head coach Stephen Hart and John’s former international teammate. “How can you have a national team technical staff member playing against guys who are aspiring to make the national team and telling them things like that?”

According to one Stars player, John was disrespecting the game and the Pro League by even being on the field—let alone his demeanour.

A former Premier League player with Birmingham and Sunderland, John, who is now 40, hasn’t played top flight football in Trinidad for five years. His inserting himself into the Central starting team meant that versatile attacker Jem Gordon and his own son, Tyrik John, had to settle for spots on the bench.

“You’re fat and you’re unfit and you’re 40-years-old,” one Stars player commented, “so what are you doing on the field?”

“If a camera was there to scout players and they see you on the field looking like that, then you are bringing the whole level of the competition down. You’re disrespecting the game and you have to have more respect for yourself than that.”

Photo: Then WASA striker and Trinidad and Tobago legend Stern John (centre) has a word with referee Neal Brizan during the 2014-15 domestic season.
(Courtesy Sinead Peters/Wired868)

The player was not yet finished.

“To make it worse, you’re a national team coach and you should be there scouting players, not trying to fight up with them and talking shit as an unfit, overweight player while your team is getting whipped…

“Come on man, understand your role! I know it is all banter but you must have respect for yourself and others as a national team coach.”

His Stars teammate claimed that John also made withering comments about his opposing coach, King.

“He told players to look at what your payslip is going to be at the end of the month,” said the player, “[because] allyuh Mickey Mouse coach selling allyuh dreams…”

At present, John’s record as a head coach reads thus: one draw and three losses with one goal scored and 12 conceded.

King, at 37, is an Under-20 Caribbean Cup champion coach, a former Pro League Coach of the Year and, if Stars stay on top the League at the end, he will become only the second Pro League coach to win titles at different clubs after Englishman Terry Fenwick.

Fenwick won at San Juan Jabloteh and Central while King is already a former winner with Joe Public.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Derek King (second from right) has a moment with his squad during the 2014 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“Even if you are in a game and you’re mad, those are the kind of things you are spewing?” asked the Stars player. “It goes to show where the mindset of the national team reach if this is the thinking and behaviour of an assistant coach on the national team.

“He is out of retirement now, so is he going to put himself up for selection? […] Now our players are feeling victimised because he is the assistant coach so in some capacity he will have influence with [the national team selection]…

“It really all started from the foul [on him by James]. I don’t know if he thought we would have taken it easy on him and tip-toed around him but we have a job to do. And if he wants to disrespect the game and the League to come out and play when there are younger players looking for the opportunity, then that is on him.”

Wired868 was unable to get a response from national team manager Richard Piper on Stars’ complaints up until the time of publication.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence (second from right) talks tactics with his coaching staff (from right) Stuart Charles-Fevrier, Ross Russell, Stern John, Richard Piper and Michael Williams.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

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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228 comments

  1. Not me and all this madness that is we football nah…i don’t even know what to say bout this one!

    Like Dennis tell Stern to get in shape for the final two Hex games or what?

    Look bottom line is, Stern should be lambasted SOLELY for suiting up to play in the damn pro league…no defending that.

  2. Aye guys let us continue to educate the readers about the game.

  3. Monkey does know what tree to climb I have a cutass for him he go try some shit with me again and I will deal with him accordingly

  4. Don’t give me wrong I glad Central get 6 , wish they lose every game ,we focusing on the wrong things

  5. Bunch of babies Carlos Lee, Stern give we talk, so let’s run a tell Lasana Liburd. Who they know will pick up fire rage lol. Lasana pardner I ain’t calling no name (cause I fraid a certain lady bounce me down when I crossing the road ) elbow a player after he scored a goal and all the media stay quiet. Now mere words and almost 200 comments. Steups.

    • Travis to even suggest the media stayed quiet about the elbow you mentioned is an absurdity and as far from the truth as you can get it eh. I suppose I have to admire your persistence–in a kinda morbid way. 🙄🙄

    • LoL, well I wish it had wired in those days. To see how many comments there would’ve been and to see if the wired boss would’ve said that Jefferson ran into Voldemort elbow( yes, I rather call that name , I get threatened yesterday )
      😂😂😂

  6. “What would happen if this League crashes? What you think will happen with the crime rate?”

    This is pretty ridiculous, and under different circumstances would even be considered incendiary.

  7. Lol Mickey mouse clubhouse lol

  8. Is this not a conflict of interest? A national team coach shouldn’t be affiliated with any clubs because therein lies the potential for favoritism and/or victimization of players.

  9. Hmmmm didn’t he loose his daughter the other day? Smh we should show compassion before condemning!

  10. As a coach you work on a player weakness to develop him to be a better player but if you can only coach players that already develop then you is shit

  11. It’s alleged you told the young coach he is not good, you also told some young players they can’t make the National team if this is True, you have to account for your behavior I will wait and see.

  12. Check out keith look loy track record as national coach and also his stint with fomer joe public . As then national coach he lost every game 6 -0

  13. Yeah Roland Clarke some years ago I visited the Hasley Crawford stadium to witness a National U 20 team in session and I couldn’t believe when I saw and heard the coach cussing up the players at the session, I said to myself but what is wrong with this coach eh, he has a loose screw in his head or what, well the next thing when the player couldn’t take it anymore he responded with a few choice words himself yes and this is what will always happen and as I said before when the bootleg coach Stern John opposed Boucard and Ballpest they both put him in his place and after that the other bootleg Dennis Lawrence dropped them both of the squad yes and by the way the Coach at the time that did that same madness to the U 20 players was coach Keith Look Loy eh another one with that doh doh head coaching style steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

  14. Stern calling men shithounds is laughable and akin to a dyslexic and a somebody stummering ordering KFC

  15. This is d level our football has come too, d more administration change; d more it remains d SAME!!

  16. The word professional does anyone understand it all coaching education and coaching licenses at all levels teaches you to avoid abusive langues and shouting at players however it is the skill of the individual how he gets his message across to players lately a trend arise in Trinidad copied from a English manager applying his trade in Trinidad and a once fomer joe public and ma pau coach also took up that style where he was abusive to players the present north east stars coach had his once assistant coach at joe public do the abusive work for him and the assistant took that same style to central fc so it is a present trend among some local coaches

  17. No man is and island not even the great pele is playing mr stern lead by example you know the drill

  18. It must have two sides to this story but John was probably trying to get the Northeast players off their game. It worked because the players complained to the press. The side I am worried about is if Stern is going to allow this incident to cloud his judgement as to treatment of the same players at the national level.

  19. Nicholas Howard Corey King Isaac Frederick Keron Godsent Garib

  20. So Stern called men shitty and we assume they simply ignored the picong and continued playing. If we choose to accept that then we will all look at Lasana and think he has a full head of hair

  21. Malik Johnson some time ago meh good friend Dion Sosa and Stern John had a falling out with respect to when Akeem Adams passed away R. I. P so I attended a fete match between the ex minister team out side of the stadium field and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Stern brought a sign to the game and placed it on the fence behind one of the goal post with all sorts of things written on totting meh friend Dion yes I said but this fella is a mad man or what a fella who represented our sweet country and play real professional ball and behaving in that manner eh so I am not surprised with respect to his behavior now that he is a bootleg coach eh Them really good yes steeuuppss

  22. Ah rough tackle? Ah rough tackle …you serious right now??

  23. Again. In no way am I saying Stern was right. Soley because of the position he holds

  24. Lasana his son was on the bench …that’s the example you setting for your son? So in his eyes now it’s ok to behave so because my father Stern
    “the legend” do it lol allyuh jokey yes lol

  25. I hadda tell yuh Trinis definitely passionate. Where in the world you gonna see a 40 yr national team assistant start himself on his pro team …lose 6-0 and talking bout your touch is shit trying to intimidate men. Men who know that to make the team HE is in a position to have influence. But it gets better men say the men too soft because they took offense. These guys came on the pitch to play ball and THIS man start insulting them for no reason than he going through some crisis and tne response is ….THE PLAYERS ARE WRONG because @ the man is ah legend b) they too soft c) everyone who know him know that’s how he is d) they should be playing in a different league ….. e) ah next man gone off topic completely and start talking bout how fenwick gonna fire king. All this shite and it comes down to is this “Is Stern right to behave this way or is he wrong?”. The answer regardless of all the opinionated bs allyuh passing round is an emphatic “HELL NO” …….

  26. Steups!!!! Blah blah blah!!! Lol any port for a storm.

  27. That’s why our football is at its lowest ebb. Players are not selected by skill or knowledge of the game but rather by partisanship.

  28. But some player need to be told what they are

  29. Trinidad and Tobago football man !!!hmmm .

  30. I am shocked that so many folks think Assistant National team coaches playing in a Pro League game while serving as Coach of a team calling players shitty and belitting their skills is acceptable. I now understand why we accept WConnection coaches as national team coaches, why its acceptable for Pro league Owners to be head of TTFA, why pro league coaches/owners can run women’s program and hold varied posts in TTFA. Our football is where it is because collectively we do not have basic standards for acceptable conduct. For those who think the players soft, I want you every morning to tell your children, grand children and neices and nephews they are DUNCE before they go to battle at school. Please do that every morning and tell me the results, tell me how your children and grandchildren performance improve. Sadly, too much of our football utilises long disproven methods of excessive running and cussing players. A key motivator in the coach-player relationship requires the player to feel the coach genuinely believes in his/her ability and CARES about them achieving their full potential. For the record, I am all about talking shit on the pitch, but I hope we can all accept that a Pro League player/coach who serves as an asst National team coach should not conduct himself in this manner. Frankly, I am not sure why we feel more comfortable blaming the victim of the abuse but condone and find so many excuses for the behavior of the abuser. Maybe we have a little abuser in us all

    • Good points Sean Powder , I like the fact you alluded to the double standards because that’s one of the things killing our society not just football. My opinion is Stern is a straight shooter no games, he says it as it is especially if he is upset I’ve known the guy since we were teenagers. I myself have at 40 been tempted to jump in the battle rather than direct because of bad performances of some of my players last yr at 39 I have to play 3 games because we had 4 men on the bench of which 2 were keepers. This is the same thing central is faced with. Trust me when you step into that field , you throw away the coaching mantle and your super hero or super villain comes out, the latter especially if you losing. My issue is can he as national assistant coach put the incident behind him when he crosses the other line is left to be seen.

    • “that he he was shit and had a shit touch and only made the national team because he made it happen…” banter on the field is common, however comments as these questions the professionalism of the National Team’s Assistant Coach ability to be impartial and honest when perrforming his National duties. It seems he lacks the ability to separate his role as a club player and that of a National Team coach.

    • Well its left to be seen . We’ll see the next Nat’l team call ups

    • Travis Mulraine its good he is a straight shooter but you need many tricks in your bag. I hear you on the frustration especially for someone with Stern’s playing credentials and experience but that is exactly why his actions disturbing. Furthermore, thus is one incident it for me is not a reflection on the man nor his coaching potential just his inability to separate and respect his roles.

    • And as I said before when I tried the coaching business back in my second sweetest country many moons ago, have boatrides to raise the funds to pay meh players, never disrespected them in anyway but will fine, suspend, dismiss, if they broke my rules of my organization and was very successful in helping a few with football scholarships and professional contracts just by competing in leagues and tournaments where they were all seen and my job was done seeing that their dreams were all fulfilled and for me it was never about winning any trophies, it was always about their future and I knew for a fact when you treat the players the way that they should be treated they will always put all out for you to win the games and the trophies but after years dealing with some of our players. oooooogoooooddd sometimes I couldn’t sleep at nights nah thinking about the game the next day and where I putting certain players to play, picking the team because I had so many boss players eh I then decided that I had enough with the coaching business and I went back to just being the bestest manager eh, organizing the uniforms, balls, and all other equipment eh and of course the monies for the players I left the coaching business for Earl Carter The Spiderman, and Eric Bandy Thomas eh. Them really good yes.

    • PREACH

      And there is nothing to add, that archaic coaching method is out the door.

    • Where are the codes of conduct for coaches and administrators? Are they free to do as they please and leave the players belittled and without redress?

    • Lasana Liburd clearly you don’t have a clue about the substitute for war (sport) , motivation and inspiration comes in many forms and fashion I agree with those who said different strokes for different folks , but I will say this. Nowadays player need the Buhrrus Skinner Reinforcement and the Equity philosophy of Adams nothing else would work .

    • Travis, there is a chance that I know nothing about sport. There is also a chance that you know nothing about discipline.
      I reject the thinking that codes of conduct only applies to players. I know I spent three seasons in Britain at club houses from Bournemouth to Aberdeen and everywhere in between and have spoken to loads of players and coaches/managers one on one from the late Bobby Robson to Graeme Souness to Tony Pulis to Harry Redknapp…
      But, yeah, I know that counts for nothing in Trinidad. Here if a man disagrees with you he just says you nothing and he knows everything…

    • It was just a figure of speech my friend, don’t get emotional. I am a man who have no problem loosing a conversation , unlike some people, you clearly have issue with stern because I can call people who you chummy with have physically assaulted players. And what we in Trinidad call discipline I know nothing of ,you re right again. No referred will deliberately try to derail all my hard work I won’t tell him how I feel,or slap away his cards, no administrator would treat me like a servant , no coach was able to erode my confidence by selecting lesser players. But I know all about dedicating myself life to winning on the field , not drinking, smoking, feigning injury, sneaking out of camp, trying to follow the coaches’ instructions to the letter that s the discipline I am interested in Lasana Liburd. Not submitting to oppression.

    • Travis, you will never see me emotional. You and I have been in sport from different ends for a long time. You have your opinion and I have mine. I’m not going to cry because you tried to invalidate my opinion. I have thick skin.
      Reference to what other coaches may or may not have done is distraction. This chat is about Stern and I feel that he should have a certain level of self-control and internal discipline as he carries about his job.
      And as a national coach, you are never really off duty when you are in public. There are many different sides to discipline. It isn’t just about if you smoke or sneak out of camp.

    • And it sounds like you want the players to submit to the oppressor. If they feel they were insulted at their work place, they can speak up about it.
      Whether anything happens is not up to them and I am sure they know that. They said they did not appreciate the behaviour of the national assistant coach and they have a right to an opinion too. Don’t they?

    • Travis Mulraine you are correct motivation and inspiration comes in many forms. Since you have access to players, why not begin a simple study of your players. Identify the ones that need cuss from the ones that need a hand on their shoulder. Then impart the methods appropriate and tell us the results in 6 months with thr two groups.

    • I already did bro, unfortunately 90% need cussing and not always literally. Research the behavior of ALL the successful coaches in Trinidad and you will see the command style of leadership. That’s the reality. I am just patiently waitin to make it through all the hatin. Listen and Look out for Arima North.

    • Travis I appreciate your efforts but I question your methods because very rarely when dealing with human beings we get 90% of anything. Furthermore, if 90% needed it and its and effective tool have you yielded positive results?

    • Yep , players in Trinidad have to be in tight reins. Earl Mango Pierre coach Beenhakker set down to mantle early on when yorke and latas came late to breakfast , he tore into them in front of the whole team and no one was late after that. Then one month they paid him late , the physio / trainer came to pick him up and saw him packing . He asked “where you going coach?”he said ” I don’t get pay, so I don’t work , I go home ” in an hour his salary was in the bank , that’s the people we dealing with bro.
      My results are 2 U 16 national titles with Naps.
      Last yr I won the National title at Senior level with Arima North. And we have a very decent chance of promotion to the prem.
      I have assisted Angus at Naps for 3 yrs of which they won back to back premiership titles. Not to mention other teams of which I was assistant coach but as you know the head coach gets the glory. That’s y my days of assistant coach is over except for the senior team

    • Sean discipline, standards and professional conduct are only for players here. That never applies to administrators and apparently not to coaches either. Employees are there to be abused, I suppose.

    • Travis congratulations on your success and I wish you continued success. My thinking is that Leo is dealing with grown men where the hammer maybe necessary. I can not disagree with your tight reins philosophy as you are satisfied with the results. As some raise their boys with licks to assist with control and discipline however beatings and imitation loose effectiveness at age 15/16. Would you consider a loose reigns approach thereafter based on emotional IQ?

    • Travis Mulraine..Always knew that you would have done good things with respect to the coaching and congratulations on your continuing success man. Blessings.

    • Our culture / lifestyle doesn’t permit us to be too scientific in our approach trust me I have tried, in America and other cultures where people are driven by excellence because of the rewards attached for achieving excellence. High standards and continuos improvement are hallmarks of the societies that are at the top of the pile where business , technology etc is concerned. I could assure you that an American 20 yr old is a different person from a Trinidadian 20 yr old. Sad to say that but the , ambition, focus, dedication etc is not where it should be for our players
      Also the exposure to top football is chalk and cheese because of the almighty dollar. A little team from a little town will tour Spain ,Italy ,Germany on a yearly basis ,when youngsters in TT have to make a national team for the most part to get that kind of exposure. Then at the senior level the MLS clubs face top international clubs on a yearly basis. Playing in front of tens of thousands . Compare that to our pro league …

    • Respect is a 2 way street that idiot would not know that cause he does not have a clue what that means he is a big idiot with a small brain and a big ego who played for a bunch of small ass shit clubs in England and feel he on the level if Yorke and latas . you don’t dress down players you build them up and motivate them you challenge them and if they have heart they will respond positively

    • Now if zidane or Diego getting on so well you can excuse them cause they win everything in football and earn the right to call a player out but this hound never won shit at any of the shittty ass clubs he played for so who died and made you king of TNT football man get off your high horse and stop acting like you are somebody well you nothing but a washed up has been part time bootleg small side player

    • Sean Sean Powder….go to the head of the class… that’s precisely why in Europe before you are granted a License to coach you must have done some level of Psychology… I don’t know exactly what their standard is…but you must have attained amounts…other things….you must possesses the knowledge and skills to get players to want to play for you without the Mental, Physical or Psychological abuse….this Guy just not ready…..

    • Dion Sosa correction. The man win the championship division with Sunderland and the MLS golden boot not so?

    • Wow mls golden boot ian mls stands for major loads of shit

    • Lmao I’m just saying the win things

    • If I am not correct I believe he joined Sunderland after their promotion not sure

    • The other way around man. They traded him for Kenwyne after they got promoted

    • Oh OK well I never really cared for that idiot anyway

  31. I was not going to comment on this but I have no choice. These players have to toughen up and man up.. they are soft and far too sensitive. In today’s world people are offended about every negative thing said about them. The stark reality is most of the national players need to improve drastically. Ideally it would be better if Stern stays retired but he thinks he could help his club by playing so he did just that- played. Once he is on the pitch he is a player. I do understand Dereck’s point but passion takes over when you’re on that pitch. Bottom line to those players.. prove stern wrong… you’re grown men.. don’t go to the damn press and complain someone call you “shitty”.. just so damn soft!

  32. Lasana Liburd you alluded to the fact that king is half way on the road to becoming the 2nd coach to win the pro league with a second club, let me divulge some info. Terry Fenwick is behind the scenes trying to acquire majority shares for the club and ofcourse as soon as he does king gone. Just saying. But you might already be privy to this info for it was you who let in the Trojan horse.

  33. When owners of so called Pro League Teams could behave in such a manner…it’s definitely not a Pro League but a Piper’s League where no one honours contracts anymore…not these fly by night owners/Administers and certainly not the TTFA or TTFF or what ever they call themselves now….it would surely take a miracle to help our Football now….some of these very people are the ones who vehemently complained about Jack Warner…like it turns out that they are even worse than him…

  34. I woulda kick him … hard lol