Former Denmark international Nicklas Bendtner—mockingly tagged ‘Lord Bendtner’—is his country’s most famous footballer of this millennium, only his celebrity has little to do with anything he ever did on the field of play.
Bendtner once declared himself to be the best striker in the world, when, in reality, he was not even the best striker at his club, Arsenal FC, at the time. That was not even the half of it. Former Arsenal sports psychologist Jacques Crevoisier revealed that the player once ‘broke’ a psychological test designed to ‘determine their players’ mental abilities in relation to their footballing qualities’.
“One of the categories is called ‘self-perceived competence’, that is how good the player himself thinks he is,” Crevoisier told Swedish magazine Offside. “On a scale up to 9, Bendtner got 10! We have never seen that before. Pat Rice [Arsenal’s assistant manager] was sitting next to me and couldn’t stop laughing.
“When Bendtner misses a chance, he is always genuinely convinced that it wasn’t his fault…”
And speaking of outer-worldly assessment of his own abilities, well… Do we really want to wait until it is too late to crown Trinidad and Tobago’s own coaching nobleman: Lord Terence Fenwick?
Mr Live Wire has seen and heard some extraordinary things over the years, including former Minister of Sport Anil Roberts’ inability to make himself out in a ‘politicians gone wild’ video.
But a Trinidad and Tobago national football team head coach suggesting that a draw away to The Bahamas, ranked 201st from Fifa’s 210 member associations, represents mission accomplished? What the hell is next?! A vaccination exercise turning into a super-spreader event?!
“We are not winning on any level—we’re losing, we’ve lost our dignity within the Caribbean region,” said Fenwick, on his appointment in January 2020. “I’ve got to concentrate on the flagship, to get us back to winning ways to establish ourselves within the Caribbean region first.
“[…] I think the past administration was playing a style of football that clearly doesn’t work and sticks out like a sore thumb, based on the results that we’ve seen.
“I’m good at putting pictures in the player’s minds, structuring a team so they know where to fall back if they are not playing as well. So they have a game plan—not just when we are defending but in terms of how we keep the ball and how we hurt the opposition.”
So not just a crap coach then, but pretty awful at painting pictures too.
Not that Fenwick’s imminent sacking will solve more than a fraction of Trinidad and Tobago football’s problems.
I mean the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee didn’t think the Soca Warriors needed a proper training ground to prepare for the Bahamas in Nassau, and then transported players to Santo Domingo minus their football boots before their game against St Kitts and Nevis.
Does Hadad ask his cook to prepare lunch without a pot and stove?
But then sport is an industry under siege in the twin island republic, so the ‘Ice Cream Man’ won’t have trouble finding someone else willing to dash into the TTFA’s burning building—and probably for a third of Fenwick’s salary too.
Should the combustible Englishman have gotten the job in the first place? Well, Fenwick amassed about as many trophies as he did red cards in the local Pro League; and it was just about enough to support his sky-high confidence before.
But maybe his supporters, Wired868 included, ought to have done more exhaustive background checks, including interviews with his former employees.
At San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC, Fenwick had the financial backing of CL Financial and SIS respectively, which allowed him to outspend his opponents and rule his players in an autocratic way that is inconceivable at international level.
To say Fenwick was out of his depth with the Soca Warriors, would be to say Colm Imbert is ‘moderately tall’. A man who once criticised Stephen Hart’s supposed failure to discipline star midfielder Kevin Molino, could not even get uncapped 18-year-old Gary Griffith III to heel.
As the old people say: higher monkey climb, more he expose heself!
It is an old story. In June 1957, a dashing British bachelor named Dennis Birch had the ladies swooning as he danced breathlessly close with a beautiful ‘high colour’ local at the Country Club in Maraval.
There was an interruption to the high society event as a request for Birch’s company came from the front door. The local constabulary was there, accompanied by Detective Inspector George Mullins and Detective Sergeant Jack Huntley of the Scotland Yard.
As it turned out ‘Dennis Birch’ was really Dennis Stafford, a convicted burglar and fraudster from Newcastle who escaped Wormword Scrubs prison in London, eight months prior, and created a new life for himself in Trinidad. There might be a lesson in there somewhere.
Ah well, it was fun while it lasted; and condolences to the promising local coaches blemished by association. Assistant coaches Derek King and Kelvin Jack both made stellar contributions to the red, white and black in the past. Hopefully they will get the chance to do so again in the not-too-distant future.
Farewell Lord Fenwick—the only man in the country happy to be in self-isolation, as Hadad and company try in vain to hand him a pink slip.
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