Fenwick set for Belgium move

Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick.
Terry Fenwick has swapped Central FC for a new challenge with Belgian lower division outfit Cercle Sportif Visé.

“Everything is agreed and it’s just to sign my contract by the end of this week,” said Fenwick, whose contract with Central expires on May 31.

The 54-year-old Fenwick, who is expected to jet off to Belgium next week for his official Visé unveiling, added, “Initially it’s a three-year contract. We have been in discussions for the past few months and it is finalised now.

“It’s a new challenge for me of course. It’s a club with its own ground and facilities, with a great development programme at youth level.”

Only on Tuesday night Fenwick led Central to a second position finish in the 2013-2014 Digicel Pro League and a place in the 2015 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, which is the qualifying phase to the Concacaf Champions League.

“I would have liked to be there with them(Central) but it’s probably time I took a break from Trinidad and Tobago,” Fenwick said in a displeased tone.

“I find it amazing that everyone wants bigger teams, bigger crowds, better rivalry and faster playing teams, but when it’s against them, they particularly don’t want it and have a problem with me. They are contradicting everything.”

However Fenwick, who earlier this year married Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) corporate lawyer and Trinidadian Reyna Fenwick née Kowlessar, plans to retire in Trinidad though.

“I expect to come back here,” he said. “My wife’s family and everyone are here.”
Fenwick, winner of three league titles among numerous Cup titles with former club San Juan Jabloteh, spent the last 16 months at Central and apart from qualifying the Couva “Sharks” to next season’s Caribbean Club Championship in only its second season of existence, have also won this season’s First Citizens Cup and Lucozade Sport Goal Shield, and finished runner’s up in the last two FA Trophy competitions.

“Being the true gentleman that he is, when Visé approached Terry in January, he explained that he wanted to see out his contract with Central before leaving for Europe,” said Central FC managing director Brent Sancho. “Just like our players, we don’t want to lose them, but when they have such great opportunities, we will not stand in their way.”

Central FC’s operations director, Englishman Kevin Harrison said, “Obviously, everyone at the club will be sad to see Terry leave. If we could have convinced him to stay, we would have, but this move isn’t about money. Terry likes challenges and he has proven himself time and time again as a top coach here in T&T. Now it’s time to replicate that success overseas.”

Visé, backed by new English and Belgian investors, are ambitious of returning to League Two and believes that Fenwick, a former England, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham player, is the right man for the job.

Fenwick said that although Visé finished rock bottom last season in the Second Division [and are likely to be demoted to the Third Division for 2014-2015 season], the club boasts a very good youth system.

He also plans to foster relationships in Europe, not only with Visé, to create opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago players.

“What I want to do, not just for Central, is provide opportunities for players because there are a lot of talent in Trinidad and Tobago,” said the former England international. “Belgium is one of the easiest places to obtain work permits and be on the European market.”

Fenwick, who had rollercoaster spells at English sides Portsmouth and Northamton Town during his early periods as a manager, will lead the Trinidadian club Central FC into the semi-final round of the 2014 Digicel Pro Bowl on Friday night against bitter Couva rivals W Connection from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium. Police FC and Defence Force will contest semi-final one from 6 pm at the Couva venue.

If Central were to advance to the Final on May 23, which he is confident of, Fenwick said he would jet off to Belgium on Monday and return by Wednesday ahead of the title match.

“I’d be leaving Central with a great squad, the best team in Trinidad,” continued Fenwick. “So I’ve left Central in good shape.”

But despite his managerial successes in Trinidad, Fenwick has never had a shot with the Trinidad and Tobago national team, a long desired position of his.

“The (T&T) national set up is a joke,” he said. “I should have been there five, six years ago. I have demonstrated my quality as a coach. I actually had teams play quicker here in Trinidad. Better team preparations and better prepare players to go abroad.

“Some of my players Robert Primus (FC Aktobe / Kazakhstan), (Sheldon) Bateau (KV Mechelen / Belgium) and Khaleem Hyland (Genk / Belgium) all came up through good development and a well disciplined environment to prepare them for the international stage.

“That’s my real achievement; to players develop and move on to bigger and better opportunities. It's not just about winning league titles or Cups for me,” the Englishman ended.