Terry Fenwick has been chosen as the new coach of Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s football team.
Fenwick has over 25 years managerial experience, almost half of which has been accumulated in T&T between his first stint with San Juan Jabloteh in 2005 and his final local head-coaching job in 2014 with Central FC. He most recently was considered for the Soca Warriors job in 2017 as a replacement for former coach Stephen Hart. Dennis Lawrence, who Fenwick now replaces, was chosen instead and lasted roughly two years in charge of the senior team.
Upon announcing Fenwick’s appointment yesterday, the TTFA said his first major task will be to guide T&T through the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 playoff against either Barbados or Guyana in June of next year.
TTFA Technical Committee chairman Keith Look Loy told Guardian Media Sports, “It may be a gamble in principle because no coach is going to be guaranteed success. You have to work hard to achieve it but we think that we have found the right person in the circumstance to lead the team forward and to help turn the ship around.”
Fenwick emerged as the best option out of four candidates for the job and has been given a two-year contract, effective from January 1, 2020, which could be extended to four years should he take T&T to the 2021 Gold Cup and reach as far as the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.
The 60-year-old former England defender, who played for the Three Lions 20 times including at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, is reportedly set to earn a base salary of US$17,500 per month, exclusive of a number of performance-related bonuses. Should he earn T&T qualification to the 2021 Gold Cup, his base salary could increase to US$20,000, Guardian Media was reliably told.
With the TTFA currently mired in debt, Look Loy cleared up any confusion about how Fenwick’s demands would be met over the course of his contract.
“We have signed and agreed commitments for money starting in January. We also have monies that every national association is entitled to in calendar year 2020. That amounts to about $8 million by my calculation,” Look Loy said.
“What we have to do—we have debt—but we also have to manage the debt and manage the income properly, because we will have income.
“If the national team does well, the feel-good factor steps in and people want to associate with it, including corporate people and sponsors. A winning team is going to bring sponsors. A losing team is going to chase sponsors.”
It is believed that Fenwick’s permanent residency in T&T and immediate availability set him apart from some highly interested individuals, which included Fenwick’s fellow former England international, 62-year old Peter Taylor, 42-year old Scottish manager Simon Mcmenemy and Stephen Constantine, a 57-year-old Englishman who previously managed countries such as India, Nepal, Malawi, Sudan and Rwanda at senior international level.
Taylor was reportedly the other leading candidate and carries the most impressive CV of all the candidates. Apart from a 20-year playing career which included stints at reputable London clubs Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, Taylor has managed the England Under 21s twice (1996-99 and 2004-2007). He has also served as England caretaker manager in 2000, albeit for one match, a 1-0 defeat to Italy and has also taken charge of 21 teams in a managerial career that dates back to 1986. He is the current manager of Dagenham & Redbridge in the National League, the fifth tier of the English Football League system. Had he been successfully chosen, Taylor had requested to be allowed to pick up the mantle in June 2020, a request which Look Loy and his committee could not accede to.
“He was very interested but is contracted to a team until June. We compete for a place in the Gold Cup in June, we cannot wait on you,” Look Loy surmised.
It is understood that Fenwick’s support staff will also be deployed with other T&T youth teams as a cost-cutting measure by the TTFA.