Clint Marcelle has been axed as coach of North East Stars after only four months in charge of the Sangre Grande-based club.
The decision to remove Marcelle — Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest capped player (aged 15), came on Wednesday, following the team’s 1-0 league win over Tobago United at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
During the game, Hackett, the former Trinidad and Tobago defender, was noticeable in the stands watching a team he had coached briefly in 2002 as well as the majority of the 2006 season.
Marcelle was hired by club owner Darryl Mahabir in May following the removal of the incumbent Ken Elie.
Elie was fired after North East lost four out of their first five league games — against United Petrotrin, Jabloteh, Tobago United and Ma Pau, while, under Marcelle, Stars — who won the 2003 national FA crown as well as the Pro League title the following year — were victorious in seven out of 13 league games.
But Mahabir, who normally gives instructions from the stands, is believed to have decided to give Marcelle the pink slip following the team’s elimination in the preliminary round of the First Citizens Cup on September 3. North East fell 3-0 to Defence Force in kicks-from-the-penalty mark after a 1-1 draw at full-time.
Marcelle must be credited for injecting renewed life and vigour in the Sangre Grande-based squad, especially in defence, as captain Anthony Wolfe justifiably earned a national recall while he got consistent performances from his captain and sweeper Kevin Jeffrey, Colombian Milton Espitia, his strike partner Sean Cooper, and under-rated utility player Marc Leslie.
During the recent transfer window — which ended last week — evergreen Guyanese striker Randolph Jerome rejoined the squad, while Colombian midfielder Carlos Gonzales and utility player Jason Cudjoe came in from Joe Public and W Connection respectively.
North East, which have been in existence since the late 1990s, joined the Pro League ranks in 2002 under coach Lloyd Solomon, while Hackett also had a spell as the team’s tactician.
Guyanese James McLean was brought on board a year later and guided the club to its two major crowns before the squad’s struggles in 2005 — due to injuries and player indiscipline, resulted in the appointment of former national striker Jerren Nixon on an interim basis in September of that year.
Hackett was reinstated as coach for the 2006 season, but a long-standing illness resulted in the appointment of legendary national midfielder and coach Everald “Gally” Cummings in September 2006.
Hackett quit for good a month later, while Cummings guided North East to the FA final that year — they lost 4-2 on penalties to the Elie-coached WASA outfit — before quitting at the end of the season due to personal commitments.
McLean returned once again for the 2007 season, but, after a lukewarm season and, once more, player indiscipline, Elie was given the mantle as coach and former TT captain and utility player Anthony Rougier as technical advisor.
Rougier’s time at the club did not last long, while Elie was shown the door in May, though he was adamant that his firing had much to do with differences in opinion with the club’s administration.