NATIONAL STRIKER and captain of the 2004 T&T Pro League champs North East Stars, Jerren Nixon, has made a clarion call for sponsors to assist in the financial running of the club.
Besides a lack of a full-time sponsor, North East were also forced to do without Guyanese striker Randolph Jerome, who signed for Starworld Strikers uring the off-season. Whatever you do, football must play, is how Nixon sees it. If a player chooses to leave (the club), nobody cant force him. It was good that the rest of players who stayed showed that we could win it and that was good. The North East story has been a true rags-to-riches tale. After making their debut in 2002, the team looked so disorganised and incompetent that one wondered whether they deserved to be playing at the highest level of local football. When owner Darryl Mahabir hired Guyanese James McLean as head coach a year later, Jerome, Nixon and fellow countrymen Charles Pollard, Abassi McPherson, Carey Harris, Kayode McKinnon and St Vincents Kendall Velox all joined the fledging unit.
With veteran goalkeeper Trevor Nottingham lending his experience, North East surprised many by defeating W Connection for the 2003 Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) FA Cup. After coming last the first year (to) the FA the second year to the third (year) the championship, it shows that this team has the capacity to go forward and every year were going a step further. Next year, we just have to try to win the championship again, Nixon said. The former Scotland and Switzerland-based attacker admitted that the 2004 title is one of the main moments of his career. Ive never won (a league) title in Trinidad because Ive never played that long (in TT). Its good to win something.
Last year was the FA, this year was the league so this club is just growing from strength to strength. While he attributes hard work, dedication and team effort as the reasons for the teams achievements this year, Mahabir added that the commitment from the technical staff and players were also integral in the clubs performances. Referring to the trophy, the affable Mahabir said: This is just to rest our two hands. (On) Sunday we want to lift it up. Yes, were on top right now and we just want to keep it right there. And, in his quiet style, McLean expressed gratitude to the crowd, the Sangre Grande people, the families and the management for their role in guiding the team from rock-bottom in 2002 to the top in 2004.