FORMER defender Terry Fenwick spent 17 years of his 20-year playing career in London.
Today, the 59-year old lives nearly 4,500 miles away in Trinidad in the warmer climes of the Caribbean and is Technical Director of the Football Factory Foundation as well as a TV analyst.
Since he was first recommended by Sir Bobby Robson to travel to the Caribbean at the start of the century, he has established himself as one of the most successful coaches in Trinidad and Tobago’s professional era having won regional and domestic titles with Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh.
Last week he was part of the Launch of the Commissioner’s Cup Football Tournament - along with former Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones - linking the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service with the Football Association in an initiative aimed at fighting crime.
Fenwick admitted: “It’s a world away from when I left home 15 and a half and left my north-east home to move to Crystal Palace.
“But the one thing that’s remained consistent is I feel as passionate about football now as I did 44 years ago when I was on the train to Sehurst Park - via Durham to King’s Cross - as a teenager.”
“The other huge plus for me being in Trinidad is the fact I have suffered from asthma throughout my life and the environment and air here compared with Britain makes it so much easier for me.”
'TEAM OF THE EIGHTIES'
Fenwick - who won 20 England caps and played in the infamous ‘Hand of God’ game when Diego Maradona and Argentina KO’d Three Lions in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final - says he would never have made it so far in his playing career without the help of three brilliant coaches.
“Malcolm Allison was the first guy who spotted me and said I had a talent. Forget the flash hat and the cigar, Malcolm was a brilliant football man.
“He then put me under the wing of John Cartwright who I will always be grateful to.
“Palace were down in the third tier at the time, but John coached myself along with youngsters like Vince Hilaire, Kenny Sansom and Billy Gilbert along with so many others.
“Then Malcolm left and his assistant Terry Venables stepped up and we soon became labelled ‘The Team of the Eighties’.
“Unfortunately, a few of the boys moved on - Kenny to Arsenal - then Terry left for QPR and I soon joined him at Loftus Road.
“Without doubt, my seven years with Rangers (1980-87) were my most enjoyable and I genuinely thought I’d retire at Loftus Road and never leave.
“We reached the FA Cup final in 1982 and at one stage were leading Liverpool at the top of the table in old old Division One - when they were picking up league titles like confetti.
“But when Terry left for Barcelona, new managers came in and it was a completely different atmosphere.
“I had my most difficult decision when QPR told me George Graham wanted to talk to me at Arsenal in 1987. George was an old friend from my Palace days.
“I met George and during our conversation I had a call - on one of the original old brick mobiles back in the day - and it was Terry Venables on his way to Tottenham from Barca who wanted me at White Hart Lane.
“In the end I joined Tottenham, but it was one of my big regrets - but it had nothing to do with the fans at Spurs who were brilliant.
“It’s just the turmoil behind the scenes with Terry and Alan Sugar made it very difficult. I was aware people talked about me being a ‘Venables boy’ so if Terry wasn’t going to be there I would be in trouble. It was very unsettling.”
He spent six years at White Hart Lane, had a loan spell at Leicester, before ending his career at Swindon in 1995.
“I didn’t enjoy it at Swindon. The whole structure wasn’t right for me.”
Having passed all his coaching badges at Lilleshall before the end of his career, it was no surprise when Fenwick was appointed in his first managerial role at Portsmouth in 1995.
“I had three great years at Pompey and the supporters were incredible. The mistake I made is did too many things towards the end to make sure the board were happy rather than do what I thought was right.
“I remember signing Lee Bradbury from the army for £500 and sold him for £3m to Man City three years later.”
Fenwick’s sons, George and Nicholas, both have hugely successful careers in the banking and money world - George currently in Hong Kong and Nicholas, who has just been headhunted back from Dubai.
He added: “I am very grateful to Skype so I can keep in touch with the boys. I am so proud of them. We are planning a get together later in the year for my 60th, so it will be lovely to have us all together.”
SOURCE: The Sun