There are worse things than being the coach, as we must these days call managers, of a team in the third tier of Belgium football.
Perhaps not many worse things, but being the coach/manager who took Cercle Sportif Visé, better but not very much better known as CS Visé, down from the second division in May would have been one of them.
Seaham-born Terry Fenwick, who played for QPR and Spurs at the height of a career that brought him 20 England caps, was not that man but has been appointed by the English and Belgium consortium that has taken over the club with the target of immediate promotion.
Since the city of Vise is in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia, and 12 miles from where Johnny Crossan [see https://safc.blog/2011/10/the-johnny-crossan-story-1-manchester-city-0-safc-1/] formerly played for the rather better known Standard Liège, we can allow ourselves a quick peut mieux faire (could do better) since two wins and two defeats from the opening four games suggests a tricky slog back to the second division.
Where do we come into all of this, apart from Fenwick’s birthplace? Well, our youngish friend Owen Amos, son of a great old friend Mike (arguably the best journalist in the North East), has interviewed him for the British Coaches Abroad Association’s website.
And this is our bit:
Q: (adopting The Observer’s format, turning a question into a first person statement)
‘I’d always wanted to sign for Sunderland.’
One day, their scout turned up at our front door. Problem was, he was drunk. Drunk! So my father chased him down the street. By contrast, Malcolm Allison, the manager of Palace, jumped on a flight to Teesside Airport, and watched me play on a cold and wet Wednesday night in November. He was in his fedora, sheepskin coat, stood on the side of the pitch with his chairman, Ray Bloye. He turned a harmless schoolboy match into the FA Cup final. So my father insisted I sign for Palace.
And so we never saw him play for us. This, from Wikipedia, is the career path he followed instead:
Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
1976–1980 Crystal Palace 70 (0)
1980–1987 Queens Park Rangers 256 (33)
1987–1993 Tottenham Hotspur 93 (8)
1990–1991 ? Leicester City (loan) 8 (1)
1993–1995 Swindon Town 28 (0)
Total 455 (42)
1980–1982 England U21 11 (0)
1984–1988 England 20 (0)
2003 Northampton Town
2005–2009 San Juan Jabloteh
2009–2011 San Juan Jabloteh
2013–2014 Central FC
2014– C.S. Visé
As for the job description of being obliged to win promotion at the first attempt, he has this to say: “We’re professional, we train every day, and many of the clubs in the league are part-time. The people running the club have allowed me to bring in several talented young players, despite the healthy development programme at CS Visé. I’ve brought four players from Trinidad, and if it goes well, I might be back for one or two stunning young players in the January window.”
But go to the site and see Owen’s interview in full. It’s a good read.
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