Ex-national striker and current player/coach of three-time TT Pro League champions Central FC, Stern John, came in for heavy criticism yesterday for alleged comments he made towards a number of North East Stars players during Friday’s Pro League encounter at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
It is alleged harsh words were exchanged between the 40-year-old John, who featured for the entire match, and the Stars players, during the one-sided contest which ended 6-0 in favour of North East Stars. Central FC, who completed a historic three-peat of league titles last season, are currently languishing in the standings and looking unlikely to make it four in a row.
Ironically, John is also an assistant coach with the Trinidad and Tobago team, while national coach Dennis Lawrence looked on in the stands.
According to a Stars player, who requested anonymity, John should permanently hang up his boots instead of trading barbs on the field with this country’s professional footballers.
“I thought it was very distasteful. There is always banter within football. Banter amongst the players is one thing but when you have the position as the assistant coach of the national team, and a head coach (of a club team), it would come across a lot different.
“I was a member of Central FC previously. I don’t know him personally but I think that the remarks were uncalled for, coming from a person of his stature. It was definitely uncalled for, banter or not.”
About the all-time TT record goal-scorer (70 goals from 115 internationals), the player stated, “You are past your career. Your playing days are over.
“Nobody said you (were) not a good player. You were a good player. But now is time for the younger players because it’s their generation, their time to shine to make something of themselves, so they can now move (forward).”
North East Stars coach Derek King, when contacted yesterday, pointed out, “As a coach, I would never disrespect (any) coach in the League or disrespect any player. At the end of the day we (need), as coaches and club owners, to build Trinidad and Tobago football.
“It’s not about us. It’s about building Trinidad and Tobago football to take it to the next level. We’re here to support, we’re the feeder for the national set-up. We should be as one, all the coaches,” ended King, the former TT defender and assistant coach.