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For a country with a population of just over 1.3million and some 4,360 miles away from British shores, the Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago have provided more than their fair share of footballing talent to the English game.

A look back at English football, particularly in the mid to late 1990s and early to mid 2000s and there are plenty of names that stick out when you think of the Soca Warriors, a nation who made their World Cup bow in 2006 at the end of the playing cycle of some of their greatest exports.

Dwight Yorke at Aston Villa and Manchester United, Shaka Hislop at Newcastle United, Stern John at Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City, Russell Latapy at Hibernian, Kenwyne Jones at Stoke City, Carlos Edwards at Sunderland, Dennis Lawrence at Swansea City and Wrexham. There was a time not so long ago when a Soca Warriors side would be filled with those plying their trade in the English game.

In the last Trinidad & Tobago international squad, against Venezuela, there were no players plying their trade in English football, that well worn route for players from the neighbouring islands to English football hasn't been walked for some time now.

For all the memorable names to have played in this country from Trinidad & Tobago there is one, revered as a legend on home soil, who many English fans, except those of Chester FC , may not be aware of.

With 117 caps to his name Angus Eve has donned the red and black of his country more than any other player. A tally of 34 goals from those appearances for a man who described himself as 'your typical number 10' is a pretty good haul.

He played in World Cup qualification campaigns, played in CONCACAF Gold Cups and Caribbean Cups and travelled the globe with the Soca Warriors. Mention his name to those from Port of Spain to San Fernando, Princes Town to Sangre Grande and they will know just who Angus Eve is and recognise just what contribution he made to the game in his home nation.

But while the 47-year-old remains one of his nation's most decorated footballers, Eve's professional playing career in England, and indeed outside Trinidad & Tobago, amounted to 14 games and four goals for a side who were rock bottom of the English Football League back in the 1999/2000 season.

Eve played his club football in his home nation for some of the most successful sides, teams like Joe Public, Defence Force and San Juan Jaboloteh that may not be recognisable names for even the most bookish of English football fans but to fans in their native country they are powerhouses.

By 1999 there was already a steady stream of T&T players in the English game, from the Premier League to Division Three.

In the lower reaches the likes of Crewe Alexandra stopper Clayton Ince and the Wrexham trio of Edwards, Lawrence and Hector Sam were already forming a little community in the North West and North Wales.

Two more would soon be added to that group.

As a Chester fan who followed that miserable relegation season that saw the Blues exit the Football League for the first time in 69 years, I'd always been intrigued by the players that donned the blue and white that season, from Goran Milosavljevic to Siggi Eyjolfsson.

American owner Terry Smith was initially portrayed as the saviour of Chester City back in July 1999. He was, of sorts.

A club that was on the brink of going bust, Smith, backed by his wealthy father Gerald, decided to make the switch from American Football to 'soccer' and take on the ailing Blues.

All seemed well at the start before the madness began and the circus was in full swing, Smith installing himself as manager after the club parted ways with Kevin Ratcliffe in the opening weeks. It was, as expected, to end in complete disaster, but that's another story.

I'd always been fascinated by Eve and his journey. Why Chester? Why didn't we see more of you?

I find an old article on a Trinidadian website that interviews Eve, who was proving elusive with no Facebook or Twitter to contact and no former players able to furnish me with a number. I email the reporter and he sends me Eve's email address and I give it a shot. Bingo!

It takes a very short period of time to set up a chat thanks to the wonders of WhatsApp and Eve couldn't be more giving with his time. A bubbly personality shines through, as does a passion for the game and for coaching, particularly the development of young players, something he is currently involved in back home as head coach of Naparima College in what is a thriving Colleges League in T&T.

So, 20 years on, why Chester?

"I was on trial at Kansas City Wizards in the MLS and trying to win a deal there," recalls Eve, who despite his short spell at Chester remains the club's most capped international of all time, 35 amassed while the Blues held his registration.

"There was the American guy, Terry, there and he was after an attacking player, like a number 10, and he wanted to bring internationals to the club as he had big plans. I already knew plenty of the guys in England like Shaka, Dwight and Russell Latapy, so I was keen to listen to what they had to say.

"I had a trial, they had a look at me and I was offered a three-year deal. It all happened pretty quickly.

"I was playing in the national team with Dwight and he was at Manchester United, but I was told by Shaka that you have to earn your right in England and the best way to start and to shine was to play in the lower levels and show what you can do.

"That was what I was thinking. I was looking for a stepping stone in the English game and I kind of thought it would work out like it did for the other guys. It wasn't to be, though.

"I came over with another guy who was Trinidadian, Kamu Laird. We stayed together in a flat and it was great. It was cold all the time but Chester as a city and it's people, it was beautiful and everyone went out their way to make sure we felt at home."

Eve, who had arrived on trial initially with another T&T international, the late goalkeeper Michael McComie, was coming into a Chester side still rocked by the resignation of Ratcliffe, with Smith now in charge of first team affairs despite his limited knowledge of the game.

International clearance had to be sought, not an issue due to the amount of caps Eve had gained for his nation, and he made his Chester debut in December, a 2-1 home win over Halifax Town. Eve and Laird both made their debuts, both on the scoresheet. It was a dream start.

But it proved to be a false dawn as Chester lost the next six, Eve scoring in a 4-1 loss at Carlisle United but missing two games through international duty, something that would be a regular occurrence during his time at the Deva Stadium.

Things would change for Eve very quickly at Chester following Smith's eventual decision to relinquish control of on-field matters to Ian Atkins, who held the title of director of football at the Deva.

A raft of changes came about under Atkins as he sought to move on some of the players who simply weren't up to the job, bringing in his own recruits. Eve would be kept on at the Deva but was faced with the dilemma of having to miss matches to play for Trinidad & Tobago in order to maintain his status to play in the country. It meant that Atkins, who was working miracles on the pitch, moved him down the pecking order and Eve only started four times under the new City boss, netting twice in a 5-0 win over Mansfield Town.

In an interview with Cheshire Live in 2016 Atkins spoke on the final day, a dark day for Chester as they lost their Football League status after a 1-0 home loss to Peterborough United, a game where a point would have sufficed. The then Chester boss stated that the club tried to reach Eve in an airport in a bid to find out his whereabouts. Eve was on World Cup qualification duty, T&T facing Haiti.

Atkins said: "First off we lost Angus Eve. I was told a couple of days before the match that he was off playing somewhere with Trinidad & Tobago. I couldn't believe it. "Here we were preparing for probably the biggest game in the club's history and we were without one of our better strikers because he was on international duty.

"We were frantically ringing round trying to get hold of him. We did eventually get in touch with one of his team-mates who was waiting for a plane at the airport with him. Angus wouldn't speak to us, though, and that was the last we heard from him."

Eve disputed Atkins' take on events, though, and claimed that all he ever wanted to do was to make a success of his time at Chester.

"I'm not the type of person who throws people under the bus and I certainly always showed Chester respect," said Eve, who revealed that Crewe Alexandra had made a bid to land him during his time with the Blues.

"I had to play for my country to keep up my status but I never felt I was given a fair chance when I was available. I'd be playing alongside Dwight Yorke one day and on the bench and not playing for Chester when I returned.

"We were in a relegation battle and the manager didn't really feel the need for players like me, I don't think I fitted into the style of play that he felt he needed at the time.

"But I'm glad Chester happened, though. I don't carry regrets around with me and God always has a plan. I was very lucky to play in England, how many people can say that they have done that? I loved Chester and I really wanted it to work out for the long run but it wasn't to be."

Eve spent time on loan back at Joe Public before leaving Chester in 2000, but he did try and have another crack at the English game, taken on trial at Alan Pardew's Reading but unable to earn a deal.

But Eve returned to Trinidad with a renewed focus with San Juan Jabloteh, the forward, who was still skippering the national side up until just before his retirement in 2005, targeting a place in the Soca Warriors squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

A World Cup appearance was a dream of Eve's, a player who started his journey with the national side in 1991, helping them reach their first ever FIFA Youth World Cup alongside Yorke that year in Portugal.

All those caps would count for nothing when it came to naming the squad for the 2006 World Cup though and Eve, who had been part of the squad for qualification, would not be on the plane to Germany, then T&T coach Leo Beenhakker, one time Real Madrid boss, choosing a more conservative approach. It was a crushing blow.

"It absolutely killed me and I was fuming with rage," said Eve, who had began the road to Germany as skipper of the T&T side under then coach Bertille St Clair.

"I was absolutely gutted. I'm pretty philosophical about it all now as I'm older and wiser, but back then I just couldn't get over it. I'd worked so hard but I decided to retire when it became apparent that the coach wasn't thinking about creative players, he was thinking about his next job and went with mostly defensive players for the World Cup.

"When I knew that I wasn't going to be in with a chance to make that squad no matter what I did then I knew it was time to call it a day."

Eve moved into coaching and even had a stint as assistant at Jabloteh under former England international Terry Fenwick before becoming part of the coaching staff for the Soca Warriors' under-23 side, initially as assistant before taking on the head coach role and leading them through the Olympic qualifiers and CONCACAF qualifiers before leaving to take up a head coach position at North East Stars in Trinidad, later moving into colleges football with Naparima, where he has delivered several championships.

"Maybe I'm too outspoken," said Eve when reflecting on his U23s stint.

"I have always spoken my mind and some people don't like that, but if I feel that something needs to be said then I will say it.

"I'm loving coaching the young players where I am now, I think that is very much where I see myself in the future, in developing young talent.

"I'd love a chance to coach abroad in the future, though, maybe U23s, and I'd love to go back to England. I'll be doing my A Licence soon I hope and I'm on a path that I'm really enjoying.

"Football has given me some great memories.

"Playing in that Trinidad youth team that reach the World Cup in 1991, playing up front with Dwight and Jerren Nixon (ex-FC Zurich and Dundee United), things like that I will always cherish.

"I remember when Dwight was a youngster at Aston Villa in the early 90s, I was over there and getting some treatment at Villa for an injury I had, a bit of rehab. To be in and around some of those players and have a bit of a scrimmage with them was amazing. David Platt, Paul McGrath, Tony Daley - heroes.

"It was around the time that David Platt was about to go to Bari and the English media were everywhere and all wanted a piece of him about the story. We kept on having to sneak him out in our car so nobody saw. Things like that all form part of what has been a memorable journey for me.

"Chester is part of that journey just like all the places I've seen and games I played for Trinidad & Tobago. I'm proud of the playing career I had and just wish I would have been able to show Chester fans a bit more.

"But I'm on an exciting new journey and, who knows, maybe I'll find my way back to English football again."


SOURCE: cheshire-live.co.uk