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Aurtis WhitleyThere is currently a massive shake up in the southern part of Trinidad as Pro League club United Petrotrin makes some pessimistic adjustments according to one source. According to the source close to the club, United Petrotrin is losing sight of club policies and accuses board member Arnold Corneal, Corporate Communications Manager at Petrotrin of a personal takeover.

“Already he (Corneal) has squashed the youth systems at the club,” said another source at the club. “This is something that is clearly against club policies which is stated even on our ( club’s Web site.”

In 2008 the United Petrotirn website named a new Management Committee for the 2009-2011 period comprising Chairman Arnold Corneal, Secretary Larry Lalchan, Ulric Mc Nicol; Roseanna Hospedales, Keith London, Dennis Turton, Dr Victor Coombs and Steve David. The Web site further stated that these officials are responsible for the effective administration of the United Petrotrin Team to enable it to achieve its strategic objectives.

These objectives include: developing players, enhancing communities, lifting the standings of community football and of course, winning matches. “We don’t like what’s going on and it seems like there is a takeover bid by Corneal and the people of these communities are not pleased,” he added. The source further explained that SKY Football Academy, based in north Trinidad and owned and managed by Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene, will represent United Petrotrin at youth levels under the directive of Corneal who is also a close friend to Skeene.

“We, the people of these southern communities relied on the United Petritron football club youth academy as a way out for our youths. Parents are now crying out because of the loss of this opportunity. It is clearly unfair to the people of south Trinidad.” The source believes that opportunities should have been awarded to youth academies in the southern districts naming academies in areas such as La Brea, Sipiria, Point Fortin, Palo Seco and Fyzabad—all fence line communities of United Petrotrin.

Petrotrin’s U-14 and U-18 divisions had great success last season finishing winners and runners up respectively, however success wasn’t the same at Senior level finishing without a title and sixth in the League after an impressive start with seven wins in a row. Last season saw long-time coach Brian Williams being sacked in September after unimpressive results and replaced by Carapichaima Senior Comprehensive coach Leon Carpette as caretaker. Williams left the Oilmen in fifth position, but they fell one spot into sixth by the end of the season finishing with just 39 points.

Some pundits blamed the poor management at the club for disappointing results sighting the loss of striker Jerrol Forbes to League winners Clico San Juan Jabloteh in September as a major fault. Forbes was contracted for just six months in 2008 leaving Jabloteh with the option of signing the ace without hesitation.
The Oilmen are currently seeking an unnamed Brazilian for the head coach role and he is expected to arrive in Trinidad later this week to finalise talks.

“It’s interesting to see what unfolds,” said a former technical member of United Petrotrin, who spoke to the T&T Guardian.

“As far as we are informed they are looking at coaches outside of Petrotrin and as far as overseas. I think that there are people right here inside Petrotrin that are more than capable of filling all coaching positions.” The member continued: “They talk about tightening belts, yet they are overlooking what they have available to them. I think the board at United Petrotrin Football Club should really rethink what they are doing and look inside the company.

We have former national footballers and people who can be good administrators to fill the roles that are vacant at United Petrotrin,” said the disgusted former member of United Petrotrin Football Club. Meantime Corneal has been on the pitch according to the source overseeing (assistant coach) Philbert Jones as the club indulges in pre-season preparations. The Guardian was informed that discarded T&T internationals Aurtis Whitley, Cyd Gray, Stokely Mason, Nigel Pierre and Brent Sancho were all part of the United Petrotrin pre-season camp with Whitley, Gray and Mason already signed.

United Petrotrin played a practice match on Tuesday against the T&T U-17s, coached by Anton Corneal, brother of Arnold Corneal, in which they drew 2-2 at the Petrotrin Learning Centre, Point-a- Pierre. Defenders Makan Hislop and Lyndon Diaz of last season’s squad are still attached to the club as they prepare for the 2009 season which kicks off in April.