Trinidad and Tobago striker Stern John says that news that he was released by DirecTV North East Stars came to him as a shock particularly since he requested to leave the T&T Pro League club a couple weeks ago.
John initially signed a three-month contract earlier this year after making a decision to remain in Trinidad in order to be closer with his mother who had been ailing from cancer and subsequently passed away. He also opted to move to the Sangre-Grande club on the request by Otto Pfister that he join a club.
"It was a surprise to me when I saw that the club said to the Press that they released me," John said.
"I never really had a contract with them to begin with and I was disappointed with the way they handled it. The whole reason behind me coming back was because my mom was sick at the time and then the Trinidad and Tobago manager told me that I should be with a club and I decided to go to North East and play there while I was in Trinidad. We just had a verbal agreement and it entailed me being able to leave when I wanted.
"My mom has since passed away and obviously we didn't progress in the World Cup qualification. I decided that I wanted to part ways with North East Stars and then I woke up and heard what the club owner had to say.
"I decided to leave maybe a week-and-a-half ago and I informed the club CEO Brent Sancho that it was time for me to move on and I wished them all the best. I also went to the club with the intentions that I could try and help the younger players or bring something to the club from my past experience," John added. "I just think the way they handled it was in poor taste."
John spoke of his time at North East Stars, saying, "Life as a professional footballer there was a joke. The setup was never really organised as a professional club should be. We had situations where players were coming to training when they want and even coming to games when they wanted and reaching half hour late to matches. I'd never seen that before in my professional career. The club owner is passionate and means well but he's too much involved. He needs to let the players play their football and let the staff he hired get the job done.
"He wants to be the owner, manager, driver and even waterboy. The club wants to cut the players' salary when they feel like and send them home for two weeks when they feel the need to. It's something that the Professional League needs to look into in terms of how clubs handle the players and how they run as an organisation because this kind of thing can have a negative effect on the development of our players."
T&T's all-time leading goalscorer will jet off to the United States to hold talks with a couple clubs in the MLS and the USL First Division which have expressed interest in his services for the new season in 2012.