Often Partisan

Where Are They Now – Part XXVI

When people think of Canadians playing for Birmingham City thoughts normally turn to Mr Karren Brady, Paul Peschisolido or maybe Lyndon Hooper. However, Blues had another Canadian player at the club around the same time as Pesch, and he’s the subject of today’s article. I am of course talking about Paul Fenwick.

Paul Fenwick

Signed by Terry Cooper from the might that is Winnipeg Fury, Fenwick came to the club in 1992 in the latter days of the Kumars’ reign. A defender who could play anywhere across the backline, Fenwick made 19 appearances for Blues in the league before he was moved on by Barry Fry at the end of the 93/94 season as Blues once again dropped into the 2nd Division (League One). I would be lying if I said I could tell you much about him at Blues from memory; I wasn’t yet a regular attendee at St Andrews then and looking back through the history books the team of that era is mostly forgettable – which is understandable bearing in mind how close Blues went to liquidation in ’93.

Fenwick was unusual however in that he didn’t take the normal route of coming into English football and trying to make it as a teenager; he was 23 when he came to Blues and only looked to come to Europe to play professional football having finished his university education in his native Canada.

The Canadian defender moved then up to Scotland, where he spent a season with Dunfermline (making just three appearances) before a three season spell with St Mirren where he became a mainstay of the first team. The Buddies were then in the Scottish First Division, and at that grade Paul found his level. Fenwick made eighty-one appearances at Love Street becoming a firm favourite of the fans for having a happy knack of scoring goals (he got 10 in the league) before he moved on to Greenock Morton.

Morton are the arch-rivals of St Mirren and it was seen as a bit of a strange move; admittedly, at the time Morton looked more likely to go up from the Scottish First due to an influx of investment but it never panned out like that. St Mirren were the ones to get promotion, in the 99-00 season whilst Morton fell out of the division into administration the season after when the finances collapsed. Fenwick made forty-five appearances in Morton colours but he was present at Love Street on that fateful day in May 2000 when St Mirren finally got promoted back to the big time. Unfortunately for Paul, he was playing for the opposition side Raith Rovers on loan that day and he got to watch his former teammates celebrate promotion whilst trudging off after a 1-0 defeat. Fenwick only made one other appearance for Raith having joined on loan from Morton towards the end of the 99-00 season.

After his release from Morton, Fenwick moved down the M8 to Edinburgh to sign for Hibs. Paul spent four seasons at Hibs, making a solid eighty-four league appearances in the Scottish top flight and looking like an assured member of the Easter Road side’s defence. In 2004, at the age of 35 the Canadian retired from football having lost his place in the Hibs line-up and moved back to Canada.

Paul is now a physiotherapist at a hospital in his hometown of St Catharines and also works with the Canadian national team – a team he played for thirty-four times in his career. He lives in St Catharines with his wife and four kids.


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