29 Nov 2008
- Written by Chris Roberts (Glasgow Daily Record)
- Hits: 1123
Latapy is still going strong with Falkirk at the age of 40 and his 10 years in the country's top flight will be celebrated by his team-mates and fans when one of his former clubs, Hibs, visit Westfield today.
The Falkirk favourite got his hands on more silverware in six years in Portugal than he has done in his adopted homeland, winning the title twice, the Portuguese Cup and the Super Cup.
He also became the first Trinidad and Tobago player to play in the Champions League before Yorke had even seen Europe.
Since his move to Scotland Latapy has won just two First Division championships with Hibs and Falkirk but Yorke thinks he would have run out of space in his trophy cabinet had he headed elsewhere in Britain.
The Sunderland striker said: "Russell is a top, top man. I played in the same youth clubs as him in Trinidad.
"We pretty much came through at the same time and obviously we played together in the 2006 World Cup, a special time for both of us.
Russell was already in Portugal when I came to England but he joined Hibs roughly a year after I joined Aston Villa, so we were never too far away to visit.
"But he was one of the best footballers I've played alongside and, with respect to the clubs he played for, should have gone on to bigger and better things.
"I don't think he has any regrets about that but it's fair to say he could have had more medals than me had things been different."
While Latapy headed to Easter Road, Yorke was on his way to a prestigious career in the Premiership with Aston Villa, Blackburn, Birmingham, Sunderland and, of course, United where he enjoyed his finest hour - lifting the European Cup at the Nou Camp.
At the same time Latapy was dazzling defences north of the border and staying committed to those who had given him a career in Scotland.
In fact, when Yorke himself needed a shoulder to cry on and somewhere to go during troubling times, and there have been plenty of them, his first port of call was his pal in Scotland.
Today has been named Russell Latapy Day in Falkirk and even though the former darling of Old Trafford won't make it up the road in time, he thinks nobody deserves the adulation more than Latapy.
Yorke said: "He's a genuine family guy and has been loyal to the people who have been loyal to him.
"He has shown his appreciation to the people of Scotland, to Falkirk and the other clubs he played for and they are now showing their appreciation, which is fantastic.
"I'm delighted for Russell. We go back a long, long way.
"He's a personal friend whom I have turned to for guidance lots of times and he always offered good advice."
The duo's nights out are almost on a par with Yorke's feats on the field and the latter revealed he'll be heading north right after their game against Bolton to celebrate with his pal.
Latapy was shown the door by Hibs soon after a night out while the pair announced their retirement from the international stage in 2001 after yet another outing.
Yorke fell out with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson shortly after winning the title, FA Cup and Champions League with many suggesting he hadn't stopped celebrating his Treble success.
Yorke said: "I've often been to see him up in Scotland over the years and I'm planning to travel up after our match with Bolton to celebrate what is a very important time for Russell.
"A Russell Latapy Day is really cool. It's a massive celebration and I think it's going on all weekend.
"He is my best friend of 20-odd years so I'd love to be a part of that and celebrate an impressive milestone with him."