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1
Football / Why don't we ever learn?
« on: April 10, 2009, 02:18:44 PM »
Now that the quite predictable firing of Maturana has taken place, the reasonable question to ask is what is next.  It is now easy to see what happens when you impose people in the player/coach dynamic and the undermining of authority in any sphere of endeavor. Maturana and the players had to know that their next coach was on the bench/field? with them.  Contrast that with what Leo did when they wanted to impose Latapy on him.  There can only be one message heard and clearly that was not the case in this camp.  Can't be when the messenger has been so publicly undermined.

Then what of Latapy.  A player who was undisciplined at several stops in his career, who turned his back on the team as a player (which Maradona never did for all his demons) has been elevated to being the coach.  This literally while he was a member of the squad. Problematic for several reasons - no coaching experience, no distance between him and the players etc.  Are we serious?  We also hear that this is an interim appointment.  What does interim mean? One game, 2 games? Then what? If you want to appoint Latapy coach then appoint him coach.  Always bandaid solutions instead of strategic considerations.  We have set Latapy and ourselves up for failure

2
Football / Maturana's lack of vision.
« on: September 26, 2008, 12:31:58 AM »
Maturana's lack of vision.
Fazeer Mohammed (Express).


Is this the swiftest comeback of all time? Buh wait, ent this is a bringback?

I really don't know, nah, I really don't know.

One minute, we're hearing that Stern John is no longer part of Francisco Maturana's plans and that he got word of his permanent (or so we thought) axing via a text message. Apparently, the player himself took the back-of-the-hand dismissal in that context and, with his international career seemingly at an end, local football writers and fans were free to pass final judgement.

Well boy, I wonder if the old Sternos, who is now back in the thick of things for the next two CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, has taken note of all the characterisations of him as a glorified loafer and a dressing room troublemaker and will use that as motivation to hurl in the face of the critics, as he did three years ago when two late goals against Guatemala at the Hasely Crawford Stadium resurrected a campaign that was almost dead and buried.

This time, though, the critical clash with the Guatemalans is away from home on October 11, so he will have to save his off-field vengeance for the showdown with the United States four days later.

But seriously, what are we to make of this complete about-turn by the Colombian head coach of our national team? Was there something lost in the translation and he didn't really mean that it was the end of the line for the veteran striker?

Otherwise, there are only two options: that the man is extremely erratic in his thinking or that he is easily swayed by influential persons in the team or administrative structure.

In either case, he clearly isn't fit to take Trinidad and Tobago's football forward, even if we do manage to scramble into next year's final phase of qualifying for South Africa 2010.

Again, I will happily defer to the experts, however, there appears to be no cohesive plan, no clearly defined strategy other than a policy of musical chairs, and whoever happens to find a seat when the music stops gets a game.

In keeping with the national pastime of completely missing the point, John's fans will interpret this column as saying that the Southampton player isn't good enough to be in the Trinidad and Tobago squad anymore, in the same manner that the PNM fanatics (both the well-dressed ones in Parliament and the rabble-rousers outside) saw the lawless Woodford Square show of force of two weeks ago as a vindication of their great leader.

For what it's worth, let me emphasise that it's not the people, but the process that I'm focussed on. You can't be going one way, then the other, then back to the point where you started from without questions being raised about your suitability for the job.

Only seismographs recording an earthquake or global financial markets in the last fortnight do that sort of thing.

No-one is clamouring for dead-boring predictability. Still, just because there is stability and consistency in a particular organisation it doesn't mean that innovative thinking and adaptability are stifled.

Like building in an earthquake zone, it's all about designing buildings on the same core concept of flexibility, while still allowing the freedom for individual architectural design.

Like playing the stock market, it is about having the discipline to recognise that there is a clearly defined lower limit to risk-taking, given that there are still so many profitable options in the safe zone.

So in the footballing context, it doesn't mean that so-and-so player must get a game no matter what, but that if there are changes, they are made in keeping with a particular vision that incorporates where you are now, where you would like to be by a certain time and the challenges that stand in the way of achieving that objective.

Okay, so we know that the immediate objective is to finish in the top two of Group A to advance to the final phase of qualifying. But the by-any-means-necessary way of doing things is like putting super in your premium engine just to save money.

When, after a while, the vehicle-or the team-isn't running as efficiently as it should, the quick-fix idea doesn't seem so bright, especially if there is considerable expense or inconvenience involved.

Amid the early-season preoccupation with the big-money sheikhs of Abu Dhabi who have bought Manchester City, and the expensive signings by Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool to boost their Premier League title aspirations, football writers in England are now falling over themselves in admiration of the next generation of talent emerging from Arsenal.

Last Tuesday, Arsene Wenger put out a team with an average age of 19 to face Sheffield United of the Championship Division in a League Cup tie at the Emirates Stadium. The result, 6-0 for the Gunners, wasn't so much a brutal mauling as a delightful exhibition of footballing artistry by youngsters groomed to enjoy the beautiful game in a specific structure.

Even if they don't challenge for the Premier League crown this year, there is already the belief that Wenger's vision is positioning Arsenal to enjoy a period of sustained dominance in the very near future.

Whether local or foreign, this is what we need: vision, structure, stability and consistency.

Francisco Maturana can't provide that. Indeed, no-one can if we continue to believe that the vaps of comebacks, bringbacks and begbacks is the way to go.

-fazeer2001@hotmail.com

3
Football / Where Else in the World
« on: September 24, 2008, 11:59:21 PM »
Cro Cro sang a kaiso called "where else in the world".  Where else in the world is there such a thing as an assistant coach/player on a national side?  Where else in the world a 40 year old man gets recalled to a national team?  Seriously, if this wasn't the national team this would be funny.  Reminescent of a third division savannah team.  However, this move is symtomatic of a couple things that keep us down not only in football but as a nation.

1.  The Inability to Give Youth a Chance/Love of Nostalgia.  The winner of the Tri/Gua game is likely going to move on to the hex.  Despite all being left to play for, we panic and go back to the golden oldies.  Sorry to break it to u fellas we are not going to make the WC every time. Best we sink or swim with the youths.  Roy Keane made me laugh when he said that this was Yorke's 5th or 6th international unretirement.  We tolerate this.  I can understand it from their perspective, this is the only competitive football they will be allowed to play.  As Boys to Men sang it is hard to say goodbye to yesterday.  That does not excuse us from our indulgence - football at the highest level is a young man's endeavour.
2.  Lack of decisive Action. Instead of removing a man, we set up parallel structures around him to circumvent his authority and you end up with the worst of all worlds. See the Police Commissioner and Sautt.  If u want latapy as coach, do it properly appoint him to the job and fire the incumbent.  Instead, you appoint him asst. coach/player for 2/3 games and if it work out you may extend it.  What!!!Utter insanity!  I can predict this, we will not make the WC with Maturana as coach.  No coach worth his salt would tolerate this.
3. Onemanism.  The bane of T&T.  this is further evidence ( as if any were needed) that Trini football is Jack's fiefdom to do with what he wants.  This clearly smacks of a deal struck between jack and latas to everyone else's inclusion.  Like when he used to allow Latas and Yorke to stay at separate hotels from the team (even typing that making me cringe).  Now onemanism sometimes leads to inspired decisions e.g Beeneker but oftentimes leads to utter capriciousness. Manning anyone.

4
What about Track & Field / Ato- Apologies. You have my respect!
« on: April 19, 2008, 06:43:37 PM »
Fast and furious


Exclusive

Duncan Mackay in Los Angeles
Sunday April 20, 2008
The Observer


They were once the best of friends and the closest of training partners, as well as the greatest of rivals, but now it appears that Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon have fallen out spectacularly over allegations that Greene used banned performance-enhancing drugs.
A scandal that started nearly five years ago when Britain's Dwain Chambers tested positive for drugs given to him by Victor Conte's Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (Balco) has now consumed Greene, statistically the greatest sprinter in history, and Boldon is furious, because he fears it has cast a shadow over his own achievements.


Article continues

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For nearly a decade Greene, the cocky gunslinger of a sprinter from Kansas City, and Boldon, the eloquent Trinidadian contemporary of Brian Lara and Dwight Yorke, were the best double act in athletics - on and off the track. They were coached in Los Angeles by John Smith, the former world-record holder for 440 yards, and they dominated the 100 metres. Their rivalry peaked at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when Greene won the gold, narrowly edging Boldon into the silver-medal position.
At the finish they embraced warmly, celebrating the fulfilment of a dream they had shared for several years through hard, gruelling training sessions in the broiling Californian sunshine, and shared a lap of honour. On the podium they hugged each other like brothers and at the press conference afterwards the affection between the two was clear for everyone to see as they joked their way through a laugh-a-minute, hour-long session with the world's media.

But, as yet unproven, claims by Angel Guillermo Heredia, the main witness in a case due to come to court next month involving Marion Jones' former coach, that Greene gave him up to $40,000 for advice and steroid creams, EPO, insulin and stimulants in 2003 and 2004, have certainly wiped the smile off Boldon's face.

A letter, widely believed to have been written by Boldon, the 1997 world 200m champion, has been sent to Smith accusing him, Greene and Emmanuel Hudson, his former agent, of betraying him by obtaining banned drugs behind his back, lying about Greene competing clean and leaving a stain on his own career. Together with Boldon the three were the linchpin of HSI International, the management group that was able to charge six-figure appearance fees for Greene and Boldon to run in televised meetings around the world.

Observer Sport has seen a copy of the letter, which offers a fascinating insight into the, until now, secret and mysterious methods of a training group that included some of the world's greatest sprinters. Greene was the star of the group, a winner of two Olympic gold medals and six world championship titles, who, in 1999, set a world record of 9.79sec for the 100m, one of 52 times he broke 10 seconds for the distance, another record.

The letter begins by addressing Smith as 'Benedict Arnold', an American military hero during the War of Independence whose name has become synonymous with betrayal after he switched sides and fought for the British. 'My own coach, doping my competition while he smiles in my face and preaches the "we are clean and they are not" gospel,' he writes.

Greene has always denied being involved in doping. Only last month when I interviewed him at the world indoor championships in Valencia, where he was unveiled as an official ambassador for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) following his retirement in February, he talked about how the sport is being damaged by so many drugs scandals.

'I don't think it's totally tainted, but every time the issue comes up it hurts us very bad,' he said. 'If it happens in baseball they hardly skip a beat. I feel cheated a little bit. It's hard in your mind if you have always got a question mark in your mind who's doing stuff behind closed doors. But you have to compete to the very best of your ability.'

The IAAF have said they will continue to use Greene as an ambassador. 'None of this is new. There is no reason to take action against Maurice,' said a spokesman for the governing body. 'With every ambassador we do an immediate check with the doping department. In this case, they said, "No, we don't have anything."'

Boldon, who retired in 2004 and is now coaching Saudi Arabia's Olympic team and working as a television commentator, is angry that no one from HSI has contacted him for four months or offered an explanation about a story in the New York Times last Sunday that claimed Greene had been buying drugs. Greene, who has never tested positive, denies the allegation, although he does admit paying for products for other members of the training group.

In the 'Boldon letter', the writer refers sarcastically to Greene as 'GOAT' - the tattoo on his arm that stands for 'Greatest Of All Time' - and claims that the revelations 'now taint everyone who has worked with you [Smith], even if they decided not to go this DRUG route. I might have an ounce of respect left for either of the two of you, the "GOAT" or yourself, if you had called me up when this first broke, to at least attempt to explain - like MEN - who are supposedly down for each other, do. You knew I knew, and yet both of you have done what you do best. Huddle in a corner and hide.'

As is inevitable with the world's fastest man, rumours always surrounded Greene and how he achieved his performances, but Boldon was very quick to defend his training partner, including on one occasion when the 1996 Olympic 100m gold medallist Donovan Bailey, who Greene succeeded as champion and world record holder, cast doubts about him.

'It's not like I didn't spend the past 13 years defending anyone who dared to talk about anyone in my camp or in my group,' the letter says. 'I never did that, right? Donovan opened his mouth to DARE talk about my "boy" Maurice, and I was on him in a flash, why because when you are down, when you have each other's backs, that is what REAL MEN do - they back each other up... Donovan was right too. My bad for thinking that I could trust any of you or believe a word you said.'

Greene is one of three Olympic champions Smith has coached, but a dark cloud was cast over his training group in July 2004 when Larry Wade, a 110m hurdler, tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone and was banned for two years, despite the support offered to him by Boldon.

'I vouched for everyone,' the letter says. 'When Larry's Rectus humongus [sic] went down (of course that mystery positive of his isn't so mysterious now, is it?) it was my house that I called the meeting to, because if one was going through anything WE ALL WERE.'

Among the other clients Heredia, a former Mexican discus thrower, allegedly supplied drugs to were the training group of Trevor Graham, who coached Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones, both of whom have admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs and have subsequently been stripped of their Olympic medals and records. They are now serving prison sentences after pleading guilty to involvement in a scheme involving fraudulent cheques.

Heredia agreed to be a co-operating witness three years ago into an inquiry into performance-enhancing drugs, originally triggered by investigations into Balco, when investigators confronted him with evidence of his drug trafficking and money laundering. Since then Heredia says he has provided prosecutors with documentation and with the names of many elite track athletes and Olympic medal winners, including Greene. Prosecutors have said he is a reliable witness.

Graham is charged with three counts of making false statements to federal agents and his case is due to start on 19 May. He claims he is innocent and that he has never met Heredia.

Conte has alleged that Smith encouraged Graham, who was based in Raleigh, North Carolina, to send a syringe with traces of the designer anabolic steroid THG to the United States Anti-Doping Agency in 2003, a move that accelerated the US government's ongoing investigation into the San Francisco-based company.

Conte, who recently completed a jail sentence and a probation period and is now writing a tell-all book, said Smith and Graham conspired against him because Chambers was following a drugs schedule drawn up for him by Balco and was threatening Greene's position at the top of the world 100m rankings.

'I was working with sprinter Dwain Chambers, who was consistently beating Maurice and Tim Montgomery, who was coached by Trevor at the time,' Conte said. 'It's my opinion that John and Trevor did what they did to me and the athletes purely out of competitive jealousy. It certainly wasn't done as a noble deed.'

A fierce rivalry developed between Smith and Graham's training groups that reached its height in 2002 when Montgomery broke Greene's world record for the 100m. But Montgomery later became one of 10 athletes, along with Jones, coached by Graham who were caught or implicated in drugs scandals.

'You are an older Trevor Graham - PERIOD - on a different coast of the USA - and that isn't easy for me to say, because you know what I think about Trevor,' says the letter to Smith allegedly written by Boldon. 'You think running to West Angeles Church every time you are about to get caught will solve something? I went to West Angeles for 10 years and probably saw you twice. God has a message for you, JS, "Don't give drugs to people's children! Steer them away from it if they ask you, too!"'

Heredia alleges that Greene stopped ordering banned drugs from him after finishing third in the 100m in the Athens Olympics, a race won by Justin Gatlin - another Graham-coached athlete who later tested positive - and being beaten on the last leg of the 4x100m by Mark Lewis-Francis as Britain claimed the gold medal, because he was fearful that the investigation into Balco had become so wide-ranging. It was the last major medal won by an athlete coached by Smith.

'Everything around you is withering and/or dying,' the writer taunts Smith in his letter. 'How can that be? You have won not a single medal that matters since 2004. Is it because you have sowed nothing but poison and deceit your entire life, and now the brief stay you had "at the top" is now over?

'Say what you want about me and my failure to win the BIG ones, but I did it cleanly, and I can look you or anyone else in the face, not to mention myself in the mirror, for the rest of my life. I know that, and so DO YOU.... John Smith the great "sprint guru" is nothing but the emperor with no clothes. No, wait a minute, we know you can coach someone to 9.86 and 19.77 [Boldon's personal best times for the 100m and 200m]. The rest I can't vouch for.'

This, however, is not the first time that Smith's name has been so closely linked with drugs. Charlie Francis testified at the Canadian government inquiry held after Ben Johnson, whom he coached, had tested positive at the 1988 Olympics that Smith had told him that he was using the steroid Dianabol. Francis subsequently repeated the allegation in his book Speed Trap, which was published in 1990. Smith denied the allegation.

'This case in the NY Times is not some mistake, some "oops" moment, some mis-step, some one-time weakness, it's a pattern, and going back to the stuff written about you in "Speed Trap" after 1988... Almost 20 years later nothing has changed,' the 'Boldon' letter-writer claims.

'Let me cut to the chase, as it concerns your ultimate betrayal, as you doped my competition and my team-mates while professing to the world (and, of course, to me) that you were the "drug-free coach". When you see me somewhere, just pretend you don't. You are dead to me.'

Boldon was unavailable for comment when Observer Sport tried to contact him, but last week he did speak to a Greek website he writes a column for. 'One thing is clear, that the evidence and the facts will show someone to be a fraud and someone will be vindicated,' he told them. 'I will make no further comment regarding this case until such time.'

Smith and Greene were also unavailable for comment.

5
What about Track & Field / Say it ain't so, ATO!!!
« on: April 13, 2008, 04:11:28 PM »
I believe that this story reported by the New York Times may well ensnare our Ato Boldon in the fullness of time.

LAREDO, Tex. — When one of the most successful coaches in the history of track and field goes on trial next month in the long-running federal investigation into doping in sports, lawyers for both sides are prepared to reveal that cheating in track is far more widespread than previously known.

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Ben Sklar for The New York Times
Angel Heredia, above, is a key witness in the case against the track coach Trevor Graham.

 
Angel Heredia
Angel Heredia and Trevor Graham in 1996 at Mr. Heredia’s Laredo, Tex., apartment.

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According to Angel Heredia, Maurice Greene transferred $10,000 to a Laredo, Tex., bank account of a Heredia relative, whose name is partly blacked out.
The main witness against the coach, Trevor Graham, has said he supplied illicit drugs and advice on their use to Mr. Graham and his camp of elite athletes, including Marion Jones, as well as to many other sprinters and their coaches.

Angel Guillermo Heredia is identified as Source A in the felony indictment. He agreed to be a cooperating witness three years ago when, according to court filings, investigators confronted him with evidence of his drug trafficking and money laundering. Since then, Mr. Heredia said, he has provided prosecutors with documentation and with the names of many elite track athletes and Olympic medal winners.

Mr. Graham, who is charged with three counts of making false statements to federal agents, says that he is innocent. A defense motion to dismiss, which was denied, said the government’s case had been built on accusations by Mr. Heredia that “are not true and are merely an effort to attempt to divert attention from his illicit drug dealing and the illicit drug usage by athletes.”

Mr. Graham’s lawyers have said they will expose prominent athletes who were Mr. Heredia’s clients in an attempt to discredit him. They have said they will prove him to be a tainted witness who continued to dispense drugs and who should be the one facing charges.

Mr. Heredia said he had named names to prosecutors, identifying about two dozen elite athletes as his clients in the hope of keeping his status as a federal witness rather than as a criminal target.

The federal authorities who have worked with Mr. Heredia for three years say that he is credible despite his unsavory activities, and that nothing he has told them has been shown to be untrue, said a lawyer with knowledge of the investigation who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss it.

In recent interviews with The New York Times, Mr. Heredia described how and with whom he worked, sharing copies of records that appear to link him to many of the best sprinters of the last decade. Those records include e-mail exchanges of doping regimens, canceled checks, telephone recordings, shipping records, laboratory readings of blood and urine samples, and Justice Department documents.

Among his clients, Mr. Heredia identified 12 athletes who had won a combined 26 Olympic medals and 21 world championships. Four of the 12 athletes, including Ms. Jones, had been named and barred from competition for illicit drug use. Eight of the 12 — notably, the sprinter Maurice Greene — have never been previously linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

Mr. Greene, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a five-time world champion, has never failed a drug test.

Mr. Heredia showed The Times a copy of a bank transaction form showing a $10,000 wire transfer from a Maurice Greene to a relative of Mr. Heredia’s; two sets of blood-test lab reports with Mr. Greene’s name and age on them; and an e-mail message from a close friend and track-club teammate of Mr. Greene’s, attaching one of the lab reports and saying, “Angel, this is maurices results sorry it took so long.”

Mr. Greene did not respond to numerous requests for comment over the last two weeks. His agent and his father each said he would pass along The Times’s messages to Mr. Greene. Copies of documents Mr. Heredia showed The Times were sent to Mr. Greene’s agent, Daniel Escamilla of HSInternational, based in California. Mr. Escamilla said he forwarded them to Mr. Greene but declined to make any comment.

The teammate also did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages asking for comment.

The Justice Department has kept its focus narrow in investigations rising from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, a California company raided by federal agents in 2003. The government has filed charges against only those who dealt the drugs or impeded the investigation, not the users who told the truth.

Regulators Take Notice

Even if the Graham case is settled before trial or the names of sprinters Mr. Heredia says he worked with never come out in public testimony, prosecutors are expected to pass along evidence to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which investigates doping in sports after criminal proceedings are complete.

Travis T. Tygart, the chief executive of the antidoping agency, declined to comment about Mr. Heredia in a telephone interview Tuesday. Referring to his agency, Mr. Tygart said, “Usada continues to cooperate with the Balco investigators and will aggressively act on all reliable evidence of doping if and when received through the Balco investigation or otherwise.”

Mr. Heredia said he met with Mr. Tygart two years ago but did not reveal as many of his former clients to Mr. Tygart as he had to federal investigators.

The extent of Mr. Heredia’s disclosures were news to the International Association of Athletics Federations, track’s governing body.

“We would be very, very keen to talk to somebody who had information like that,” Chris Butler, a spokesman for I.A.A.F. antidoping programs, said in a recent telephone interview from his office in Monaco. Most of the doping suspensions last year were first investigated based on tips, which Mr. Butler said were “crucial to our testing and targeting.”

Mr. Heredia, 33, a former Mexican national discus champion, is a secretive figure on the track circuit who describes himself as a chemist, scientist and nutritionist. The son of a chemist, Mr. Heredia received an undergraduate degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M in Kingsville, records show.

He said he used family connections to pharmacies and labs in Mexico to help his business. For years, Mr. Heredia said, he helped his clients flout the rules and easily avoided detection. Substances like human growth hormone and the blood booster erythropoietin, or EPO, are still virtually impossible to detect, and “it is still easy to use testosterone” with fast-acting creams, he said.

“You combine all these things — boom! — you get amazing results,” Mr. Heredia said.

The I.A.A.F. performed 3,277 drug tests last year and barred only 10 athletes for doping. In her career, Ms. Jones passed more than 160 drug tests.

Mr. Heredia defended doping as necessary for his professional athletes to keep up with others who were taking performance enhancers or who had naturally higher hormone levels. “If you’re at the highest levels, you’ve got to do this to be competitive,” he said.

As for why he was talking publicly and without the approval of prosecutors, Mr. Heredia said he wanted to explain himself before the trial and to write books about his role in the track world, as José Canseco had done with steroids in baseball.

“I tried for years to protect them,” Mr. Heredia said of the athletes, “and at this point, I’m just doing what’s best for me.”

Decision to Testify

Mr. Heredia and his lawyer, Armando Trevino, said that prosecutors had not granted him immunity and that they still worried that he could be charged. Prosecutors offered last year to help Mr. Heredia, a Mexican citizen, with his American visa, if necessary, according to a court filing.

The three charges against Mr. Graham all involve his statements about Mr. Heredia. According to the indictment, in 2004 Mr. Graham told Jeff Novitzky, a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service, that he had never met Mr. Heredia nor had they talked on the phone after 1997. Mr. Graham also said he never received or distributed drugs from Mr. Heredia and did not send athletes to him for drugs.

Ten months after Mr. Graham’s interview with Mr. Novitzky, Mr. Heredia was called before the grand jury. Before testifying, Mr. Heredia said, he was interviewed by Mr. Novitzky, who held up a thick stack of phone records and said, “We’ve got you.” He said Mr. Novitzky gave him a choice: either cooperate and tell what you know about the underside of track and field, or face years in prison for drug trafficking.

Mr. Heredia showed The Times a photograph that he said had been taken in December 1996 in Laredo; in it, his hand is resting on Mr. Graham’s shoulder. Mr. Heredia said they stopped working together in 2000 after a financial dispute.

Mr. Graham’s lawyer, Bill Keane, declined to comment on Mr. Heredia, the photograph or the pending trial, except to say that he expected Mr. Heredia to be a government witness.

Gail Shifman, Mr. Graham’s former lawyer, described Mr. Heredia in a 2006 statement as a wrongdoer who was making “fraudulent allegations.” She wrote, “It is a sad comment that the pursuit of justice can be turned and twisted by personal vendettas and revenge.”

Mr. Heredia showed The Times e-mail messages, lab reports or financial records relating to 10 of the 12 Olympic medal winners he identified as his drug clients. The documents show that Mr. Heredia was paid by the athletes, had access to their private medical records and sent e-mail messages suggesting doping regimens, often with first-name familiarity. They are not, however, definitive proof that any of these athletes took performance-enhancing drugs.

Although most of their names are not mentioned in this article, Mr. Greene was identified because he is the most prominent athlete not previously linked to doping and was given copies of the documents Mr. Heredia provided as evidence of their working relationship.

Three of the 12 won Olympic medals in 2004, the others won theirs earlier. Mr. Heredia also identified as clients another dozen elite track stars who never won an Olympic medal.

“All these people are talented,” Mr. Heredia said. “The thing is they needed an extra boost. It’s a difference between running 10 flat all year, or 9.8 four times a year when you had to.”

Mr. Heredia told prosecutors in December 2006 and The Times recently that Mr. Greene had paid him a total of about $40,000, including the $10,000 wire transfer, for advice and steroid creams, EPO, insulin and stimulants in 2003 and 2004. Mr. Greene had already won two Olympic gold medals when Mr. Heredia said Mr. Greene first contacted him after the 2002 track season. By then, Mr. Greene had lost the title “world’s fastest man” to Tim Montgomery and was also losing races to Dwain Chambers; court records later showed that those sprinters were being helped by taking Balco drugs.

Reviewing Mr. Greene’s two blood reports for The Times, Dr. David L. Diuguid, director of hematology at Columbia University Department of Medicine, said they looked “totally normal.”

Mr. Greene, slowed by injuries in 2003, ran faster in 2004. He ran the 100 meters in 9.87 seconds — his best time in three years — for the bronze medal at the Athens Olympics. He also took a silver for anchoring the 4x100-meter relay.

Mr. Heredia said he stopped working with Mr. Greene after the Athens Games because of the expanding Balco investigation. Mr. Greene has not broken 10 seconds since then. He retired from racing in February at age 33 and was named an ambassador for the I.A.A.F.

Suspended Athletes

Of the two dozen sprinters Mr. Heredia said he worked with over the years, official track records show that seven of them have been barred for periods of two years to life for drug violations. Mr. Heredia said some took drugs that he did not recommend. Others were implicated in records seized from Balco after they switched from working with Mr. Graham and Mr. Heredia to working with Victor Conte Jr., a Balco co-founder.

Mr. Graham portrays himself as a whistle-blower because he sent a Balco syringe to investigators. But Mr. Heredia and Mr. Conte, in separate interviews, said that Mr. Graham was simply trying to put Mr. Conte out of business. Mr. Conte confirmed that he had known Mr. Heredia was supplying drugs to and advising athletes, including Ms. Jones, but he considered Mr. Heredia less sophisticated.

Some of the records Mr. Heredia showed to The Times were blunt and to the point. One e-mail message from a world indoor champion sprinter stated: “Send me some GH to my house. I am running Zurick. Let me know how much it is and I will send.” Mr. Heredia said “GH” was shorthand for growth hormone.

An e-mail message from July 2003 from Mr. Heredia to Raymond Stewart, a track coach in Texas who was a silver medalist in the 4x100 relay for Jamaica at the 1984 Olympics, described the drugs Mr. Heredia had recommended for two of Mr. Stewart’s runners. It referred to bottles of “g,” another shorthand for growth hormone, and testosterone. Reached by phone at his home, Mr. Stewart initially denied knowing Mr. Heredia. But after being provided with a copy of the 2003 message, he said that they had met. Mr. Stewart also said that he had rejected the drugs Mr. Heredia offered in the note. “We don’t do that,” Mr. Stewart said.

As Mr. Heredia waits to testify and worries he will be arrested, he still has work to keep him busy. He continues to advise foreign athletes on performance-enhancing drugs, he said, but never in the United States and no longer as a supplier.


Michael S. Schmidt and Elena Gustines contributed reporting from New York.


6
Football / Ronaldo v. Rooney - The great Man U debate.
« on: December 28, 2006, 10:05:56 PM »
I am the biggest Man U supporter and i always getting in to argument with a pardner about the relative merits of Rooney and Ronaldo.  My view is that Ronaldo is proving this year beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a superior player to Rooney.  I just think that it is typical English bias that has cast Rooney as this great player.  I watch all Man U Prem. games and i think that while Rooney is a very good player, the hype surrounding him has long since exceeded his value as a player.  Last game was a prime example when Man U only came to life with Ronaldo's introduction.  IMHO Ronaldo has the potential to be the best Man U attacking player in my lifetime.  Rooney to me is very good but is not the savior of the English game like he is portrayed.

7
Football / Dear Leo, A fond adieu
« on: July 09, 2006, 12:41:03 AM »
Dear Leo,

For us to expect you to stay is naivete in the extreme.  WHile there is negativity spewed by the constantly carping critics like Gally, an objective look at the facts suggest that there is nothing in it for you to stay.  T&T had one of the oldest teams in the WC and not one player commanded a first choice place in a team in any one of the major leagues.  So that means a massive rebuilding effort when the current individual talent wasnt of the highest (it hurts ah know but them is the facts).  Coaches of your stamp dont stay around for rebuilding efforts like that.  And what do we have to offer you in terms of quality tournaments before qualifiers in two years time and ah know Gold Cup dont cut it.  Coaching and challenging yuhself at the highest level is in yuh blood. You are one of the hottest commodities in the world right now.  And yes is only people like Gally dont rate a coaching performance where you central defenders from Gillingham and Wrexham and yuh midfielders from Port Vale, Jablotheh and dont make the bench at Falkirk and yuh keep Sweden & ENgland scoreless f0r 173 minutes as anything but a masterful performance. I still ent get over the England but say what.  If yuh go to Poland, that is a ready made turnaround - underachievers at the WC, they only need confidence and organization and Euro Champs qualifiers starting next month.  That is a challenge and yuh playing with the big boys of Europe not Shell Cup against St. Vincent.  As a coach of a European national team, there is always a European champ or WC to look forward to.  So a fond adieu Beenie, my countrymen and myself owe you a debt of gratitude.  we dont begrudge you moving on its the way of the world.

P.S Ah know is small change, but leave instructions as to where to wire yuh $TT million 

8
Football / Ronaldo was cheated!!!!
« on: July 07, 2006, 05:35:11 PM »
Podoloski over Ronaldo.  What hogwash.  Ronaldo with the possible exception of Robben and Ribery was the best winger on show at the WC.  He also was the most dangerous player in the semifinal.  His only crime was that England had to have a scapegoat to excuse their abject failure.  He joins the list of Urs Meier and SImeone as scapegoats for enland's utter ordariness

9
Football / We need to be realistic about our players
« on: July 05, 2006, 12:41:12 PM »
After reading the news about Shaka's new club, it is useful to reiterate that although we want the best for our players, we must also have realistic expectations.  The feeling that some of us have that our players proved something and will be in demand by bigger name clubs is pie in the sky.  The rest of the world sees us a overachieving team and our WC journey is a feel good story that is played out.  I see man like stern cutting style.  They better know what they doing.  The fact that Shaka couldn't get a 2nd string keeper wuk (I am assuming here but safe assumption) in the Premiership speaks volumes.

10
In so many ways we ent reach.  The Govt. gives the Soca Warriors $1 million each and now people saying they shoulda get more - house, land, car(?).  It is enough to make you cry.  The Warriors certainly deserve our gratitiude and tangible tokens for what they have done.  It is so low class for man to be saying that they should get more.  Is like when Kitch turn down the medal he was getting awarded saying that he deserve the Trinity Cross.  No class.  When Wendy come back and say upon winning Ms. Universe that she want land.  No class.  This has to do as our maturity with a society.  The Govt. has honored you by giving you a million each from your fellow citizens taxes.  Let there be no grumbling.  Politics in Trinidad rears its head at the most inopportune times.  Generally, we must get away from man expecting money, land etc. when they achieve something.  That is what national awards are for.  I dont begrudge the footballers and believe they were appropriately honored.  Jack Warner is out of place.  As for they expect cars, if the Govt. is to be expected to give them cars.  Why not a lifetime supply of groceries from Hilo?  Absolutely ridiculous.

11
Football / How everybody railing off on poor Evans Wise now?
« on: June 25, 2006, 04:22:17 PM »
People on this board is real kicks oui.  I love it.  Man see evans play a friendly against Grenada (flickin Grenada) and man insisting that we must make room for him on the squad.  Cornell should stay injured, they should sacrifice WOlfe etc.  This was the same evans that was tried by coach after national coach and found wanting.  Fools gold you call that.  Now man begrudging him he million.  By the way, does anybody still favor Jack over Shaka?  I say these things so that we could keep our views in perspective and that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously.  Sports at the highest level is about results and Beenie's record would show that when he took over we had 1 pt. in qualifying.  The rest is history.  All those who are armchair critics of the mn should bear this in mind,

12
Amazing that the armchair experts on this site finding fault with Beenie

From the Times of London

Best and wurst so far
We're at the mid-point in the tournament, days wise, Yes, it's really been two weeks since the opening ceremony. So, for what it's worth, here are my half-time awards... remaindered Goleo VI stuffed toys to them all.

Best coach
Leo Beenhakker. Always seemed to be on the brink of cantankerousness, which was entertaining, but got the most out of a limited Trinidad & Tobago team, and was unafraid to make bold decisions. Switching to 4-3-2 against Sweden by bringing on another striker, not a defender, when Trinidad had a man sent off, proved a masterstroke.

Silliest pre-match build-up
The pitchside interviews with Goleo VI, the tournament's camp, random and underpant-less lion mascot. Still, more insightful than Ian Wright.

Best post-match quotes
Marcos Paqueta, Saudi Arabia's Brazilian coach, after the 4-0 reverse by Ukraine: "Problems are for mere men. Challenges are for warriors. I look on life as a challenge. The future belongs only to God; I am at peace. In life we have to have hope. Only in death is there no hope."

Best German TV moment
The audience booing and hissing Peter Crouch, pantomime style, as slowed-up and enlarged footage showed him tugging Brent Sancho's hair as the forward scored against T&T. Crouch: an implausible villain.

Best newspaper headline
"England fans act better than expected" - from a Stuttgart paper.

Best question to which the answer is "no"
"Can the Czech Republic win this thing?" - me, writing straight after they demolished the US in their first group game.

Most glory-hunting fans
Brazil. Followed by legions of pasty-faced hangers-on who only know Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho and who have all the rhythm of a super-caffineated six-year-old banging away at a Casio keyboard they've been given for Christmas.

Best fans
It's tight between South Korea (blithely happy and as bouncy as Tigger on a pogo stick), Trinidad & Tobago (merry party people), Spain (colourful, rowdy but friendly), and Australia (non-stop noise in the stadium).

Worst fans
Saudi Arabia. Failed to fill their section against Ukraine and dozens walked out before the end. Admittedly, they were losing 4-0.

Most travelling fans
England. The English are everywhere. No match, no matter how obscure, is complete without dozens of St George's Cross flags professing loyalty to Stoke City, Leyton Orient, Tranmere Rovers and the like.

Most efficient Germans
Those in the media centre at Kaiserslautern who began the process of giving away my ticket because I arrived at the stadium 85 minutes before kick-off, not the required 90.

Worst Violence
A German teenager in an England shirt creeping up behind me and whacking me on the back of my legs with a Germany flag, then running away giggling. Perhaps possessed by the spirit of Ken Dodd and his tickle stick.

Best wurst
Currywurst from Wurst Paradise, Essen. Full of tender, juicy goodness. Well, maybe not goodness.

Worst wurst
Bockwurst, Stuttgart stadium media centre. Twenty centimetres of fleshy pink evil.

Best match I have seen
Australia 2 Croatia 2 or Italy 1 USA 1.

Best breach of stadium security
Honourable mention to the Croats who smuggled a dozen red flares into their match with Australia, but the award must go to the French supporter who brought a live cockerel into their match against South Korea. It flapped about a bit but went nowhere, much like Zinedine Zidane. Of course, anyone attempting to bring in a bottle of water would have been stopped. But poultry or fireworks, that's OK.


13
Dear Jack,

You know that we on the opposite sides of the fence politically but I have to give you your due.  Despite your smart man antics with the tickets and other simmidimmie, I want to thank you from the bottom of mey heart for:
1.  Persevering for WC campaign after campaign and finally having a nation realize a dream.
2.  Putting your money and your effort where your mouth is and having to endure criticism (a ot of it justified) from people like me.
3.  Using your immense power to get Concacaf 3.5 spots so that we could qualify.  Because truthfully Jack, watching our teams perform, the best Concacaf should have is 2.5 spots.
4.  Paying the way for some family members of the team to head to germany.
5.  For hiring Beenie who brought much needed structure and discipline and having to source the funds for that yourself.

Ah go stop here Jack because i know he head swelling.  And see what happen to the man from Botsana, stop them smartman thing for me please.  Because with all our differences, it would break meh heart to see yuh leave football in disgrace.  You have been the most vital cog in the Soca Warriors machine.  Sir, I salute you.

Yours in football,
PEG

14
From the Independent of London ... But man here cussing

Paraguay 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0: Paraguay spoil the party after Sancho slip
By Jason Burt at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion
Published: 21 June 2006
T&T failed to explode. An own goal, and a late second from Paraguay, ended their World Cup adventure while their failure to find the opposition net even once in their three games will be an unwanted memory Trinidad & Tobago take home with them.

It is, however, one that will only slightly muddy the glorious campaign accomplished by the tournament's smallest participants while their coach Leo Beenhakker has now taken charge of seven World Cup games - four previously with the Netherlands - without a victory, which is a record.

But it would be a rank injustice if that is what the Dutchman is remembered for. He and a modest group of players, the self-styled Soca Warriors, can hold their heads up high.

Captain Dwight Yorke, who hinted that he might, once again, retire, said afterwards: "This is a moment of history for the country, the people, the supporters. The way we have played and conducted ourselves makes me very proud."

His "boyhood dream" ended without the passage into the second round that Yorke believed was achievable, even if the Paraguayans were not the demoralised bunch T&T hoped they might be after failing to progress for the first time at a finals since 1958. Instead the South Americans played with a freedom which, in truth, meant their victory was warranted.

Beenhakker's decision to recall Kelvin Jack in goal, instead of the capable Shaka Hislop, proved to be an error. He saved smartly from Roque Santa Cruz's header inside the first five minutes, but then appeared hesitant and eminently beatable, often rushing from his goal unconvincingly or pushing shots from distance back into his own area.

Time and again the Paraguayans peppered his goal with crosses which were half-cleared until, finally, Robert Acuna swung in a free-kick which was glanced on by Julio Dos Santos only for Brett Sancho to head into his own net.

T&T made a better fist of it after the break by speeding the game up. They had to and poured forward, Beenhakker throwing on extra attackers and a low skimming cross by Carlos Edwards just evaded Yorke while the Luton defender did better with another centre, although it was brushed off Stern John's head by Bobadilla.

Paraguay, with Dos Santos and Paredes in particular, reminded T&T of the threat they could create before Beenhakker finally introduced Russell Latapy for his first appearance of the competition.

The 37-year-old made a difference. Immediately he set up Yorke, but his shot flew over, and then he met Kenwyne Jones's knock-down with a fierce half-volley which only just cleared the bar. It would have been a wonderful ending, but T&T were tiring badly and then Paraguay broke away and scored a fine goal.

Substitute Nelson Cuevas exchanged passes with Santa Cruz before beating Jack with a low shot from just inside the area. With that the fairy tale was over. "We had possibilities but scoring is our problem," Beenhakker said. "We played with courage, with confidence. We didn't want to go home now. But we have to and leave with pride."

Paraguay (4-4-2): Bobadilla (Libertad); Nunez (Estudiantes), Gamarra (Palmeiras), Caceres (River Plate), Caniza (Cruz Azul); Barreto (NEC Nijmegen), Paredes (Reggina), Acuna (Deportivo La Coruna), Dos Santos (Bayern Munich); Valdez (Werder Bremen), Santa Cruz (Bayern Munich).

Substitutes used: Cuevas (Pachuca) for Valdez (66); Manzur (Santos) for Caceres (78); Da Silva (Toluca) for Caniza (88).

Trinidad & Tobago (4-1-4-1): Jack (Dundee); Edwards (Luton), Lawrence (Wrexham), Sancho (Gillingham), A John (New England Revolution); Yorke (Sydney FC); Glen (Los Angeles Galaxy), Birchall (Port Vale), Whitley (San Juan Jabloteh), Theobald (Falkirk); S John (Coventry).

Substitutes used: Jones (Southampton) for A John , 31; Wise (Waldhof Mannheim) for Glen, 41; Latapy (Falkirk) for Whitley (67)

Booked: Paraguay Paredes, Dos Santos; Trinidad & Tobago Sancho, Whitley.

Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)

T&T failed to explode. An own goal, and a late second from Paraguay, ended their World Cup adventure while their failure to find the opposition net even once in their three games will be an unwanted memory Trinidad & Tobago take home with them.

It is, however, one that will only slightly muddy the glorious campaign accomplished by the tournament's smallest participants while their coach Leo Beenhakker has now taken charge of seven World Cup games - four previously with the Netherlands - without a victory, which is a record.

But it would be a rank injustice if that is what the Dutchman is remembered for. He and a modest group of players, the self-styled Soca Warriors, can hold their heads up high.

Captain Dwight Yorke, who hinted that he might, once again, retire, said afterwards: "This is a moment of history for the country, the people, the supporters. The way we have played and conducted ourselves makes me very proud."

His "boyhood dream" ended without the passage into the second round that Yorke believed was achievable, even if the Paraguayans were not the demoralised bunch T&T hoped they might be after failing to progress for the first time at a finals since 1958. Instead the South Americans played with a freedom which, in truth, meant their victory was warranted.

Beenhakker's decision to recall Kelvin Jack in goal, instead of the capable Shaka Hislop, proved to be an error. He saved smartly from Roque Santa Cruz's header inside the first five minutes, but then appeared hesitant and eminently beatable, often rushing from his goal unconvincingly or pushing shots from distance back into his own area.

Time and again the Paraguayans peppered his goal with crosses which were half-cleared until, finally, Robert Acuna swung in a free-kick which was glanced on by Julio Dos Santos only for Brett Sancho to head into his own net.

T&T made a better fist of it after the break by speeding the game up. They had to and poured forward, Beenhakker throwing on extra attackers and a low skimming cross by Carlos Edwards just evaded Yorke while the Luton defender did better with another centre, although it was brushed off Stern John's head by Bobadilla.
Paraguay, with Dos Santos and Paredes in particular, reminded T&T of the threat they could create before Beenhakker finally introduced Russell Latapy for his first appearance of the competition.

The 37-year-old made a difference. Immediately he set up Yorke, but his shot flew over, and then he met Kenwyne Jones's knock-down with a fierce half-volley which only just cleared the bar. It would have been a wonderful ending, but T&T were tiring badly and then Paraguay broke away and scored a fine goal.

Substitute Nelson Cuevas exchanged passes with Santa Cruz before beating Jack with a low shot from just inside the area. With that the fairy tale was over. "We had possibilities but scoring is our problem," Beenhakker said. "We played with courage, with confidence. We didn't want to go home now. But we have to and leave with pride."

Paraguay (4-4-2): Bobadilla (Libertad); Nunez (Estudiantes), Gamarra (Palmeiras), Caceres (River Plate), Caniza (Cruz Azul); Barreto (NEC Nijmegen), Paredes (Reggina), Acuna (Deportivo La Coruna), Dos Santos (Bayern Munich); Valdez (Werder Bremen), Santa Cruz (Bayern Munich).

Substitutes used: Cuevas (Pachuca) for Valdez (66); Manzur (Santos) for Caceres (78); Da Silva (Toluca) for Caniza (88).

Trinidad & Tobago (4-1-4-1): Jack (Dundee); Edwards (Luton), Lawrence (Wrexham), Sancho (Gillingham), A John (New England Revolution); Yorke (Sydney FC); Glen (Los Angeles Galaxy), Birchall (Port Vale), Whitley (San Juan Jabloteh), Theobald (Falkirk); S John (Coventry).

Substitutes used: Jones (Southampton) for A John , 31; Wise (Waldhof Mannheim) for Glen, 41; Latapy (Falkirk) for Whitley (67)

Booked: Paraguay Paredes, Dos Santos; Trinidad & Tobago Sancho, Whitley.

Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)

15
Football / Musings about our Journey, the Board and the WC thus far
« on: June 20, 2006, 06:05:56 PM »
1.  Thanks to the team for the memories and the effort displayed.  We were never disgraced and that was one of my fears going into the tournament.  We proved we belong.  Congrats to Beenie! A boss coach.  My man of the tournament for T&T was Shaka.  Honourable mentions go to Lawrence, Sancho, Birchall, and Yorke.

2.  I get real kicks from posters on this board.  First they wanted Glen to stay injured so that Wise could make the squad.  Is funny how life turns out that Glen was the only one of our forwards to look threathening and now they cussing Wise for the poor game he had.  I thought that Wise was the savior.  The truth is Wise is a very mediocre player who the ole trini mentality use to big up because of his dribbling.  After some practice match we play against ST. Kitts or some other island, he was the best thing since slice bread.  The truth is that we did the best with what we had because Beenie wasn't blessed with quality on this side but turned into a cohesive football team.  A boss coach.

3.  Having said he is a boss coach, let me quibble with a few things. Stern John - i dont really know what to say other than to be mystified how this guy played 270 minutes of our campaign.  A more saga boy, lethargis striker you could not possibly find.  I had a post about starting Shaka - I think my point has been conclusively proven.  Why Jack started this game i dont know.  Also, I would have brought latapy on earlier in this game.  I presume fitness was an issue and I would not have played him in the 2 other games.  But as i said these are mere quibbles.  An A+ to beenie to get a side to play way above their individual talent level.

4.  As a football fan, now the real WC begins as I think unlike last WC, the quality teams will make it to second rounds and it will be a veritable feast of football.  It already has been.  I am a huge ARg. fan but dont sleep on Spain, I think the have what it takes to put it together this WC.

5.  Guys, an era has ended.  Yorke, Latapy and Shaka probably have (should have) played their last game for T&T.  Thanks for the memoriesand especially to my CIC mate Shaka, you have lived a dream of which you can justifiably proud.

6.  Also, thanks to the germans for hosting a wonderful tournament AND being so hospitable to us Trinis

16
Football / Perspectives and a dose of reality
« on: June 15, 2006, 09:42:14 PM »
Having been at the 2 games the following are my perspectives:
1. Beenie is a genius.  He had us play 173 minutes without conceding a goal with 2 of the best sides in Europe.  It was a shame we could not hold on but to absorb that much pressure...is eventually buss pipe.
2.  Our players showed commitment and played with a blood in the boots mentality that almost reduced this big hard back man to tears.  Even if i wasn´t Trini.  I wanted them to hold on just for the total commitment they showed.  That being said (and I mean this with the utmost respect), we dont have one quality player that is in his prime so just enjoy the ride. Whether Theobald should play or not and i for onr things he should not, that stuff is at the margins.  What Beenie has done he deserves the benefit of the doubt, is not like Argentina where u have Messi on the bench.  The player who will replace Theobald will be marginally better.  At least he gives his all.  Stern John on the other hand has done nothing for 2 games, has no work rate and has this starboy complex.  But i defer to beenie.
3.  Those who calling for Latapy couldn´t be serious, we could not afford him in those 2 games, he is a defensive liab. and those games were about defending.  If we had attempted to attack either of those teams we would have been ripped to shreds.  Panama game a must win where we have to play to win is possibly a venue for him.
4.  Maximum respect to meh boy shaka who has proved that their is something such as a big game experienced.  You could retire now and know you have done it all

17
TTFF and the managers of the team must take the blame for having our team show up in Germany in track suit.  We must have standards if we are to be taken seriously or take ourself seriously.  No way are the English or the Swedes or dare say the Paraguayans landing in Germany with track suit with cap on etc.  WE MUST HAVE STANDARDS.  GO WARRIORS!

18
Football / Is Shaka now 3rd string?
« on: June 04, 2006, 06:05:27 PM »
I see Ince was on the bench vs. the Czechs.  Does anyone know if this was a demotion for Shaka?

19
Football / Beenie the Boss & Corneal and the Aristocracy of Color
« on: April 13, 2006, 09:31:21 AM »
Major, major kudos to Beenie again for sticking with the players that brought us to Germany.  No waggonists allowed be they of the local or foreign variety.  That is what happened to Jamaica in their WC experience and it was destructive of team chemistry.  On the matter of Corneal - his prominence is a pure example of the lighter shade of brownism in T&T.  I don't know why Gally Cummings, Bertille , Fevrier etc aren't sought out for their opinions on these matters.  ALll who have had extensive stints (fevrier excepted) as national team coach.  Gally took us to the brink.  What has Corneal ever done as a national coach to recommend him.  His last job was with a women's team and he was fired from that.  Osei Telesford is the best defender we have.  We still suffer from mental slavery.  The more things change; the more they stay the same. 

20
Football / Beenie, Ah Begging Don't Put Jack to Save in the WC
« on: March 20, 2006, 03:28:09 PM »
Dear Bennie,

First of All, Thanks for taking us to the WC.  And major, major kudos for not allowing waggonists to jump on the bandwagon when they were no where around when the hard work was to be done.  Beenie, if you could do me one last favor and I wouldn't ask anything further.  Please ah begging do not put Kelvin Jack on the WC stage.  I know that you are a loyal man but here me out.  Shaka may have been slowed by age and may not stop what a younger keeper may save but he is far less likely to gift goals to the opposition.  Shaka also has Premiership and Champs League experience.  He has been on the big stage before.  Jack is extremely deficient at this level of football.  He will cause tears.  Beenie, i will not question any other decision, but please no Jack.

Yours in football,
PEG

21
Football / Is it this week that FIFA will announce Jack's fate?
« on: March 13, 2006, 10:13:29 AM »
What are you guys expectations on the punishment to be handed down.  It seems that somnething almost has to be done

22
Football / Grand old duke called Yorke marches on to Germany
« on: March 04, 2006, 07:37:04 PM »
Grand old duke called Yorke marches on to Germany
By Kevin Mitchell (The Observer)


Trinbagonians I could see. Thousands of them. Happy, loud and sporting their Soca Warrior scarves in celebration of their country, Trinidad and Tobago, who somehow have reached the World Cup finals. But Loftus Road, where T & T were playing a warm-up match on the coldest of nights, didn't seem to be heaving with Icelanders, apart from the 11 players on the pitch.
I needed an alternative perspective to this unlikely fixture, a coming together of two nations living on the fringe of Planet Football, but bristling with ambition, none the less.

Two men, white, one in his sixties, the other probably his son, sat behind Shaka Hislop's goal in the first half.
'Iceland?' I asked in that idiotically hesitant way we have when making an inquiry of someone we imagine might not have English as a first language.

'Derby,' said John, the elder of the two.

'So, why?'

'Well, Andy - that's my son, here - has been following Iceland since he went to university in Essex.'

I did ask why again, but John couldn't say. 'We have followed them all over Europe. Been to Iceland twice.'

Two women behind me were swaying to the rhythm of the Soca band, which thumped away non-stop in the upper tier of the stand to our right. No need to ask who they were supporting. They were among the thousands of Trinbagonians delirious that their heroes have made it to the finals for the first time in 11 tries.

But they haven't a hope of getting a ticket. For a start, the football association back in Port of Spain have not exactly been giving them away. The outrageous prices and the distribution system constituted a row one journalist on the Trinidad Express traced to Jack Warner, their Fifa representative. Warner refused him accreditation for Germany - a decision overturned by Fifa, who have promised to punish Warner for unethical behaviour.

When T & T qualified by winning a play-off in Bahrain, Warner was moved to observe, humbly: 'There are few moments in my life that have moved me as much as when the referee blew his whistle. It was the culmination of everything I have struggled for over the years...'

The fan behind me last Tuesday night was a little more detached. 'We'll watch on TV, like everyone else,' she said, freezing. 'But it's great to be here tonight.'

And it was. T & T won 2-0, courtesy of two goals by Dwight Yorke, one a beautifully worked completion of a mazy run down the left by Dundee United's Collin Samuel. The 24-year-old winger looked the business. As does Yorke, still. He is 34 and, some time today, plays in the national league final in Australia for his latest club, Sydney FC. Yorke flew home almost immediately after the game - first-class of course - and is thrilled to be captaining his country in Germany.

What a footballing journey he's had. What a life he's had. He nearly died when in a car accident back in Tobago, aged two. It is said - and widely believed - that the exhaust pipe in the crashed car lay across his back long enough to sear a map of Tobago into his skin. Whatever.

Graham Taylor, of course, discovered him and brought him to Aston Villa, where his sparkling runs lit up the league - and gave his eight siblings back home good reason to believe their brother would be worth keeping in touch with. Alex Ferguson agreed and paid £12.5m for him. He was player of the year once, dipped a little in form then went off to Blackburn and further. This late gift, a place alongside the best in the world at the biggest tournament of them all, has given his step a fresh spring. 'I'm a far better player than when I was at United,' he said recently. 'But slower.'

Not that much. He was the spark that drove the team engine at QPR. And their obvious go-to figure, the best player his country has produced, by general consensus.

They are the predictable mixture of players who have had to go abroad to make it in football, most of them occupying the lower reaches of the game in Britain. There's Russell Latapy, the Little Magician as they call him, 37 now and playing for Falkirk, recalled recently after five years out of international football. He has class, still.

Silvio Spann, owner of a wonderful name but without a club, came off the bench to liven up the midfield.

The first time Dennis Lawrence shared a pitch with Wayne Rooney, the precocious Scouser was 16 and putting a couple of goals into the Wrexham net for Everton. They meet again in Nuremberg on 15 June.

Lawrence was instrumental in recruiting an unlikely addition to the squad when the 22-year-old Port Vale midfielder, Chris Birchall, born in Stafford, casually mentioned to Lawrence after a game that his mother had Trinidadian heritage. Birchall scored the equaliser in Port of Spain against Bahrain, setting them up for that away win that got them through last November. And he did quite well on Tuesday night. So did Hislop, born in Hackney before going back to Trinidad aged two. He's 37 and, like Yorke, has been given a one-off chance for some unexpected glory.

Their leading scorer is the 29-year-old Coventry striker Stern John, and Cyd 'Flash' Grey, a defender, could be a star too. They play their football with the sort of freedom you'd expect from a team with, well, not great expectations.

They will generate the sort of empathetic support Cameroon had - do you remember 'Give a little cheer, if you love the Cameroon'? - when they crashed the World Cup scene in 1990. But, given Trinidad and Tobago (ranked fifty-first in the world) have Sweden (fourteenth), Paraguay (thirtieth) and England (ninth) in their group, they will do well to nick a point before going home.

None of which pessimism will impress their coach, the well-travelled Leo Beenhakker (quiz question: he is one of four Dutchmen coaching teams in the World Cup finals - who are the others?) The Been is a real hero in Trinidad and Tobago, having taken over from Bertille St Clair last May, when they looked all but busted.

They qualified on the last day of play-offs and, with support back home of surely all 1.3 million inhabitants, are the smallest nation of the 32. The grooviest too. Love that Soca.

23
I would like to suggest that those of us on this board brainstorm and find a way to convey to Bennaker our sincerest appreciation for all that he has done for T&T and our football.  I mean - I watching T&T in that game against Iceland yesterday and I could barely recognise that team from the team he started with a year ago.  I have never seen such a transformation in any team in any sport.  That is the benefit of greatness, you got to pay this guy anything he calling because he will be in demand after the WC.  Honestly, I don't think he has one standout player on that squad in his prime and look what he has done.  He also has an eye for a player - Colin Samuel is a very good, very direct player who can cross the ball which Carlos Edwards clearly cannot or will not do consistently.  Anyway, as a forum we should get together and show our appreciation.

24
Football / FIFA executive in World Cup ticket scandal
« on: January 16, 2006, 11:29:39 PM »
FIFA executive in World Cup ticket scandal
by Nick Harris (The Independent)


One of Fifa's most senior executives could profit by more than £10m from World Cup ticket sales in a scandal that will horrify supporters and raise fears that some senior officials ­ and individuals within sponsor companies ­ are exploiting their positions to milk the tournament for personal gain.

In a move that has caused outrage in Trinidad & Tobago, who face England in the group stage, the Caribbean nation's entire ticket allocation has been allocated to a travel agency owned by Jack Warner, a Fifa vice-president who is also the president of CONCACAF and a special advisor to the Trinidad & Tobago FA.

Warner, 62, a former history lecturer turned property developer, is a director of the agency Simpaul Travel Services Limited, as is his wife, Maureen, and sons, Daryan and Darryl. The company is not selling individual match tickets, but rather "travel packages" that include tickets and accommodation but, bizarrely, not travel, either to Germany, or between venues, which costs extra.

A company sales executive, Natasha Simmons, confirmed to The Independent yesterday that basic packages, excluding flights but including 12 nights in a hotel in Germany and seats for Trinidad & Tobago's three group games ­ against England, Paraguay and Sweden ­ cost $30,000 in local currency (£2,720).

The face value of the three tickets combined is a maximum of £200.

Simpaul's other costs are estimated to be around £820 per package for hotels, plus £40 for a "supporters' kit" that comprises a shirt, a wristband, a flag, a travel bag, a whistle, a poster and a fridge magnet.

Simpaul stand to make around £1,660 profit per package. The company will not confirm how many tickets it has, but local estimates suggest between 6,500 and 8,000 per game. It is estimated that Simpaul could make between £10.8m and £13.3m profit if it sells every ticket as part of a package.

The initial revelation that Warner, who is from Trinidad, was the owner of Simpaul and that his firm had secured all his country's allocation, came after an investigation by the local Trinidad Express newspaper last month.

Neither Warner nor Oliver Camps, the president of the TTFA and a friend of Warner's, were available for comment last night. Camps had earlier told the local paper: "The [TTFA] executive asked that no one answer any questions at the moment."

Following an uproar in Trinidad that Warner's company could be profiteering at the expense of fans, Fifa have announced that they have appointed Ernst & Young as "independent external auditors to monitor and evaluate the overall ticketing project for the 2006 World Cup".

The auditing firm's remit includes a whole range of technical and ethical issues, including situations like that in Trinidad, which, while not illegal, does contravene the spirit of Fifa's anti-profiteering message on tickets.

Fifa has also acted to quell the Trinidad controversy by saying that Simpaul's website now carries the message that packages do not include match tickets. The agency's website now says "you must source these directly via from TTFA or via the Fifa website". The Independent's direct enquiry to Simpaul yesterday exposed this as untrue. Simpaul is still offering tickets. A spokeswoman at the TTFA also said that Simpaul was the place to buy tickets.

The government in Trinidad is under pressure to intervene and allow sales directly to fans, and not via Simpaul.

In a separate development, two ticket agencies that have been advertising World Cup seats on the internet and in newspapers have told The Independent that they source their tickets via tournament sponsors and national associations.

One company based in America named a major tournament sponsor, whose parent company is American, as one source, and also named a major European FA as another source of its tickets. Fifa yesterday declined to comment on individual cases being investigated, although the timing of Ernst & Young's appointment ­ last week ­ suggests the world governing body is increasing its efforts to clamp down on profiteering and black market sales.

The agencies that claim to be being supplied with seats by sponsors and FAs are typically selling seats at more than 10 times their face value.

"We have spent a lot of time on nurturing contacts [with sponsor companies and FAs] and spent a lot of money on these tickets," a spokeswoman for one agency said.

25
Football / Open Letter to the Guardian for Honoring JW
« on: December 26, 2005, 10:18:49 PM »
The text of an email, I forwarded to the Editor of the Guardian:

I write to convey my utter disappointment that a national newspaper that purports to champion integrity and accountability in public affairs would honor Jack Warner in the way that you have done.  Jack Warner has done a lot for Trinidad football - that is beyond doubt.  However, as one that is concerned by the lack of exemplars in Trinidad, I am in utter shock that Mr Warner was honored in the way that he was by your newspaper.  A couple facts are incontestable - 1. Mr. Warner or his family has a beneficial interest in Simpaul's travel agency 2. Simpaul's, without the rigor of competitive tender, has exclusive control over the Trinidad allotment of tickets to the World Cup  and 3. Mr. Warner did not publicly declare his financial interest when he made the announcement nor has he or any TTFF official deigned to explain this obvious conflict of interest.  Nor is this the only financial imbroglio which has involved Mr. Warner.  They are almost too numerous to mention.
 
I would like your newspaper as the "Guardian of Democracy" to attempt to get answers from Mr. Warner and to delve into these matters further e.g just how much does the TTFF owe Mr. Warner.  I would hope, Mr. Singh, that your previous collaboration with Mr. Warner would not dissuade you from pursuing this vital service for the benefit of your readers. 
 
True public servants do not attempt to line their pockets while ostensibly serving the public.  The ethos that you could take a little something for yourself while serving in public roles is well entrenched in our country.  It is even sadder when an august institution like the Trinidad Guardian appears to endorse this sentiment

26
2006 World Cup - Germany / Thanks to the Stalwarts and Hopes for New Year
« on: December 14, 2005, 11:42:03 AM »
I would like to thank Flex for having the vision for setting up this board which as far as I am concerned goes far beyond football and plays a huge role in linking the Trini diaspora throughout the globe.  I know we are all excited about going to the WC.  I am too.  However, reading the posts I would urge the posters not to post misinformation about the costs of the Germany next year.  Unless you are staying by friends etc., the WC wxperience will be a very expensive one.  I was excoriated by some on this board for saying that the Simpaul's package is not unreasonable, just sitting by my computer, I discover that Razorgator's similar, nay identical, package is $7529 with $10, 750 for single occupancy.  I love this board but what i donot like is people making wild charges and claiming corruption, overcharging and the like without doing any research.  I have spoken about this issue not because I am Simpaul's CEO but because the talk about this topic is illustrative at some of the illinformed comment sometimes prevalent on this board.

Happy Holidays to the stalwarts Truetrini, socapro, morvantman et al.  Talking bout Al where meh partner AL from yesteryear

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