Jack was interviewed by Inshan “Flex” Mohammed on the Soca Warriors.net website recently, and the 34-year-old was first asked about the status of his career (he recently signed a non-contract deal with English club Darlington after an injury-hit spell with Southend United).
“It is a result of having not played a lot over the past 20 months,” he replied. “It is not recurring. My hamstring is fine. It was healed after 10 days. I recently signed with Darlington.
“I need to get a playing rhythm,” he continued. “The football market is extremely tough right now especially for someone like me who hasn’t played a lot of games recently.
“Darlington have a very good infrastructure and they are ambitious. The manager, Simon Davey, who I knew from Barnsley, is the manager and he really sold the club to me. I am 34 and I feel sharp — I am convinced I could do good things.”
Besides his playing career, Jack’s focus is clearly on the 2006 World Cup bonus pay dispute, between a number of national players and the TTFF, which is currently in arbitration.
“The issue that is preventing FPATT from being a success is the negativity we have received from the TTFF and Jack Warner concerning a players’ union,” he admitted. “Locally-based players are intimidated by the threat of being in the international wilderness by the TTFF and Jack Warner if they sign up to a players’ union. This obstacle is not insurmountable though.”
Following the 2006 World Cup, the national team was thrown into turmoil by a dispute between the players from the World Cup squad and the TTFF. Prior to the competition the players had agreed to a bonus scheme with the TTFF, where the players would share 50 percent of the Federation’s income from the World Cup.
Following the competition, the TTFF declared the income and expenses of TT$18.25 million and TT$17.97 million, respectively. This left TT$282,952 in net revenue and offered each player TT$5,600, whereby the players rejected the offer.
Subsequently, the TTFF revised their figure to TT$950,000 — the amount the Federation received during their qualification campaign prior to the 2006 World Cup. The players also rejected the revised offer and requested to see the TTFF’s unaudited accounts. The Federation refused the players’ request.
The 16 players involved included Jack, Marvin Andrews, Chris Birchall, Atiba Charles, Ian Cox, Cornell Glen, Cyd Gray, Shaka Hislop, Avery John, Stern John, Kenwyne Jones, Collin Samuel, Brent Sancho, Aurtis Whitley, Evans Wise and Anthony Wolfe.
But Jack admitted that he was displeased that the other seven players on the Leo Beenhakker-coached squad (captain Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Carlos Edwards, Clayton Ince, Jason Scotland, Densil Theobald and Dennis Lawrence), did not join the “cause”.
“Of course I am disappointed they did not stand up with us, especially since there were certain players who would criticise the TTFF at every opportunity,” Jack admitted. “They know themselves.”
“To put this into perspective, let’s say the England squad were in our position, do you think the players would have been divided like this? I guarantee you the answer is a resounding “no”.
“One thing would have been certain, the likes of John Terry, Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney etc would have never, as senior players, betrayed their team-mates like that. Players over here in the UK are stunned all our players did not stick together.
“All the players were in support of taking the action that we took to have our bonus dispute rectified, with the exception of maybe two or three players. In my opinion, a lot of the players, defected because of their own agendas.
“To me, that is a betrayal of not only your team-mates, but also the young players who would possibly have to deal with a situation similar to ours. I always ask God to spare the young kids coming up that they will not have to deal with the issues we have been faced with.”
Jack admitted that three of the 16 players, who were subsequently blacklisted by the TTFF for their stance, accepted “out-of-court” payments from the TTFF.
“The three players (including Andrews) who eventually took Jack Warner’s desperate settlement offer (considering what we are actually owed) were in some extremely difficult situations,” he said. “Although I am disappointed they broke ranks I respect them for being brave against Jack Warner and the TTFF.
“The others... I have no time for,” he continued. “There are a couple I cannot wait to see personally... those who were the most vocal against the TTFF.”
He admitted that, if the blacklist was not imposed on the ‘striking’ players, “we would have qualified for the 2010 World Cup (in South Africa).
“We were just maturing as a squad, and we were still hungry,” he added. “By the time the blacklist was “supposedly” lifted the damage was already done.”
Regarding Latapy’s appointment as coach, Jack noted, “I have no idea what type of coach Russell is but I guess you have to start somewhere. Personally I would have brought in an experienced international manager who isn’t afraid to make decisions.
“Maybe Russell could have worked alongside this person,” he continued.
“Of course something isn’t right. We are terribly disorganised, it’s a joke. I will not go into details.”
Sancho and Kevin Jeffrey are involved in administrative roles at North East Stars— Sancho is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) while Jeffrey is the Director of Football.
“I am really pleased for them both,” he said. “They are good football people, the type of persons needed in Trinidad and Tobago football.”
When asked if he would like to join the club, he responded, “I will not consider it at this stage, but never say never.”