The Point Fortin Civic football club look likely to take to the field without Reynold Carrington for the first time in three years after the coach announced his shock resignation from the club this morning.
Carrington told Wired868 that he informed the players of his decision after training this morning. He has not discussed his departure with club officials yet but he doubts anything would change his mind.
“I just believe that it is time (to go),” said Carrington. “I think the players have lost motivation to play and I don’t feel the players are giving everything. I don’t think the players really understand the effort and support we have from the community and I’m not really seeing the improvement I want from them…
“So I want to allow someone fresh to come in with new ideas to take them forward.”
Club manager Ken McCree had not heard the news up until he was contacted by Wired868. He hopes that Carrington reconsiders.
“I called but I haven’t gotten on to (Carrington),” McCree told Wired868. “I called the chairman and he said that he heard that also… I hope it is just a rumour or a frustrated moment and we can talk about it soon.”
Should Carrington hold firm, his exit is likely to send shockwaves through the Point Fortin community and the top flight league.
A Point Fortin native himself, Carrington had brief professional stints in Indonesia and the United States. He won 36 international caps for Trinidad and Tobago and, as a deep-lying midfield playmaker or sweeper, set a platform for more illustrious teammates like Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy and Stern John to deliver the goods.
When W Connection joined the inaugural Professional Football League in 1999, club chairman David John Williams paid TT$75,000 to sign Carrington, Wesley Webb and David Atiba Charles from Point Fortin. And Carrington went on to captain Connection while he was the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s (TTFF) Player of the Year in 2000.
Carrington worked primarily as an assistant coach at Connection after he retired although he did lead the club for one season while Stuart Charles-Fevrier was in charge of the “Soca Warriors.” He also had a spell as a National Under-17 Team coach before he took over at Point Fortin in 2012.
Point Fortin were in the Southern Football Association (SFA) but, after an exciting season in which they advanced to the FA Cup quarterfinals, the club decided to skip a level and head straight for the Pro League.
Civic’s hurried rise did create some problems. The club added Trinidad and Tobago national goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and former international players Andre Toussaint and Andrei Pacheco to its roster and stormed to the top of the Pro League for much of the first three months. They ended the season fourth and just three points shy of a qualifying spot for the 2015 Caribbean Club Championships.
But financial issues always loomed beneath the surface and Civic struggled to meet its financial obligations for much of 2014, which wreaked havoc on its pre-season preparation for the ongoing season.
“We were unable to even hold a screening session before we joined the Pro League (in 2013),” said Carrington. “We got word that we were in the Pro League late and we made the transition in such a short space of time that we could not hold trials.
“Then because of sponsorship problems we were unsure if we would be back in Pro League in (2014) and we could not invite players to try out in those circumstances… It was unavoidable.”
It meant that, according to Carrington, there was never the competition for places and creative tension he would have liked at the club.
“There must be competition for places,” said Carrington. “If a player doesn’t have to compete for his spot, he will feel it is almost promised to him.”
The club’s precarious financial situation meant several players also had to seek employment outside to complement modest salaries, which affected training sessions and focus. And Carrington felt they were never really recaptured the enthusiasm that players showed as amateurs in the lower league.
“At the lower level, the players were all hungrier and their attitude to training and focus was much better even though they were not getting paid,” he said. “So I thought that wouldn’t be a problem at the top level. Now it seems they care more about what they can get out of it and not what their contribution can be…
“Almost all the players were there from in the (southern football league) and they knew what the club was trying to achieve. But that focus went away. Players started focusing on who plays or who in the 18 (man squad) but not what they need to do to get out there.”
Carrington stressed that he was not accusing all the players of having poor attitudes. But, collectively, their intensity was not good enough.
Civic’s only win from its first seven League games this season came against perennial stragglers, St Ann’s Rangers, while they were eliminated in the first round of the First Citizens Cup. However, they put a run together in the Toyota Classic Cup and eliminated Central FC en route to the final where they lost on penalties to San Juan Jabloteh.
“When we qualified for the Toyota final, I thought that would be enough for them to realise that we can accomplish something and their work won’t be in vain,” said Carrington. “We only had ourselves to blame for not winning the final. But I was hoping to see better effort in training and game preparation individually after that.
“Coaches have their roles but we are not magicians. Some supporters and even some players might think we just pick a team and, once we get the system and tactics in place, everything will be right. But players have to take responsibility too.
“Some of the players have been around and know what it takes to succeed at the top level. But as a group we are not getting that collective effort… And we need to be all for one or one for all.”
Civic spluttered to life briefly with successive Pro League wins over Police FC and a 6-2 annihilation of Caledonia AIA. But that was followed by narrow defeats to North East Stars and Jabloteh.
Incidentally, their 2-1 loss to Jabloteh came on Carrington’s 45th birthday on January 27. It might be his last game in charge of the club.
Carrington spoke candidly about the challenges he faced at Civic.
“With the financial constraints (at Civic), the coach is more of a caretaker and motivator whereas the top clubs have a structure in place so the coaches can focus on his job more,” he said. “He has an equipment manager and grounds in place for training and all the little things. But, in our set up, sometimes players cannot reach to training in time after work and so on.
“So it was challenging but I was grateful for the opportunity and I gave my best.”
The Civic club still hopes to get their coach to reconsider. But, for now, Carrington thinks they will be better off getting someone with fresh enthusiasm and ideas for the post.
“The most important thing is the club stays alive not me remaining coach,” said Carrington. “The high point for me was in the first year when we had a run and got to the FA Cup quarterfinal. The way the Point Fortin supporters responded to the team gave me a glimpse of the potential of the club and I hope it still materialises.
“Point is a football community but, going forward, we need things like a proper facility for our supporters. It is tough for people to pay their money and stand in the sun with nowhere to sit or no toilet facilities and so on.”
Carrington insisted that he will stay in the game although he is not sure what his next job will be.
“There is a saying that coaches don’t buy houses, they rent,” he said. “So they leave themselves open for opportunities wherever they come. It is not the end of the world for me.
“I am giving someone else the opportunity to try and get (Civic) back on track. And I will see what happens next and then dust myself off and go again.”
Wired868 failed to reach Civic captain Andre Ettienne or goalkeeper Marvin Phillip for comment on Carrington’s impending exit.
On Tuesday afternoon, Civic play defending champions DIRECTV W Connection from 3.30 pm at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin. More likely than not, Carrington will not be leading their charge against his former employers.