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TTFA agrees “Tallest” terms: Lawrence makes U-turn, “humbled” to be new T&T coach

Former Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 defender Dennis Lawrence has done a U-turn and will be unveiled as the new Soca Warriors coach, after he agreed terms with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) on Saturday morning.

“I feel very honoured and humbled by this opportunity and the confidence placed in me by the Association,” said Lawrence, in a press release. “I have given my all for Trinidad and Tobago as a player and now relish this moment to contribute as head coach of the National Team.”

Photo: Former Everton FC assistant coach Dennis Lawrence. (Copyright Everton Forum)
Photo: Former Everton FC assistant coach Dennis Lawrence.
(Copyright Everton Forum)

It is uncertain at this point whether he eventually agreed a two or three year deal.

Lawrence, who was employed as a scout for the Belgium National Senior Team at present, pulled out of talks on Friday morning after the football body amended their initial deal with controversial termination clauses and then seemed unable to explain them.

The TTFA wanted the right to sack the six foot seven Lawrence for gross misconduct if the Warriors slipped six places in the FIFA ranking or had less than a 40 percent success rate. But, in a subsequent phone call, Lawrence’s agent, Mike Berry, claimed TTFA president David John-Williams did not know if draws counted as success and promised to get back on to him.

John-Williams’ failure to do so in a timely fashion added to a growing unease about the sudden direction of the negotiations and Lawrence announced that the deal was off.

The scuppering of the talks led to a furious response from some TTFA board members who blamed John-Williams for bungling the talks.

John-Williams, who is the co-owner of W Connection football club, was allegedly keen to have his own employee, Stuart Charles-Fevrier, take over the National Senior Team.

Photo: W Connection owner David John-Williams (second from left), coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier (centre) and defender Joel Russell (far left) say a prayer of thanks after securing the 2013/14 Pro League trophy at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection owner David John-Williams (second from left), coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier (centre) and defender Joel Russell (far left) say a prayer of thanks after securing the 2013/14 Pro League trophy at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

It is uncertain what role, if any, was played by the board and the angry public response to John-Williams’ perceived meddling. But the TTFA president is believed to have subsequently applied fresh zeal to the pursuit of the 42-year-old coach.

And, by Saturday morning, the deal was concluded.

Remarkably, the TTFA tried to take credit for the supposed speed of the appointment, which came two months after the replacement of former head coach Stephen Hart and almost two weeks after the departure of his shambolic replacement, Tom Saintfiet.

“The TTFA has worked diligently to complete the selection process ahead of our intended next Monday deadline, and this press release is now being made in order to quell further speculation and keep our stakeholders informed.

“Dennis will arrive in the country next week where he will hold a press conference and meet with members of the local football fraternity to determine the rest of his support staff.”

Lawrence has never worked as a head coach although he served as assistant to Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic—where they edged Manchester City to the FA Cup title in 2013—and Everton FC.

Photo: Former Everton FC coach Dennis Lawrence. (Copyright Liverpool Echo)
Photo: Former Everton FC coach Dennis Lawrence.
(Copyright Liverpool Echo)

Intriguingly, like his predecessor Tom Saintfiet, Lawrence was not the first choice of the TTFA’s technical committee. Or the second.

Fevrier was the coach who the technical committee felt was the best man for the job of leading the Warriors. Ex-Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick, a former England international defender, was next on the list.

However, in a meeting on Wednesday night, the TTFA board of directors decided to overrule its technical committee’s recommendations in favour of the lanky defender whose goal took Trinidad and Tobago to the 2006 World Cup.

Lawrence played or trained alongside several current Warriors including Kenwyne Jones, Marvin Phillip, Carlos Edwards, Khaleem Hyland, Jan-Michael Williams, Cornell Glen, Hughtun Hector and Radanfah Abu Bakr.

He has included former club and international teammates Stern John, Angus Eve and Hutson “Barber” Charles as potential assistants for his technical staff, along with two unnamed England coaches and one from the Netherlands.

Charles, a Strike Squad standout who played with Lawrence at the Defence Force, was a member of Hart’s coaching staff, which steered Trinidad and Tobago into the Concacaf Hex.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team technical staff members (from right) Michael "Brow" Maurice, Derek King, Hutson "Barber" Charles and William Wallace exchange ideas before kick off against Nicaragua on 13 October 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team technical staff members (from right) Michael “Brow” Maurice, Derek King, Hutson “Barber” Charles and William Wallace exchange ideas before kick off against Nicaragua on 13 October 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Eve, Trinidad and Tobago’s record appearance maker, is Club Sando head coach and a former National Under-23 Team head coach while John, the country’s all-time leading scorer, is assistant coach at defending Pro League and Caribbean champions, Central FC.

TTFA press statement (signed by president David John-Williams and new head coach Dennis Lawrence):

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is pleased to announce that Mr Dennis Lawrence has accepted the position of head coach of the Men’s Senior National Team.

The TTFA has worked diligently to complete the selection process ahead of our intended next Monday deadline, and this press release is now being made in order to quell further speculation and keep our stakeholders informed…

Dennis will arrive in the country next week where he will hold a press conference and meet with members of the local football fraternity to determine the rest of his support staff.

In accepting the appointment, Dennis Lawrence stated: “I feel very honoured and humbled by this opportunity and the confidence placed in me by the Association. I have given my all for Trinidad and Tobago as a player and now relish this moment to contribute as head coach of the National Team.

“Of course I am coming into a difficult situation and we have to take each game very seriously and put our best foot forward. The experience I gained working under different coaches during my 89 international caps for T&T and my exposure in coaching has all helped to shape me. I intend to give my very best towards this national effort.”

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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299 comments

  1. I told you all he getting it and he did looking at lotto numbers now was alone in the airport wit the press to meet new coach asked DJW if Dennis Lawrence getting the same threat as last coach Sen Feik as that seems to be his modos oporandi he did not reply we await his statement hope the press will ask the hard questions they all just laughed when i asked it Lasana Liburd you was missed

  2. Any word on his staff ? I have a feeling Legend 14 will be an assistant

  3. Think he’s the best of the lot. Wish him well. He must not compromise on discipline though.

  4. Well said my coach n my brother n true friend

  5. FINALLY…TTFA has made a POSITIVE decision for football within Trinidad and Tobago..Selecting Dennis Lawrence brings a coach who has experience representing the Soca Warriors, understands our culture and has taken the time to develop the expertise needed as a coach to lead us to the next level. Dennis Lawrence, unlike our former “short termed” coach, hopefully will take the time necessary to create some level of rapport with All players both locally and internationally without ridicule before they attempt to represent our country as a team.

    Dennis over the years has been a disciplined player and I will expect the same as a coach, we now need to give him and players alike time to learn to play within “his” system of play that will come with time. I was a happy warrior under Hart and I am again a HAPPY SOCA WARRIOR with Coach “D” Lawrence!!!

  6. Another backward step. The guy a good player. But he is still not experienced enough for that job. Asst coach not head for now at least. TTFA panicking and making rash decisions.

  7. Dennis you’re feeling humbled now but soon you’ll feel humiliated. Best thing you can do for that team is buy them wigs, face paint and baggy pants cuz they’re a bunch of drunken clowns. Disgrace of a team, disgrace of a federation.

  8. Congratulations to Dennis Lawrence on his new appointment! Can T&T please refer to him by his name rather than by his “nick” name? I have always wondered why our football teams have been known as the Strike Squad and as the Soca Warriors. To Mr. Lawrence I say good luck. I sincerely hope that you know what you are up against both on and off the field. Best of luck!

  9. who is the communication officer in TTFA???????

  10. Try a little tenderness dennis the menace Williams waste of time with him

  11. Lasana Liburd keep the fire against TTFA burning…the world want to know what is going on in TT football???????

  12. That is the most experience person we have out there but here the fuckrey people talking, support or shot to fuck up

  13. I am happy for another local accepting an offer to be our Senior National team Coach, he is quite aware of what lies ahead from all involved…..My opinion..Is if DJW had Terry proposal in the hat and had intentions of going local, No way Dennis coaching history is better locally or overseas than Terry,and their playing experience cannot be compared…I do like the young blood coaches and I look forward but not for a senior team when we are trying to build a reputable voice to the rest of the world??

  14. Shawn Babooram, we asked repeatedly for the under-20 players who were in camp last week. The coach and TTFA refused to give it to us–or kept stalling to the same effect.
    Makes me wonder what is going wrong with that team. Roneil K Walcott, stay on top of it if you can.

  15. We dont only need a new coach we need a miracle.

  16. where is wired888volley with the news????????????????????

  17. Hannibal Najjar

    Too many fathers for this family of football brothers in too short a time! We mudder, T&TFA, changing men in “she” life like babies change pampers! We, the “chilren” are the ones that are hurting – who is we daddy? Harry Belafonte’s “Mama look a boo boo dey” keep playing in meh head. When we changing fadders, in such quick time how we go expect de children to listen to de next fadder or remember wha dis one want from de last, and, de last before he – we bouncing we head wid a set ah different rules! Confusion in de players’ head and now all mus be tinking bout saying “hands up, who is we fadder” and who said dis or dat? “Tallest” (DHL – Dennis “Header-Boy” Lawrence) be carefull brudder, because like, Fernando “Pancho” Sancho said to de tallest at a cowboy bar, “yuh is de tallest now, buh wen I drop yuh, you go be de longest”! Dennis, the task is ominous – good luck and personally, fullest respects and encouragement and, God’s blessings.

  18. Brave man to accept the poisoned Chalice

  19. The under 20 team was to be named yesterday I have looked everywhere but can’t find anything.

  20. No disrespect to tallest but in my opinion Terry Fenwick would have been a more rational choice

  21. what ultimatum TTFA President give Dennis Lawrence…Sainfest was given 4 weeks to WIN or be FIRED??????????????????????? only in TT football…

  22. Trinidadians so bleddy negative eh smh…..give d man a chance smh….

  23. Yes yes yes, a black man, now we talking,, play ball

  24. He’s already got more support from the public et al than Saintfiet had at the start of his tenure, so that’s a plus..

  25. Just hope they give him time

  26. OH MY! why you take that Job in your young promising career, them fellas a no good, you just can’t coach a fish to walk on land. lol

  27. Well it is the first foreign base Coach that is telling the TRUTH about the football madness in our sweet country and my Coach Hart should have expose them the same way. steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

    • Tom might not have been the coach we wanted but he might have been the one we needed. He said it as it has not been said before. Remember our culture of the maximum leader…..

    • And as I said before if he had the right players. he would have surely qualified for the Gold Cup 2017 and then unto the Hex but I really believed that he was set up to fail from day one because of somebody’s personal agenda in the corrupted TTFA. Them really good yes.

    • Earl Mango Pierre I hope that he started the revolution.

    • Nah the revolution will be starting in our sweet country and it won’t be Televised just let Coach Dennis that has no stats fail miserably, they will all get the speed that they are looking for and “We and the public eh go business” Them really good yes.