Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Griffith: I was not fired

Joe Public FC coach replaced by assistant

Joe Public Football Club is in the middle of a mini shakeup, with coach Keith Griffith making way for former national defender Derek King following Saturday's disappointing 2-2 draw against United Petrotrin in the T&T Pro League at their home ground, the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.

King, Joe Public assistant coach, is the "new and permanent head coach" for the remainder of the season, Joe Public managing director Darryl Warner confirmed yesterday in a media release, copied to chairman Jack Warner.

Also shown the door were defender Dexter Thornhill and goalkeeper Andre Charles Foster, "with immediate effect".

Griffith insists he was not fired, but quit after yet another poor result for the "Eastern Lions", and wants to set the record straight.

But the Barbadian, whose contract was set to run until the end of the 2008 Pro League season, says "that information is incorrect", pointing out that a collection of off the field issues forced him to tender his resignation on Saturday.

"At the conclusion of the game on Saturday against Petrotrin," Griffith, who turns 64 next week, related, "I called the managing director and told him I was resigning from the post. This is on Saturday. I told him officially I can't send it until Monday, because the office was closed. To say that they removed me of my duties, that is not fair."

The younger Warner indicated that the decision to remove Griffith and company was "based on the continued poor results and worsening senior team performances", Joe Public having finished last in their group in the CONCACAF Champions League, winning just one match and losing five.

But the outgoing head coach pointed out that his decision to step down was prompted by a combination of declining health, death threats, and lack of effort by players.

"A number of off-the-field issues and the indiscipline, lack of commitment from some players and the desire to play for 90 minutes and move up the standings is a major concern," he lamented, using Saturday's draw as a case in point.

Joe Public were 2-0 up by the 23rd minute, only to let the lead slip, Petrotrin escaping the "Lions' Den" with a point.

Griffith added that he had hoped to keep the issue out of the public domain, but was hard-pressed to understand how he could have been listed as being "relieved from my duties" after declaring his decision to resign immediately.

Still, he is keen to celebrate his 64th birthday with his family now that he is no longer a part of the Joe Public technical staff, and Griffith says there are no hard feelings.

"It (that release) was like going to the press without talking to me. But I'm not vex, I'm not bitter. I'm cool. I enjoyed the exercise, I got them to the second round (of the CONCACAF Champions League) and created history."