Russell Nigel Latapy CM (born 2 August 1968) is a Trinidadian retired footballer who played as an attacking midfielder, and a coach. In a senior career which spanned more than twenty years at both club and international level, he played in Portugal (eight years with three clubs, most notably Porto) and Scotland (eleven seasons representing four teams, including Hibernian, Rangers and Falkirk).
|Full name||Russell Nigel Latapy|
|Date of birth||2 August 1968|
|Place of birth||Port of Spain, Trinidad|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|1988–2009||Trinidad and Tobago||81||(29)|
|2009||Trinidad and Tobago (assistant)|
|2009–2011||Trinidad and Tobago|
|2014–2015||Inverness CT (assistant)|
|2017||Trinidad and Tobago (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Port of Spain, Latapy was first noted playing organised football at under-10 level. As a youth he played in the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary School's Football League, and was called up to the national under-16 and under-19 teams.
When he was 19 years old, Latapy had an opportunity to attend Florida International University, but he chose to continue with his football career. This decision was supported by his mother despite the fact that in the 1980s very few Trinidadians were noted to have had careers in the sport that allowed them to earn a decent living.
In 1990, aged 22, after playing in his country and in Jamaica, Latapy moved to Portugal and signed for Académica de Coimbra, playing four years in the second division. During his spell in Coimbra, he appeared in nearly 150 official games, and scored eighteen goals in his last two seasons combined, but the club failed to win promotion. He also credited coach Vítor Manuel as one of the coaches he admired the most.
Latapy's performances with Académica saw him signed by FC Porto. Under Bobby Robson, he helped the club to back-to-back national championships, being used regularly in his second year (twenty-six games, five goals). Also, he earned the distinction of being the first Trinidadian to play in the UEFA Champions League.
In summer of 1996, Latapy signed with city neighbours Boavista FC. On 29 October, he scored twice in a 5–0 home win against FC Dinamo Tbilisi in that season's UEFA Europa League (5–1 on aggregate), and was also part of the squad that won the campaign's Portuguese Cup, even though he did not play in the final against S.L. Benfica (3–2).
In the 1998 off-season, Latapy was recruited by manager Alex McLeish to join Scottish First Division side Hibernian. He quickly became a fan favourite at his new club and earned numerous team accolades, including two Player of the Year awards and a Scottish Division 1 Player of the Year award; he also contributed with six goals in twenty-three games in an eventual promotion to the Premier League, as champions.
Despite his contributions, Latapy was sacked from Hibernian early in 2001 after a night that began with him socialising with countryman and Manchester United player Dwight Yorke, and ended with him being charged by police for drunk driving. The incident represented a breach of the code of conduct for Hibernian players, who were forbidden to drink for 48 hours before a match. It was around this time that both players quit international football after being dropped from the starting line-up by national coach Renê Simões, after they failed to show up for a training session.
Following his dismissal from Hibernian, Latapy was signed by Rangers, who were managed by Dick Advocaat. He failed to reproduce his best form at Ibrox Stadium, even when McLeish replaced the Dutchman at the helm of the club – the new manager expressed a desire to field younger players, Latapy was 34; in addition to his age, his partying tendencies also did little to put him in favour with the coach, and he eventually left in January 2003.
Latapy finished the 2002–03 season with fellow league team Dundee United. In the summer, he was brought to Falkirk by manager John Hughes, his former teammate at Hibs, who had 'tracked him down' in Portugal. The veteran started strongly, scoring a total of fourteen league goals in his first two seasons, and was an essential component of the team as they returned to the top flight in 2005, as champions. In the process, he was awarded the First Division 'Player of the Month' for April and was again named the league's Player of the Year.
Latapy received another individual award in 2006, this time the SPL 'Player of the Month' for August. The Bairns once again retained their top division status in 2008–09, but he only appeared in three games, leaving the club in January 2009 at nearly 41 after 194 competitive appearances (29 goals), and signed with Caledonia AIA in his homeland. Latapy was inducted into the 'Falkirk Hall of Fame' on 29 November 2008. To mark this occasion the club hosted a 'Russell Latapy Day'. In October 2011, at 43, he came out of retirement to sign for East of Scotland Football League's Edinburgh City, ahead of their Scottish Cup tie against Irvine Meadow.
Latapy's debut for Trinidad and Tobago was on 30 October 1988, in a 0–0 home draw against Honduras for the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He was part of the squad known as the Strike Squad whom, needing only one point in its last game to qualify for the finals in Italy, was defeated 0–1 at home by the United States.
In 2005, after four years without one single appearance, Latapy returned to the national team following the intervention of his friend Yorke – who had done the same the previous year – and FIFA vice-president Austin "Jack" Warner. His first match in his second spell was a 3–2 home win over Guatemala in which he scored, and he took part in a further five contests in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, including both games in the decisive playoffs against Bahrain, with the Soca Warriors qualifying to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in its history.
Latapy's input in the finals in Germany consisted of 25 minutes in the 0–2 loss against Paraguay, in an eventual group stage exit. The national team returned to a hero's welcome at Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and, in recognition of their achievements, each member of the team was awarded Trinidad and Tobago's second highest honour, the Chaconia Medal in gold, and TT$1,000,000.
- Scores and results list Trinidad and Tobago's goal tally first.
|1.||23 May 1991||Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica||Dominican Republic||4–0||7–0||1991 Caribbean Cup|
|3.||25 May 1991||Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica||Martinique||1–0||1–0||1991 Caribbean Cup|
|4.||30 May 1991||Independence Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica||Guyana||1–0||3–1||1991 Caribbean Cup|
|6.||19 April 1992||Hadely Court Stadium, Bridgetown, Barbados||Barbados||1–0||2–1||1994 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|7.||21 June 1992||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Antigua and Barbuda||3–0||7–0||1992 Caribbean Cup|
|9.||27 June 1992||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Jamaica||2–0||3–1||1992 Caribbean Cup|
|10.||21 June 1992||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Norway||1–2||3–2||Friendly|
|13.||10 January 1996||Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, United States||El Salvador||1–2||2–3||1996 CONCACAF Gold Cup|
|15.||24 May 1996||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Jamaica||1–0||1–0||1996 Caribbean Cup|
|16.||26 May 1996||Industry Park, Palo Seco, Trinidad and Tobago||Suriname||1–0||3–0||1996 Caribbean Cup|
|18.||28 May 1996||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Saint Kitts and Nevis||1–0||3–2||1996 Caribbean Cup|
|21.||15 June 1996||Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||rowspan="2" Dominican Republic||1–0||4–1||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|23.||23 June 1996||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Dominican Republic||8–0||8–0||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|24.||15 February 2000||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, United States||Guatemala||1–0||4–2||2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup|
|25.||23 July 2000||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Mexico||1–0||1–0||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|26.||3 September 2000||Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Canada||1–0||4–0||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|27.||16 June 2001||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Honduras||1–3||2–4||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|28.||3 September 2005||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Guatemala||1–1||3–2||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|29.||15 October 2008||Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||United States||1–0||2–1||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
Latapy became assistant to Trinidad and Tobago manager Francisco Maturana and, following the Colombian's resignation in 2009, was appointed his successor. On 13 January 2011, it was confirmed by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association that Latapy would cease his duties as national manager, as the team failed to qualify to the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup after being eliminated before the semi-final stage of the 2010 Caribbean Cup. In his 23 games in charge, he recorded nine wins, three draws and eleven losses.
On 1 April 2019 Latapy became manager of the Barbados National Team on a 2-year contract.
- Trinidad and Tobago
- T&T Footballer of the Year in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1996
- Scottish Premier League: Player of the Month August 2006
- Scottish First Division: Player of the Year 1998–99, 2004–05
- Scottish First Division: Player of the Month April 2005
- Hibernian Player of the Year in 1998–99, 1999–00
- T&T Chaconia Medal Gold (World Cup qualifying squad) in 1989
- T&T Chaconia Medal Gold (World Cup Finals squad) in 2006
- T&T Hummingbird Medal Gold (for Sport) in 1996
- Edinburgh Evening News Sports Personality of the Year in 1999
- T&T Olympic Committee Sports Personality of the Year in 2000
- Nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year in 2000
- Nominated for the BBC Scotland's Off The Ball Overseas Player of the Year in 2004
- Best XI 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup
- As of 19 November 2019
- The Bell's Scottish Football Review 2005.06. Cre8 Publishing. 2005. p. 24. ISBN 9-780954-855611.
- "Latapy – the man, his moments, his dreams". Trinidad Guardian. 12 October 2005. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- Russell Latapy; FIFA.com Archived 17 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "Latapy axed by Hibs". BBC Sport. 22 May 2001. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- Katrina Tweedie (7 May 2003). "The Russell Latapy story – Part III: The 'lime' that soured Latapy's career". Trinidad Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Yorke and Latapy quit". BBC Sport. 29 June 2001. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Gers to pay off Latapy". BBC Sport. 14 January 2003. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Falkirk snap up Latapy". BBC Sport. 14 June 2003. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Latapy to star in Pro League". Archived from the original on 27 April 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
- "Little Magician is to be honoured by supporters". Falkirk Herald. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- Hardie, David (19 October 2011). "Ex-Hibs ace Latapy returns to Scottish football". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Russell Latapy – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "The story of our 2006 World Cup success". Soca Warriors. 25 November 2005. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Latapy's back". Trinidad Guardian. 23 August 2005. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
- "Exit, center stage". Planet World Cup. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Prime Minister Manning clarifies rewards to Soca Warriors". Office of the Prime Minister: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 26 June 2006. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
- "Latapy is Trinidad's new head coach". The Scotsman. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "The rise, fall & future of a T&T football legend". Soca Warriors. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- "Latapy and technical staff out". Soca Warriors. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Latapy: "Quero conquistar espaço como técnico"" [Latapy: "I want to make room for myself as a manager"]. Record (in Portuguese). 4 July 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Inverness Caley Thistle closing in on deal to appoint Russell Latapy as John Hughes' assistant". Daily Record. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Latapy arrives". Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Russell Latapy". Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- "Coach Latapy joins Warriors". Trinidad Guardian. 2 January 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Thumbs Up For Latapy". Nation News. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- Magician disappears Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine; Trinidad Guardian, 10 May 2006
- Latapy, 38, named player of month; BBC Sport, 8 September 2006