As I mentioned last week, I was recently in Trinidad for an FA conference.

But please don't think for one moment I was basking in the sunshine.

Hot it certainly was, but my four-day trip was conducted totally inside either a hotel or conference centre.

The FA had been asked to conduct a conference about elite player development. Thirty four coaches attended - half from Trinidad & Tobago and the rest from islands such as the Caymans, Grenada, Dominica, Jamaica, St Vincent etc.

They were all either technical directors, head coaches or in charge of player development.

I was interested to see some of the names of the clubs in Trinidad - the biggest apparently is called Joe Public!

Of all the friendly faces in the room which welcomed us, I was surprised by one which was white - by name and colour.

He introduced himself immediately to me as being an out-and-out Saints supporter whose parents, Keith and Terry White, live in Maybush.

Gary White is the technical director in the Bahamas - tough job I suppose, but somebody has to do it!

His parents can be very proud of this young man, who took a leading role during the conference.

I suggested the coaches should all be formed into an association so that they could meet up every so often with practical sessions as well as indoor meetings. Gary would be an obvious choice as chairman.

It was interesting to hear the problems that these coaches face, not unlike many non-league or amateur fellas in our country - lack of facilities being top of the list.

They also have a problem getting the interest of youngsters in countries where cricket is traditionally the main sport.

And even though there is a lot more poverty and lack of work opportunities over there, they still have the same problems of kids being more interested in television and computer games.

However, the fact that Trinidad have just qualified for their first ever World Cup finals will obviously help in their area.

Their win occurred on the Wednesday and we were able to watch during the lunch break. The excitement among the coaches was a forewarning of what was to happen from then on in.

On my first evening in our hotel, the Tuesday, I found it difficult to sleep because workmen were drilling all night long nearby.

On the Wednesday night the good news was the workmen weren't at work. The bad news was they were all out singing and dancing.

But Thursday night was the real climax.

The team were arriving back at the local airport at tea time and the Prime Minister, within hours of the win, had proclaimed Thursday as a bank holiday so that everyone could welcome the boys back.

The flight from Bahrain was about 17 hours and then the bus journey took six hours with the climax, unfortunately for us again, the team arriving at the hotel - the same one as us!

I had a grandstand view from my balcony as the procession approached the hotel. It was like all of the carnivals you have ever seen rolled into one.

The steel drum band on the back of a wagon led the procession, thousands of people danced up the main street at the front and either side of the highway with the team bus engulfed further back.

Helicopters flew over, shining lights down so nobody missed anything.

But there was no sign of the coach, Dutchman Leo Beenhaaker, who took over after his predecessor had only taken one point from the first three games.

He got the team to the play-offs after a great 2-1 win over Mexico. After drawing 1-1 at home, not many held out much hope for an away win in what was to be a very hostile atmosphere in Bahrain.

But Leo finished the day triumphantly and in a fantastic personal position - as his contract had run out that evening!

I'm sure he will negotiate a good contract for the final stages.

The players that did make it back to Trinidad were only able to do so after frantic phone calls from Bahrain to their clubs to get permission to stay the extra day.

On our flight back on the Friday evening I was introduced to the goalkeeper, Kelvin Jack, who plays for Dundee.

We were leaving on Friday evening with a ten-and-a-half-hour flight in front of us due to arrive at Heathrow at 9.15 Saturday morning.

I jokingly said 'I suppose you'll be expecting to play tomorrow afternoon in Scotland?' I was amazed when he replied 'yes.' Unfortunately the plane landed an hour late and I last saw him while we were waiting for the luggage ringing his manager to tell him he had missed his connecting flight which took off at 10.45am.

I must ring the club to try and support the lad. He genuinely wanted to repay the fantastic support they had by taking the long journey home and he definitely was up for playing in the afternoon.

If anything he can blame his own Prime Minister, who was on the flight with us back to London which was held up at the beginning whilst he and his entourage arrived late.

So, yet another fairytale for football, but I don't think Trinidad will get too many results in the finals.

Their two stars are 37-year-old Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke, who is now 34 and had to be persuaded to play for the national team again.

Having said that, it may be interesting to see which players now decide they want to play because the team has reached the finals.

People like Bobby Zamora, and others, are eligible to represent Trinidad but have so far decided not to.

The problem with this is that it could then destroy the wonderful team spirit, which was so evident both on and off the pitch last week, if they are picked.