On the eve of the World Cup Ian Clarkson talks to Stern John about his hopes and dreams for the days that lie ahead...
World Cup expectations are notoriously unrealistic as the footballing extravaganza approaches but it is not a phenomena unique to England.
After Italy suffered a shock defeat at the hands of North Korea in 1996 they returned to Rome Airport and were pelted with rotting fruit and vegetables.
However, that was insignificant in comparison to the punishment dispensed to Andres Escobar after his own goal sentenced Colombia to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the USA.
An impressive qualifying victory in Argentina had sent expectation levels soaring in Bogota and Escobar paid with his life after being shot dead by gunmen on his return home.
Iraq's failure to qualify for either the 1994 or 1998 World Cup finals resulted in routine torture and beatings from their manager Uday Hussein.
By way of contrast, England's description of Graham Taylor as a Turnip seems remarkably tame.
Even minnows aren't exempt from the animosity a World Cup disappointment engenders. After being the first player to fail a drugs test at the World Cup finals, Haiti's Ernest Jean-Joseph claimed he was beaten up by Haitian officials at a German airport.
Whilst none of this has any particular bearing on Trinidad & Tobago's World Cup fixture with England it is a harbinger of how this Caribbean nation of little more than one million inhabitants expects the Soca Warriors to obliterate one of the favourites. Stern John is acutely aware of the expectations of the Trinidadian public.
The Coventry City striker has scored more international goals than Ronaldo, Bobby Charlton and Jurgen Klinsmann yet he was still the recipient of some fearsome abuse from the nation.
Despite the fact his strike ratio is better than two in every three games, he was still the chief recipient during a fallow period as their World Cup hopes appeared to be dissolving. The arrival of Leo Beenhakker led to an upsurge in fortunes and even greater expectations of teaching the former colonial masters a harsh lesson.
England will be overwhelming favourites when the two sides lock horns in Nuremberg next Thursday. Yet, that won't prevent the Caribbean island's population expecting the 1,000-1 outsiders to deliver one for the biggest World Cup upsets of all time.
"Everyone in Trinidad thinks we are going to beat England and it is going to be a walkover," laughed John.
"They have an opinion and we should be able to compete against the likes of England but it is a very tall order.
"Bless them! They genuinely think we are going to win. But football is a strange game and anything can happen.
People don't know about Trinidad & Tobago, so we may surprise a lot of people. Most of our players play in Europe and Britain and we know what it is like to get stuck in and really have a go.
"Maybe it would be different if it was a bunch of local players from the Caribbean who don't realise the magnitude of going to the World Cup. It is really big for all of the players, even those who play in England like myself.
"Playing against England and Sweden is unbelievable and you might not get this chance again, so you need to make the most of it.
"We know the fans like to party in Trinidad and there will be a carnival atmosphere in Germany."
A carnival was the furthest thought from John's mind when the nation vented their spleen against him during a goal drought.
"I had a hard time and I don't know what it (verbal abuse) was about," said John.
"Maybe I spoiled them because I had scored so many goals and was going through a drought, which is understandable for a striker.
"I was surprised and very hurt with the way they acted. I never turned my back on the country and there were other players who had done that before.
"I was there through the good times and bad times and I was the payer who put my club career on the line to play for my country.
"I always went to play and when I came back my club, managers would give me stick and I couldn't always get back into the team.
"So the response that the supporters gave me when I was under pressure really disappointed me. I was coming back to play for you guys and try to get us to the World Cup. I want to make it better for the country and this is the thanks I get.
"But, as a professional, you have to roll with the punches. The only way to silence your critics is do what you do best and hit the back of the net."
John's earliest memory of the World Cup was watching his heroes lose 1-0 against USA in Port of Spain in 1989.
It prevented Trinidad & Tobago from making their World Cup debut and his lasting memory was of grown men openly weeping on the pitch, such was the enormity of the occasion.
However, when the clarion call reached Beenhakker, he wasn't prepared to let such an opportunity slip through their grasp once again and overcame Bahrain in the playoffs. And John will forever be indebted to the legendary Dutch coach.
"Everyone was telling the manager to get rid of me," admitted John
"However, the manager is a good professional and knows what type of player he has. He believed in me and has made a massive difference.
"No disrespect to the coaches before, but it wasn't as professional as we wanted it to be for a team trying to qualify for the World Cup.
"What he did was make us believe, give us that passion we all know we don't have in the Caribbean. We are usually laid back and 'whatever,' but he made us feel we belong in the World Cup. He came when we had one point from four games and is a miracle worker."