Carver gives ultimatum to Toronto FC

Toronto FC head coach John Carver says he'll leave the club if management can't bring in a star "designated player" for next season.

John Carver hasn't hidden the fact that he thinks Toronto FC needs to sign a star "designated player" in order to be competitive in Major League Soccer.

Earlier this week, the head coach once again staked his future with Toronto FC on the club's ability to add a designated player to the roster in time for the 2009 MLS season.

"I've gone on record and I'll say it again, because no matter what happens, at the end of the season, if I'm going to be here at this club, we have to do something about it. We have to bring in that quality-type of player," said Carver, who is on a one-year contract with a club option for the 2009 season.

Added the Englishman: "The club is aware of it, the management is aware of it, the fans are certainly aware of it, and we have to do it, because if we don't, I will definitely, definitely go home. No buts about it."

Under MLS rules, teams are granted one designated player roster spot that they can use to sign a marquee star, with only $400,000 US of his contract counting against the $2.1 million salary cap. Teams can also trade for a second DP slot.

The Los Angeles Galaxy famously made use of the DP rule to sign English superstar David Beckham in January 2007.

Carver said that it's important to sign a DP in order to reward the club's loyal fans who he feels have stuck by the team as it has struggled since joining the league in 2007.

"They’ve stayed with us for two years, they've been right behind us, they've supported everything we've done, but they can only do that for so long," Carver warned.

"We need to build the product on the field. In the first two years you take the view that you have to walk before you can run. Now we're ready to run and the time is right. That's why I'm making a big thing about it."

Carver insists Toronto must make the move for a DP for next season, regardless if the team, currently three points out of a playoff spot with three games left in the season, qualifies for the post-season.

"Even if we make the playoffs in this situation and we don’t [sign a DP], then I'll go home. I won't hang around. I couldn't do a job thinking I promised something and couldn't produce the goods," Carver said.

As for growing speculation over his future, Carver insists he's committed to staying in Toronto and he revealed that he recently turned down a pair of job offers.

"I've had other offers, two other offers. But I said no because I want to continue the job here and finish my job here in Toronto," said Carver, who declined to say which teams approached him.

There have also been rumours that he's set for a return to English Premier League club Newcastle United to work as an assistant coach if Alan Shearer is appointed the team's new manager. Joe Kinnear is serving as interim manager after Kevin Keegan resigned on Sept. 14.

Newcastle holds a special place in the Toronto coach's heart.

Carver is a former Newcastle player and served as the team's assistant coach under Bobby Robson before being named Toronto's head coach this past February, and he admits that a move back to his hometown club intrigues him.

"I haven't talked to anybody at the club about going back there," said Carver. "If things change, who knows, because I can never say I would never go back to Newcastle because that would be wrong of me. It's a club I love, but as it stands right now, all of my efforts are going into what I'm trying to do here."