Date: 9th April 2010 at 9:46am
Written by:

I thought it was too good to be true!

Players returning from injury, meaning the number of ‘potential’ options available to Avram Grant giving him a selection headache of a GOOD kind for once – not something that can be said has been the case for sometime…

Yet, as has happened SO many times this season ahead of a ‘crucial game’, or in other cases just AFTER a ‘vital win’ to set us back again, we get more BAD news that rocks us ahead of Sunday’s semi final!

Admin Andy has had PLENTY to say to in general to the media since he came in, with a good helping given to ESPN Soccernet now.

Basically it seems that up to half a dozen players ‘could’ be playing their last game for Pompey this weekend, win or lose this semi, in fact one player might not even be available at all for ‘non-footballing’ reasons because of ‘contractual obligations’ to these players…

Should these unnamed players play at Wembley they cannot turn out again for us – unless they ‘waive’ these clauses – as they will earn new deals or large ‘bonus payments’, with one ‘key player’ not be able to play at all unless an agreement can be reached!

This is what Admin Andy told Soccernet, although ‘naming names’ was not something he would do: ‘it is a private matter, and far too sensitive to name the players concerned.

‘This affects five or six players who will not be allowed to play after the semi-final, and one who might not be allowed to play in the semi-final.

‘This all revolves around clauses in their current contracts which mean that the semi-final triggers a set number of games that either means the player is entitled, automatically, to have his contract renewed for next season, or that it triggers a variety of cash payments ranging from £100,000 to £50,000.’

Should that not be £50,000-£100,000? Unless it should be £100,000-£500,000? That would be frightening?!

Anyway, he continued: ‘so, if a player plays at Wembley he would trigger a new contract the club cannot afford, or if he reaches 20 or 25 games, it triggers cash payments, some of £100,000. These bullet payments means that they can play in the semi-final, but not play another game after it, unless they waiver those payments.

‘That would be tragic for the player if the team are in the final, but it will be the players’, or their agents’, decisions. They are going to have to forfeit those contractual obligations or they cannot play again.

‘As the club is in administration and as the administrator, I am not in a position to allow these payments or indeed to allow the players to automatically renew their contracts for next season.’

I am NOT having a pop at Admin Andy – although it is funny that it was not a ‘private’ enough matter to prevent pressure being applied in the public eye though, this is NOT his fault and we DO have to understand where he is coming from.

As a club we cannot allow high earners to ‘automatically trigger’ new contracts, nor can ‘bonus payments’ be justified, as a club in admin just cannot make these types of payments…

All in all it comes down to those doing these deals in the first place – ‘if’ any fresh clauses have been drawn up in the past 12-18-months then this is just criminal as we have been a club crippled with debt for several years now!

There was a ‘silver lining’ though, he does think that we might get one last bit of ‘flexibility’ from these players: ‘if you’re asking my opinion, I am sure there will be a great deal of flexibility from the lawyers. The players have made enormous sacrifices for this club and their team already. They have been supportive of the club’s crisis and they have been prepared to help as much as they can. Perhaps they will help one more time, but we shall have to wait and see.’

As said we cannot make these payments, or hand our new deals – at least not on current terms, although we WILL need players next season so could we not propose honouring any of these new contracts, should they be triggered, but on a 50% reduction of their wages?

This way players get the security of having a club, we have the security of having some players next season AND keep some form of continuity about the club too…

‘If’ these players do play and then ‘if’ we do beat Spurs then we will find out just how much playing football means to them as opposed to earning money, right?

Again I am NOT having a pop, this time at these players, they WERE offered these deals but if money meant more than a ‘potential’ FA cup final then this answers any questions you could put to them really…

At the same time I would ‘hope’ that they would not only waive these clauses for ‘one last hurrah’, that hurrah being a ‘possible’ FA cup final, but forfeit them for the final league games in-between as well, as these still mean something to us!

If it is not one thing with Pompey this season it is another…

Although I guess at the end of the day this issue, bar the one ‘key player’ is something to ‘worry about more’ AFTER the semi final, which is someways does beg the question: ‘why not have waited until AFTER the semi to spring it on us?’


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