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Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Sunday, 23 March 2008

Hopes raised for Gretna survival

Paul Hartley beats Gretna's Abdul Osman to the ball
A small crowd turned out for Gretna's match with Celtic

Gretna's administrator David Elliott is hopeful the struggling club will survive beyond the end of the season.

Elliot, who told BBC Sport that talks with potential investors were at an early stage, said: "I've stabilised things as best I can at the moment.

And when asked if the club would be around for the next campaign, he replied: "That's what we're aiming for.

"I should have sufficient funds for bringing the players' wages up to date by Tuesday or Wednesday."

Gretna lost 3-0 to Celtic on Sunday and their financial plight was not helped by a low attendance of just 3,651.

The club made an appeal for fans to turn up in numbers but the match, which was switched to Livingston's Almondvale, was made all-ticket in advance.

"There was no cash gate on the turnstiles," explained Elliot. "I wish we had had that option."

Gretna's bid for survival has been aided by a cash advance from the SPL and Elliot was confident that all staff would get paid regularly until the end of the season.

Players were told they were free to leave after the delay in receiving their wages.

Aurelien Collin and Mickael Buscher are exercising that right, while injured midfielder Fabian Yantorno is expected to follow.

However, skipper Chris Innes has not found another club and may well return next week.


Caretaker manager Mick Wadsworth took time out to praise all the work Elliot had done for the SPL's bottom side.

He said: "I have to give the administrators great credit because they have worked tirelessly, to be fair.

"For me, it's an incredible day when I'm saying that administrators have done well.

"They've got a difficult business and the club could have died very easily one more than one evening over the last month.

"At least now we can get to the middle of May, and salaries will be paid, and hopefully someone will come in and take the club over and make it even better for the future."

He went on to criticise the decision not to allow paying customers access to Almondvale on the day of the match.

He asked: "I don't know if I'm just a silly old sod but where is the common sense?

"If there is a pay-gate on the day, what are they expecting, the Khmer Rouge with Kalashnikovs or football supporters?

"If it was only another 10 or 50, that is very important for us."

see also
Gretna 0-3 Celtic
23 Mar 08 |  Scottish Premier

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