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Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Portsmouth players to pay wages of four employees

Portsmouth players
Pompey are the first Premier League club to enter administration

Portsmouth players have stepped in to save the jobs of four of the club's training ground staff, manager Avram Grant has said.

The debt-ridden club laid off 85 staff in a bid to cut costs after going into administration in February.

But players and staff have rallied to cover the wages of the club groundsman, a masseur and two others.

"The players, me, the staff and everybody contributed, and I must say we were happy to do it," said Grant.

"Most of these people were here before me and the players, and they will be here after. We need to keep them."

Among those whose jobs have been saved by the gesture - reported to be costing each player around £1,500 - is former Royal Navy sailor Tug Wilson who now works as groundsman.

"Tug has done a lot of years here and works from the morning until the night on very low wages," said Grant.

"He does a great job and I'm happy he's here. I think the moment the club loses its human side is the first step towards it being finished."


Wilson, who earned £60-a-day for taking care of Pompey's training pitches in Eastleigh, said he was amazed by the move, thought to have been suggested by goalkeeper David James.

"You read a lot of bad things about footballers these days," Wilson told the Daily Mail. "But what's been happening here has been amazing."

Pompey boss Grant, whose side host his former club Chelsea at Fratton Park on Wednesday, insisted that staff whose jobs had been saved and those who were carrying on without their former colleagues were key members of his team.

"We have a kit man who works from the morning until the evening and takes care of 11 teams alone," he added.

"He was with two assistants but they are not here now because of the situation. I look at him and I don't know what to say. I admire him.

"I admire these people because they are not in the spotlight but, without them, there is no team.

"Even at Chelsea, where you have players coming and going, you cannot succeed without these people helping us. These people are very special and we live with them day by day.

"I'm very happy the players and staff did what they did. It means a lot to me personally because football is not just a cold business."

The south-coast club employed 166 staff full-time and 154 part-time before it became the first Premier League side to go into administration. The subsequent nine-point penalty has left them 14 points from safety in the Premier League and all-but certain to suffer relegation.

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see also
League probes Pompey rules breach
22 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey drop Dindane over 4m fee
21 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth enter administration
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth give wages assurance
02 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
UK investor weighs up Pompey bid
21 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Storrie quits role at Portsmouth
12 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth reveal financial state
17 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth

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