Gretna Glad To Be Talking Football Again
The prospect of facing Celtic today is a welcome distraction from the financial woes of their club for the players and management of Gretna. While there has been some progress in terms of maintaining the club as a going concern, the weight of the unknown is a heavy one to bear. One man who has some experience of working in such limbo is manager Mick Wadsworth who has lost his job in the past at the hands of administrators. The situation is different at Gretna as the team of administrators are willing to keep the club going. Wadsworth was one of the victims at cash-starved Huddersfield back in 2003 and has walked into another financial crisis at Gretna. The former FA coach, who joined the Black and Whites as director of football in July 2006, took on the job of caretaker-boss when Davie Irons left for Morton weeks before administrators were called in. Wadsworth is full of praise for Wilson Field for maintaining the club and giving them hope of surviving. Thursday's cash advance from the SPL will allow Gretna to pay wages and see out the season, including today's home game to be played at Almondvale. The administrators have been talking with three interested parties over taking on the club. Wadsworth said: "I have to give David Elliot, who heads the administration, great credit because he has worked extremely hard. He has been tough and resilient to try to get an outcome that gives the football club a chance of carrying on. It gives us time for the administrators to talk to interested parties and the timescales will be lengthened. Hopefully one of the interested parties will come forward and pick up the baton and give the club a chance to exist next season and thereafter."
Wadsworth lost his job at Huddersfield after the players had not been paid for three months, and also quit as Norwich assistant manager in 1996 as the Canaries suffered financial problems. Wadsworth said: "It's been different here because I have been sacked in administration before. So I know how ruthless it can be and that's why it gives me great delight to give credit to the administrators because I have struggled at their hands. I understand why, that's not being critical towards them, but it was costly for me. Everybody has stuck together - the staff, chairman, secretary, and everybody deserves a lot of credit because it has been a team effort. In Norwich I had the opportunity to get out and take a job, I went to little old Scarborough as manager. I have seen it happen and it is sad. It can take clubs a long, long time to get over it."
With the SPL lending a financial hand with a wages guarantee, Wadsworth has more players available for the game against Celtic, after some declined to face Aberdeen last weekend due to concerns over wages and insurance cover. He and his squad have found preparing for the game a welcome break from the financial discussions. he said: "That's been easier - the football training has been fantastic. The players have had a lot of gallows humour. They have stuck together by and large and they have been absolutely terrific. The football side has been easy because that has been time to enjoy and switch off, likewise with the games. We know it's tough but to play Celtic is a great opportunity for anyone and we are really looking forward to it."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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