While Manchester City's mega-rich stars were winning the Premier League last season, the Leeds defender Jason Pearce was scratching around for money while playing at financially stricken Portsmouth.
The contrast between the two clubs – with Portsmouth £56 million, or one-and-a-half Sergio Agueros, in debt – is huge. On numerous occasions Pearce, who faces City in the FA Cup fifth round today, wasn't paid his wages, and he still hasn't been paid all of them.
Pearce, 25, joined Neil Warnock's side in the summer. He believes City's players and the rest of the Premier League do not realise how lucky they are. "The top players don't know how well they've got it sometimes," he said. "I had to scratch around for money at times at Portsmouth last season. I am owed money by Portsmouth and I know a lot of players from last season are as well. I am willing to take a percentage cut of that to help them out.
"I want to help them in any way I can, but I don't think little amounts like that would help them at the minute, and that is the difference between the Premier League and the rest of football.
"The problems they have got there are unbelievable, and it is sad to see. We had to take wage deferrals and some months we didn't even get paid, borrowing money to get by.
"I bet Manchester City's players have never had to worry about things like that. It is a different world that they live in. They work hard for their money, but they have to realise the fans who come and watch are paying their huge wages.
"That is why I think fans are entitled to their opinions in booing players and getting on their backs. You see the true colours of players in the FA Cup matches with teams like Manchester City and Chelsea.
"If Chelsea play, for example, Aldershot, and lose when they should be winning, you have to say they haven't applied themselves. Teams show more heart when you get lower down the Leagues."
Pearce, who was appointed as Leeds's vice-captain, kept the £50m forward Fernando Torres quiet when Portsmouth faced Chelsea in the FA Cup last season, and he insists he can do the same to City's Aguero and Carlos Tevez.
"Tevez and Aguero will be a nightmare to mark, they are small and tough to play against, but Torres went to Chelsea for £50m and I marked him well," he said.
"I knew going into that game against Chelsea for Portsmouth in the FA Cup last season that it was going to be hard, and people don't expect a lot of you. But I thought I did well.
"You learn a lot playing against the calibre of those types and it is a pleasure to get the chance to face them. Torres didn't get many chances on the day and hopefully Tevez and Aguero don't either. We can beat anyone on our day, so we're all looking forward to the match."Reuse content