Gordon Taylor has insisted that his Professional Footballers' Association members will carry out their threat to strike if talks today fail to resolve the row over television money.
Taylor, the PFA chief executive, will meet with Richard Scudamore, David Burns and Adam Crozier, the chief executives respectively of the Premier League, the Football League and the Football Association.
The talks are aimed at finally resolving the row over how much the union should receive from television revenue. When the PFA balloted its 3,500 workforce, more than 99 per cent of the votes cast backed the decision to strike.
It has been suggested that one of the stumbling blocks in the talks so far is the fact that Taylor and Scudamore do not get on. Taylor dismissed that notion, but suggested that Scudamore did not fully understand the issues.
"We come from different backgrounds." said Taylor. "I have been in football for a long time, but Richard is not the same. He is a businessman and he didn't want to talk about any of the history of our agreements or the situation of the PFA, so I am not quite sure he fully understood in the beginning.
"I am prepared to deal with anybody, but it is common knowledge that it is 16 months since they made their agreement with television and we have been strung along for that period of time and that is why it has had to go to industrial action, because we were left with no other alternative."
It was put to Taylor on Radio Five Live yesterday morning that voting to strike and then actually carrying out that threat are two different things. However, Taylor said: "If you are saying players don't have the backbone to do it then I disagree. They feel very strongly about it and the return on the ballot has been unheard of in an industrial action.
"Players want to play, but this is about the very existence of the PFA and we feel there is a hidden agenda to diminish the PFA."
The PFA wants five per cent of all television revenue –- the same share it claims it has received since 1955, amounting to £8.8m last year. However, under the new £1.65bn deal won by the Premier League, the PFA has been offered £10m – less than two per cent – and £15m down on the figure they would have received under last year's percentage rate.
If today's talks fail to resolve the issue, the PFA will set about planning strike action and Taylor warned that could lead to a total halt to the professional game in England.
"We can pick and choose," Taylor said yesterday. "We will have options of individual games, of groups of games, or even whole blanket coverage. That strategy will have to be decided this week if we don't make any progress tomorrow."
The West Bromwich manager, Gary Megson, heads the chase to sign Tranmere's Welsh international prospect Jason Koumas. Megson wants a deal done quickly and is also pursuing Sunderland's Danny Dichio.
Millwall are making a £1m bid to sign Blackpool's 18-goal striker Brett Ormerod. But Blackpool want more money.
Blackburn Rovers' target Shefki Kuqi is in trouble with the new Stockport County manager, Carlton Palmer. Kuqi, a Finnish international, was left behind at the weekend when Stockport went to Watford and has been ordered to train from early morning this week.
Kuqi complained of an ankle injury, but Palmer felt he could have played and the pair had an argument about his fitness. Stockport rejected a £500,000 offer from Blackburn last week, but Palmer will sell Kuqi if the offer goes up to £1m.Reuse content