David James tries to pay sacked Portsmouth staff's wages

Portsmouth keeper leads players' whip-round to save jobs at stricken club
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The Independent Football

David James is organising the Portsmouth players to pay the wages of up to eight training ground staff out of their own pockets after the club's administrator sacked them as part of major job cuts this week.

Earlier, James was turned down when he offered to pay the wages of the club's assistant kitman and their training-ground manager because it conflicted with the regulations of the administration procedure. However, the England goalkeeper has gone back to the club's administrator Andrew Andronikou to try to find a way that the players can help to save a group of catering staff, cleaners, kitmen and groundsmen.

The Portsmouth squad feel that it would be virtually impossible for the club to function on a day-to-day basis without the core of eight staff whom they are prepared to pay personally.

Andronikou imposed 85 job cuts on Wednesday although the chief executive, Peter Storrie, was permitted to keep his job. James had offered to pay the wages of the training ground manager, Tug Wilson, and assistant kit-man Clarke Denford.

Wilson, 64, told local media: "David is a good man and a work colleague and he was just trying to help us out. He is someone I have seen almost every day for the last four years and we get on well. People slag off players for earning so much money but they are talented athletes and are paid what they are offered. Most are good people just like David."

The club have avoided the immediate danger of being wound up when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officially accepted that their move into administration had been legal. They abandoned the claim that owner Balram Chainrai broke the law when Portsmouth went into administration.

With the club facing a nine-point penalty for entering administration Andronikou has said that no players will be moved on ahead of the FA Cup semi-final. At risk are Portsmouth's six loan signings who could depart to save money, including first-team players Jamie O'Hara and Aruna Dindane.

Andronikou said that nothing would change before Portsmouth play the winners of the Fulham and Tottenham replay at Wembley. He said: "Selling players is an option but first I need to broach the subject with the Premier League. I need their concession.

"As an alternative from looking at the Premier League advancing TV money, I suggested to them to possibly open the [transfer] window to allow me to sell two players on a loan-back. It's one of those subjects we need to discuss further. However, I will not be looking to sell players or cancel loan agreements before the semi-final.

'The players are very much the shop window of the club so instead I hope they can attract a buyer to this club."

Chainrai said yesterday: "I don't feel I've lost the money. I feel the money is there, I can see it. If the club is alive, my money is alive.

"The main objective is to sell off the club to some consortium or institution or person, who would be responsible enough to stabilise it and run it properly," he said. "I've heard through my lawyers that they are in conversations with several parties."