Gretna let nine go as cuts start to kick in

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The Independent Online

Nine senior Gretna players have been made redundant by administrators for the Scottish Premier League club.

David Bingham, Mark Birch, Mickael Buscher, Aurelien Collin, Chris Innes, Henry Makinwa, David Mathieson, Erik Paartalu and Michael Tait have all left the Borders side, who could now struggle to raise a team for their remaining SPL games.

Gretna – who joined the Scotttish League in 1992 after more than 40 years in the English non-league structure following the demise of Clydebank – announced they have also parted company with several youth players.

The troubled club, who received a payment of £70,000 from the league last week to enable them to see out the season, are now being run by administrators Wilson Field, who also dismissed six community coaches yesterday.

A statement released by Gretna said: "Gretna Football Club can reluctantly confirm that redundancies have been made. Due to the financial circumstances of the football club we are no longer in a position to continue with the youth programme and community activities.

"We regret that we have had to take this action but feel we need to dedicate all our resources into the first team unless there is a change in circumstances.

"We would like to thank everyone for their services and wish them every success in the future."

Former community coach Kevin Somerville hit out at the administrators' handling of the redundancies and their running of the club since assuming control earlier this month.

He said: "This has come as shock because, only last week, the administrators said enough money had been secured to see the club through to the end of the season.

"Everyone came into work this week thinking we were giving it our all for the rest of the season only to have the rug pulled out from under us. It's not just the community coaches who are affected by this, it will affect other peoples' lives too. We coach kids from as young as five, as well as disabled people, and they might not get another opportunity like this.

"That's what saddens me the most. I've spoken to people who have been at other clubs who have gone into administration and they feel that the administrators have not done all they can to help us. The communication from the administrators has been dire throughout and they have not consulted with us on anything. All they have done is look at figures on a balance sheet."

Gretna's former players now face a race against time to find new clubs. The deadline for switching to a club in England is 5pm today, while a move to another Scottish side would have to be completed by the end of the month. Because the transfer window is closed, any move would also require special dispensation from Fifa. "It's a hell of a time at the moment," said Fraser Wishart, the chief executive of Scotland's players' union. "The players now have to sort out this mess in terms of player registration, finding new clubs etc. It's a unique situation for a lot of people."

Wishart praised the role Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith has played in trying to help players secure employment elsewhere. He added: "Gordon Smith has played a very good role in becoming involved personally by contacting Fifa.

"We wanted blanket dispensation and we didn't get that. What we do have is a guarantee that there will be a quick turnaround on each decision.

"Players have to contact Fifa with a copy of their redundancy notice and an offer from a new club and they will be looked at on a case-by-case basis."

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