Derby vow to pay players by weekend

Alan Nixon
Thursday 05 September 2002 00:00
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The Professional Footballers' Association expects Derby County's players to receive their unpaid wages for August by the weekend. However, if the matter is not resolved, the PFA plans to hold talks with the First Division club, who are currently £30m in debt.

The PFA's deputy chief executive, Mick Maguire, said he was liaising with the players' representative, Warren Barton. "Hopefully the matter can be resolved by the weekend," Maguire said. "We are not in a situation like Bradford. At Derby the bank are holding back the money and there has been a delay in paying players' wages. We should know on Friday what the situation is. Should the players not receive their wages, we will talk to the club and then the players."

Derby's financial position is still so serious it is understood that their manager, John Gregory, was forced to pay for the team's £2,000 hotel bill before last week's defeat at Rotherham.

Derby's problem is that two refinancing bids are currently under discussion, with both consortiums fronted by former club directors, with the one-time vice-chairman Peter Gadsby and John Kirkland up against Stuart Webb and the local businessman Charles Clowes.

With the club in limbo, the banks are refusing to release the necessary funds to pay the players and all the football staff, a situation which was only discovered 24 hours before Saturday's 2-0 win over Stoke.

Derby say talks with potential new owners are on-going and have asked for the supporters to remain patient. "Negotiations affecting the future of Derby are continuing," a statement read. "Clearly these negotiations need to be of a confidential nature at this stage. We thank fans for your patience and continued terrific support."

Liverpool are monitoring the availability of the Newcastle United winger Laurent Robert after learning that the Frenchman has a clause in his contract which allows him to leave if any club offers £10m.

Robert made an oustanding comeback from a back injury as a substsitute in the 2-2 draw at Anfield on Monday and the Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier, is looking for a left-sided player after missing out on Damien Duff.

Houllier knows Robert well from his younger days in France. However, he is unlikely to make a move before the end of the season if, as expected, Robert figures in the Champions' League for Newcastle this season, thus making himself ineligible to play for any other club in European competition.

Leeds have agreed a deal with Channel 5 to screen all of the Elland Road club's Uefa Cup matches this season.

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