|SJ MASKELL: Halford has the right attitude to make the players legends|
Mon 23rd Jul 2012 09:45 by SJ Maskell
I like Greg Halford. I like his attitude, I like the way he comes across as a genuine bloke. I have enjoyed watching him play for Pompey, despite his lapses at times. I am not about to abuse him for the situation he is in that is not directly of his making. This club is fans and team together and no matter how mercenary some players may be, there is no purpose to the club without them.
That said, I am not a fan of the wages paid to professional footballers. They have considerable individual bargaining power, unlike normal workers, due to the scarcity of footballing talent and the obscene amount money poured into the game by TV franchises. That is clear in the details of the current impasse at Pompey. It is behind the unsustainable contracts our senior players hold, many of which were negotiated in desperate times for the club. It is these contracts that the FL is insisting are honoured by new owners of PFC in return for the golden ticket. The only concession to this enforcing of the Football Creditors’ Rule is the allowance that individual negotiated settlements are acceptable, in line with the individual bargaining that is the norm for the football business. In stark contrast these wages are paid by fans, many of whom cannot earn in a year what some players have been taught to expect in a week, such is the detachment of football from the real economy.
But when Halford Tweets, ‘No matter what happens I will always have Pompey’s best interests at heart,’ and ‘I understand every fan worrying about Pompey. The players are as well. I would love to be able to answer everyone's questions,’ I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. There is no value in players driving the clubs that sustain them into oblivion.
It is this unity of fan and team, evoked by Halford, which lies at the nub of SOS Pompey’s open letter to the players. It is planned to deliver this letter to players at training on 22 July. The letter reads:
When you joined our football club certain promises were made to you, you signed a contract and on that basis and you have every right to demand what is justly yours.
With everything that has happened you, like us supporters, have every right to be angry, you are as much a victim of the incompetence that has left our club teetering on the brink of as anyone.
Now though you have the chance to write your name in the history of our club, the decisions that you make will decide whether one hundred and fourteen years of history come to an end. Generations of Pompey fans are praying that are able to reach a compromise with the administrators and while legality and indeed morality are on your side we can only appeal to your conscience.
While those who have done this squabble over the final remains of Portsmouth Football Club, without a care for those who have been put out of work, or the businesses forced to make cut backs because of non-payment , you can show the world that you care. You can save this club that so many of us care about, you can demonstrate that footballers aren’t the shallow, selfish people that is portrayed in the press.
We hope that with your help Pompey can survive and, under the ownership of the fans, can slowly but surely be turned around. We know that the potential sacrifice we are asking you to make is immense, but we will not survive without it.
PLAY UP POMPEY
As Micah Hall posted here recently, I want to support a club that deals honourably and keeps its promises. To me, as far as is possible, these contracts should be honoured, but there is no doubt that the survival of the club requires some compromise to be made on them. However, what the details of that compromise are seems to rest very heavily on who the owner of the club is to be.
Players are clearly reluctant to deal if, in dealing, they make more money available to Portpin whose chief interest is to recoup their money. Portpin have been responsible for many broken promises in the past and it may be that anything other than straight cash up front payment will be difficult to achieve. It is clear that Portpin are being squeezed by the football authorities from the conditions placed on the Golden Share. No longer can they load their £18m charge back on the club, only one up to the value of Fratton Park. No longer will they be able to load further debt on the club or overspend on players and wages. They have to pay the football creditors in full and the minus ten points makes the club less competitive, with the chance of a bounce back into the Championship less likely.
It needs to be understood too that the Professional Footballers’ Association, of which all players are members, is an influential force in football governance. Whether they favour a compromise or not, they are clearly going to advise players to do what is in their own best interests. It is possible that those interests are not best served by co-operating with Portpin. Equally, nor are Portsmouth Football Club’s interests best served in this way.
These are uncertain times for fans and players alike. If it is true that he has had no contact from other clubs, Greg Halford must be as worried about his own future as we are about the future of our club. Most of us can empathise with that insecurity.
In unity there is strength. Players and fans united can save the club. How different might a players’ deal with the Pompey Supporters’ Trust need to be in order to achieve that? A deal that might encompass the true meaning of Portsmouth Football Club itself.
Pompey Supporters' Trust is still taking pledges to help the bid. Details can be found here
The views of SJ Maskell are their own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of pompey-fans.com
You need to login in order to post your comments