DARLINGTON BOSS DESCRIBES FIXTURE AS "A MUST NOT LOSE MATCH"

DARLINGTON BOSS DESCRIBES FIXTURE AS "A MUST NOT LOSE MATCH"

Friday Feb 17, 2012

The Northern Echo has reported that Darlington's players are still

The report reads: "Darlington's disgruntled players will hold talks with administrator Harvey Madden today after being told they will not receive their wages until the club comes out of administration.

They have not been paid since November and, while supporters are invited to raise £750,000 by April through a shares initiative, Mr Madden decided that players will receive £200 each per game.

Interim manager Craig Liddle broke the news to the players before training yesterday.

Their angry reaction meant Liddle was forced to scrap his planned session, intended to be a thorough work-out in reaction to Tuesday's disappointing defeat at Southport.

Instead, the squad went through their usual drills ahead of tomorrow's match at fellow strugglers Alfreton Town, a game described by Liddle as a "must not lose match".

The players have sought a meeting with Mr Madden. It was due to be at The Northern Echo Arena, but moved to the Durham-based training ground at the request of the players to cut travel costs.

After tens of thousands of pounds was raised from various fundraising activities and around 12,000 fans combined attended the home matches with Fleetwood and York, the players are seriously considering their options.

Speaking to The Northern Echo last night, one player did not rule out refusing to playing tomorrow. They will today ask for more than the £200 per game promised.

Paul Arnison, who has turned down a move to Wrexham, wants to know why he and his team-mates are being offered only a match fee.

"I know he's said we're going to get a match fee, but can't he give us our wages that we're owed and a set wage until the end of the season so that if games do get called off lads will still get paid?'' asked the right-back.

"Where's the money gone? The last two home games and the money that the fans put in, there was £215,000 raised apparently.

"The other week we got £740, but where's the rest gone? We got taxed on that £740, fair enough, but where's the rest of that £215,000?

"We need to be told the truth. Are going to be told that we have to keep playing for nothing? Fans have been putting their hands in their pockets for us, I'm sure they'd like to know where the money is going as well.

"We're just players in all of this, it is the fans' club and I feel sorry for them because they want answers and want to know where their money is going.

"There's only so long we can keep going. The match fee is a couple of hundred quid and then we're getting taxed on it. It's not in your pocket either, it's a cheque which takes five days to clear.

"We've had no reassurances. I think that if we were told that we're going to get, say, 75 per cent of your salary between now and the end of the season, and then the other 25 per cent when everything is sorted that would help.

"That would give us a lift and make sure that we're at out best on the pitch, because we are in a relegation fight and the last thing any of the lads want is to be part of a team that is relegated."

Arnison returned to training yesterday having missed out on Tuesday due to a calf strain.

He is not considering withdrawing his labour, but is keen to seek answers from Madden who will be joined in the meeting by Liddle and two members of the rescue group hoping to take over the club.

Arnison said: "We haven't really spoken about going on strike because I don't think the lads are thinking that way.

"If we put our side across to Mr Madden, tell him that we're struggling for money to pay the bills, if he still says take it or leave it regarding the match fees then some lads might say enough is enough.

"We'll have to see how this meeting goes and then take it from there. The last thing we want to do is not turn up on Saturday because we're doing this for the fans and the people of Darlington.

"I couldn't just walk away, but there's only so long we can keep going without being properly paid.

"Who is going to pay the mortgage? You can't ring up the Halifax and say 'I haven't been paid for three months, can you stop taking money out of my account please?'

"It cost Bridgey £130 in petrol last week and this week to come into training. He can't possibly keep doing that if he's not getting his money.

"The lads are struggling. Browny was saying that his bairn is due in a couple of weeks and he has £100 to last him. If we don't get any money soon he's going to be brassic."

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson travels from his home in Huddersfield and he said: "We need some answers as it's impossible for us to play for up to six months with no wage.

"We've given our all and like everybody else have wanted the best for the club, but we can't pay mortgages with fresh air.

"We hoped that with all of the money brought in with recent gates we would receive our wages during this period.

"In a relegation battle the last thing we needed was another kick in the teeth, it's really hard to take."

To cut down on travel costs, Bridge-Wilkinson only trains with Darlington the day before a game so he will be at Houghall College today.

Liddle will again oversee training and he explained yesterday's events, saying: "They didn't really want to be there for training when I told them.

"The normal session I had planned I had to cancel because I'd intended to ruffle a few feathers after Tuesday night's performance. But the mood wasn't good, it wasn't the news they wanted.

"I thought I was going to be able to tell them that they would be paid their salary until the end of the season, and then get back-pay when we get out of administration.

"They need to know what's going on, they need stability.

"Kris Taylor is renting a house up here and his wife packed her job in to move up here, he can't keep doing that indefinitely.

"They had plenty of questions for me which was understandable because they've got mortgages and bills to pay. They can't go on indefinitely in this environment."

 
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