Lawrence new deal ‘withdrawn’ as he makes Pompey exit

Liam Lawrence was keen to stay put at Pompey
Liam Lawrence was keen to stay put at Pompey
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Liam Lawrence has revealed a new contract offer to keep him at Pompey was withdrawn as he made his exit from Fratton Park.

The popular club captain signed a compromise agreement over his contract yesterday, leaving boss Michael Appleton without a single senior player in his squad just days away from the start of the season.

But after indicating he would be prepared to accept a new long-term deal to stay on massively-reduced wages, the midfielder was then informed by administrator Trevor Birch the deal was no longer on offer from Portpin, who are attempting to take control of the club once again.

Lawrence, who was believed to be on around £19,000 a week, said: ‘Michael (Appleton) came to me about 10 days ago and asked if I would be willing to take a longer contract on a lot less money to stay.

‘I decided I was willing to do that up until three days ago when Trevor Birch told me the offer had been pulled and there was no offer any more.

‘It was a significant cut – about 60-to-70-per-cent less than I am on at the moment and we spoke about a four-or-five-year deal.

‘I was going to do it but the owners in waiting then said they can’t afford to do that in League One.

‘They offered me something the other night after the AFC Wimbledon game, which was totally unacceptable and I told them that. So we’ve been speaking for the past few days and now we have agreed something for me to leave.

‘It’s just such a shame how everything has worked out.’

Lawrence, who signed for Pompey from Stoke City in August 2010, believes his compromise agreement on his contract – which he reached to help save Pompey – has denied him a huge sum of money in a bid to help the club.

But he is still not certain the club will survive, despite becoming the final senior player to depart.

He said: ‘I’m effectively more than £1m out of pocket over the course of the next two years.

‘I’ve bent over backwards from January when it all went belly up and I’ve done everything I can.

‘If I’d stayed and we’d have eventually got out of the league, it would have been fine. But it’s not there now so it’s not worth talking about. It’s gone.

‘I love it down here and I’ve had a great relationship with the fans and the manager.

‘But I still think it’s 50-50 whether the club will survive from what I’ve heard.

‘I’ve been told that even though the settlement has been agreed, the club still might not be taken over so nobody would be entitled to any kind of payment.

‘So we’ll see. Time will tell.’

Appleton said: ‘If there was an opportunity for Liam to have been in budget, then I would have been happy to do that. But you have to be led by what the budget is and whether they (the owners) could cope with that.

‘The answer to that was obviously “no”.

‘The next thing that had to be done was to come to a compromise agreement.

‘Liam has done that and it’s testament to him that he has done that.

‘He now has to find a club elsewhere and I wish him all the best.’

Birch was unavilable for comment when contacted by The News.