Lawrence: The wrong people have been punished

Pompey skipper Liam Lawrence during yesterday's press conference    Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey skipper Liam Lawrence during yesterday's press conference Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey's Theo Widdrington in action at Goodison Park. Picture: Anthony McArdle/Everton FC

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Liam Lawrence has hit out at the unfair punishment that Pompey’s fans and players have had to suffer.

The Blues skipper and the rest of the squad have shown their support after they agreed to take a ‘significant’ pay cut to help the stricken club through to find new owners.

Lawrence will even man the club’s ticket office today to encourage more supporters to attend tomorrow’s showdown with Leeds.

But the outspoken midfielder believes the team and its fans have been punished for the mistakes by the previous guardians at Fratton Park.

Lawrence said: ‘The people who have had the club are to blame. Maybe they should have been deducted 10 weeks’ pay rather than us getting deducted 10 points.

‘It’s always the supporters and the players who get punished. It shouldn’t be like that. It should be the people who have messed things up.

‘We’ve all been punished. The players and the supporters have been punished and now we’re in the bottom three because of the people above us who have ruined the club and ruined the chances of us surviving this season.’

Following meetings with the club’s administrator, Trevor Birch, and the PFA, Lawrence and the first-team squad all agreed to defer their unpaid January salary payments in the wake of the 30 redundancies that happened this week.

The squad also agreed to receive a percentage of their wage until May.

Lawrence said: ‘I think the club is in a serious, serious situation at the minute.

‘Come May, if the club hasn’t been bought or it doesn’t make money until then, the club could go. So we’re just trying to do everything we can to help the club. We’ve taken a wage cut until May, we’ve forgotten about January’s pay for now.

‘We’re getting a percentage of our wages. I will not reveal what that is but we have taken a pay cut and it’s a significant cut – not just a tiny one.’

With Lawrence and other players manning the ticket office today (3-5pm), the skipper is hopeful it will encourage more fans through the gates.

He said: ‘It’s up to us as players to do something to help the club in any possible way to get fans through the doors.

‘We need full houses. For us to be able to survive and to get beyond April or May, we need full houses at the ground.

‘So we’re trying to do anything we can to get supporters to come and watch.

‘I think I’m going to be sat in one of the windows and literally dishing the tickets out and probably listening to all of the fans moaning at me!

‘It’s up to us and the supporters to stick together through this. The only people left are the supporters and us. As long as we’re together, we will have a great chance of getting through it.

‘Just stick with us. We are in this together – us and the supporters – make no bones about that.’