Portsmouth chief details reasons for players being offered wage cuts and where contract talks stand

Mark Catlin warned Pompey are operating in a different world now as they negotiate with their out-of-contract players.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:08 pm

And the outgoing chief executive is adamant the Blues won’t deviate from the playing budget given to Danny Cowley as he overhauls his squad.

Pompey remain in talks with some of those who become free agents this summer, although the likes of Ben Close and Ryan Williams will have to take a wage cut to remain at Fratton Park as the club battles the impact of £700,000-a-month in lost revenue through the Covid pandemic.

Discussions are ongoing with chief operating officer Tony Brown and the representatives of the players to see if a path can found for them to remain.

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Catlin said: ‘Historically, it’s really down to Tony Brown now.

‘He knows the parameters and he knows the parameters that Danny and the management team would like him to work towards, in regards of the finances.

‘So Tony goes and works his magic now.

‘We’ve always been consistent. It’s totally up to the management team how far they want to go out of their budget (for a player).

Mark Catlin

‘Tony will give them advice on how that affects the overall budget.

‘Tony has to negotiate a deal in the best interests of the football club.

‘It’s for Tony to negotiate the details. We can’t go into details overall because everyone is different, but football is now operating in a different world financially.

‘I think there is a slowly being a realisation that’s the case.

‘Every player individually has a value which is carefully worked out between Tony and the management team.

‘It’s always important we don’t get carried away emotionally trying to sign a player, so it doesn’t affect the overall structure of the club.’

Catlin explained there remains uncertainty over Pompey’s finances moving forward, although there is hope of fans fully returning for the 2021-22 season.

There is still clearly potential for further outbreaks of Covid variants, and that places a question mark over budgets for the new campaign.

The Blues remain massively reliant on matchdays to generate income, and aside from two games in December, it’s been 14 months since that revenue stream has been in place.

Catlin said: ‘The factors this year are slightly different in that all clubs are coming into this off the back of huge financial losses.

‘We’re going into next season in the unknown in terms of how the financial situation is going to look.

‘Next season it’s difficult to know how to budget. Do you budget on 100 per cent, 50 per cent or 25 per cent - at what point?

‘Through this whole period, Portsmouth over all clubs has suffered the most because we are so heavily reliant on matchday income with our self-sustaining model.

‘If you look at our matchday income as a percentage of our overall income, it’s very high - 70 per cent plus.

‘A lot of other clubs are reliant on owners putting in funds and central distribution money, their percentages go down considerably.

‘Then you get to the Championship there’s extra TV money, and by the time you get to the Premier League the matchday revenue figures (as a percentage of overall income) is down into low double digit figures.

‘So percentage wise it’s had a massive impact on Portsmouth and I’ve said consistently, and with Andy (Cullen) coming in, the strategy from the board of directors is to never let the club get into substantial debt or any financial difficulties.’

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