Avram Grant hails Portsmouth players who stepped in to save staff jobs
Portsmouth's manager, Avram Grant has paid tribute to his players after they saved four of the club's training ground staff from redundancy.
After the club became the first Premier League side to go into administration last month, the administrator Andrew Andronikou pledged to cut costs "to the bone" to balance the books and, as a result, 85 staff were laid off. Tug Wilson, a groundsman who earned £60 a day for taking care of Pompey's training pitches in Eastleigh, was among them.
But the club's players and staff have stepped in to cover his wages and bring him, a masseur and two other workers back on board.
Grant was delighted with the gesture, claiming it proves football is much more than just a business. "Tug has done a lot of years here and works from the morning until the night on very low wages. He does a great job and I'm happy he's here," said Grant. "The players, me, the staff and everybody contributed, and I must say we were happy to do it.
"I think the moment the club loses its human side is the first step towards it being finished. I can say that most of these people were here before me and the players, and they will be here after. We need to keep them.
"We have a kit man who works from the morning until the evening and takes care of 11 teams alone," he continued. "He was with two assistants but they are not here now because of the situation. I look at him and I don't know what to say. I admire him. I admire these people because they are not in the spotlight but, without them, there is no team."
Grant, whose side tackle his former club Chelsea at Fratton Park tonight, added: "Even at Chelsea, where you have players coming and going, you cannot succeed without these people helping us. These people are very special and we live with them day by day.
"I'm very happy the players and staff did what they did. It means a lot to me personally because football is not just a cold business."