Belfast Telegraph

Gillespie takes cut to stay with Glentoran

By Graham Luney

Keith Gillespie has offered to take a wage cut as Glentoran continue their fight to escape bankruptcy.

If the club doesn’t cut its costs dramatically there is a real danger the famous east Belfast club will drown in a sea of debt.

Players have been informed of the financial difficulties at the club and there is the increasing understanding that the days of earning big pay cheques are over.

Gillespie is one player who could walk out on the club to seek riches and a new challenge elsewhere but he has no intention of jumping ship even though it has hit choppy financial waters.

Glentoran’s debts are piling up and the Inland Revenue are loitering with menace in the background.

All clubs have had to slash wage bills and the Glens felt the full force of the recession more than most.

Although the Mersey Street men netted a welcome cash windfall from the Rory Patterson sale to Plymouth Argyle, the belt tightening has to continue.

Oval chairman Aubry Ralph said: “I told Keith (Gillespie) that we cannot unearth a sack of money to keep him at Glentoran as much as we want him to stay at the club.

“Thankfully, Keith has indicated he is willing to take a pay cut as he wants to stay at Glentoran and he feels he has unfinished business here.

“All the players know the financial situation at the club and it is encouraging that players take the understanding view that they are willing to lower their expectations in terms of wages so that the club can keep operating.

“It’s pleasing to see the players willing to make a gesture as they are sympathetic to our situation. Players often take a lot of stick but they want the club to have a healthy future.

“Our budget is such that we cannot continue the way we are. People might have thought that Portsmouth would not have hit financial trouble but look what happened.

“We put a few players on the transfer list and our financial problems are well documented. I would like to say there will always be a Glentoran but you have to live within your means or the Inland Revenue will intervene.”

The Irish FA, recognising that clubs are struggling to balance their books, are working on the implementation of a new wage structure for the top flight.

It’s effectiveness will be judged in the future but there is no doubt that desperate times call for desperate measures.

“We have arrangements with statutory bodies and we are managing our situation,” added Ralph.

“The Inland Revenue are known for not taking any prisoners so they have to be kept on side.

“With regard to the wage cap I think it’s a good idea though it would be higher than what many clubs already pay their players. It’s difficult for us to compete with Linfield but it’s clear than none of us can afford to live beyond our means.”

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