Pompey players won’t break wage structure

Mark Catlin. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131241-3)
Mark Catlin. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131241-3)
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Mark Catlin has vowed he won’t let players destroy Pompey’s cast-iron salary cap.

Ricky Holmes’ arrival means the Blues have now signed 14 players during a busy summer.

They range from 12-month to three-year deals, with Andy Barcham and Johnny Ertl those awarded the longest contracts.

Catlin is adamant nobody has been allowed to breach the wage barrier set out when the Pompey Supporters’ Trust took ownership.

In the past the likes of Sol Campbell reportedly earned £90,000-a-week, while in recent times Dave Kitson picked up a weekly wage of around £18,000.

These days Fratton Park is home to a League Two club aiming to operate self-sufficiently and not be dictated to by players. Catlin declined to reveal figures for the wage cap currently being employed.

But the chief executive insists the club is showing players they will not budge.

He said: ‘We have a salary cap here at the minute – I won’t say what it is because it isn’t fair.

‘It is very, very sensible and a figure of weekly wage which hasn’t been breached on any single player at this football club.

‘My experience is the second you breach that then footballers talk among themselves.

‘They are all friends and their agents are all friends.

‘So the second you break it within minutes you will be getting other players knocking on the door saying “you told me there was a salary cap and you couldn’t pay any more, how come he has just got another £200 a week?”.

‘Then you set off a chain of events – and we are not prepared to let that happen.

‘A lot of clubs have a wage cap on what they would consider but again a lot of clubs do break that consistently.

‘For us that will not be broken in the short term.

‘Our players are not multi-millionaire players this season. It is sensible.

‘There have been players who didn’t even read the contract. We made them an offer and it was “yes, where do I sign?”.

‘A couple of them fell out with their agents because their agent said they could get them more elsewhere.

‘They fell out with their agents over their desire to play for this football club – and that is refreshing.’

Catlin has previously revealed Pompey’s playing budget is in the mid-table range in League Two.

But he admits there is the chance that could rise in future seasons.

He added: ‘The budget is not fixed in stone.

‘We want to get out of this league at some point.

‘It is no good having a mid-table budget in League Two year after year.

‘What we want to do is attract the best players possible to Fratton Park and sometimes that costs.

‘Considering season ticket sales, the budget may be increased slightly.’