Milan pays up

Last updated : 03 March 2002 By
And so after articles in all the major newspapers, debates on Talksport and Radio Five, features on SKY news and being the butt of all of Mark and Lard's jokes on Radio One, the players and Milan Mandaric have finally emerged more 'united' than ever - the majority of them £4,000 richer.

The players arrived at training on Friday morning completely in the dark over what was happening and all they knew is that Shaun Derry and Kevin Harper would travel to Fratton Park for an audience with Mandaric with the hope that sanity would resume and Milan would back down. Despite Fratton Faithful's strong anti-milan stance on this matter, it split our readers completely down the middle - with 50% falling into both the 'pro' and 'anti' camps. Despite opinions on Mandaric's stance, the outcome was always inevitable and some would say a somewhat empty threat was issued publicly by Mandaric.

Kevin Harper and Shaun Derry emerged positive from their meeting with the Fratton Supremo saying that the team and board were now more united and ready to move forward. Milan Mandaric made an interesting point telling the assembled press:

'Emotionally I thought it was the right thing to do, some people disagreed but this is a moot point for me. I am in the firing line and I have the right to make these decisions.  I do not think I overreacted, but possibly, still do the same thing, but not release it to the media. I got the attention of the players, we each had valid points to make. We are all in it together, players, directors, chairman and supporters to move this club forward and we will not stop until we find the right formula'

The fact is, did he really need to make this stance to 'get the attention of the players' - surely if he wanted to speak to a representation of his playing staff, he could of just asked? An emotionally charged media stunt like this, in Fratton Faithful's opinion seriously backfired, talk of it affecting people at the club was nonsense - a move like this would only heighten Mandaric's standing as a figure of fun, quite soon Mandaric will begin the develop the same public reputation of a 'Ken Bates' or a 'Doug Ellis'. The fact that Harry Redknapp was exempt from this wage cut will have certainly made the working relationship between Rix and Redknapp even harder.

Never a dull moment...