Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gretna: Not dead yet

But not for lack of others' trying. On Sunday, the same day that Arsenal's chances of winning the EPL went in the shitter, Gretna's chances of staying alive took a not insignificant hit as well. As we have covered here before, Gretna was looking forward to this past Sunday as the day Celtic came to town, or as close to town as Gretna is allowed to play. The tie was meant to fill the cash-strapped clubs coffers, and help them pay off back wages owed to the team as well as finally getting enough money to survive to the close season. Well, it didn't quite happen that way, and the reason why is quite curious.

You stay classy, Celtic fans

It seems that the police force in charge of safety at Gretna's new home, Almondvale in Livingston, felt that the idea of selling tickets to fans who showed up on game day was too much to handle, so they forbade it. The result was that only tickets that had been sold to support before game day would be allowed. People were turned away at the gate, and the 10,000 seat stadium had only 3500 people who were allowed in. Mick Wadsworth, caretaker manager of the dying team, opined the following
I don't know if I am a silly old sod, but there are so many things in life nowadays when you ask yourself: "Where is the common sense?" If there is a pay-on-the-day gate, are they expecting the Khmer Rouge to come through it with Kalashnikovs or football supporters? It's just beyond belief.
I can't say that he is wrong.

In the end, Gretna did not get the payday they were looking for, and may have reneged on pay promises to players. Further, Gretna is in such bad financial shape that they have had to cut an injured Uruguayan because they cannot pay for his rehabilitation. I do not profess to know how labor disputes are handled in Scotland, but I can foresee that this will probably be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Yantorno should probably get that started before the team vanishes into thin air.

As for the game itself, Celtic won 3-0, but I don't think that results really matter in this story anymore.

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