Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gretna Updates

The weekend has passed, and Gretna is still alive. The team is not completely out of the woods yet, but the skyline does seem a little bit brighter in the South of Scotland. Careful, though, Gretna well-wishers, things could fall apart at the drop of a hat.

The best bit of news to come through for Gretna since last week is that the SPL granted Gretna's request for an advance on their league finish bonus. The emergency loan was given so that Gretna would be able to continue this season, at least until the schedule split. Given that the split is five games away, I think they will make it. What happens after that is anyone's guess at this point.

So, with the future assured beyond the weekend, Gretna traveled to Aberdeen, and lost 3-0. On the plus side, Gretna was able to field a full team, complete with subs. On the bad side, they had to use mostly youth squad players, since the senior squad had not been paid.

So, with the away trip behind them, Gretna was able to look forward to this weekend's assured payday against Celtic. Sure, they have to play their home games in Motherwell, 75 miles away, but at least Gretna get the home gate. Well, they will still get the home gate, but Gretna are no longer allowed to play at Motherwell. The SPL deemed that Fir Park is too banged up to continue to support two home squads, so now Gretna play their home matches in Livingston, which is just over 100 miles from Gretna. It sucks when all fans at a match qualify as "traveling support".

Still, at least it's a game, right? Well, maybe, maybe not. It seems that those senior players who stuck around for the team are not too happy with not getting paid. In fact, they are so unhappy, they almost started to strike. The strike was quashed with an emergency payment, but the amount paid was well short of what was owed to the players. Remember, the SPL has gone on record that if Gretna fail to field a team for a match, they are out of the league, and that has its own set of problems for everyone else in the league.

Finally, if I had a wish on the matter, this would be the only story on Gretna that would have made it to the pages of UF. In the midst of everything that was going on last week for the team, it seems that someone forgot to lock the kit room. Twenty pairs of boots were stolen from the Gretna dressing room midweek, and as of yet have not been recovered. When it rains, it pours, I guess.

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