Crisis-hit Gretna axe nine players

NINE former Gretna players face a race against time to find new clubs after the Scottish Premier League club’s administrators axed them all on a devastating day for the Borderers yesterday.

Gretna have been left with a shell of a squad after administrators made nine first-team players and almost the entire youth team redundant.

David Bingham, Mark Birch, Mickael Buscher, Aurelien Collin, Chris Innes, Henry Makinwa, David Mathieson, Erik Paartalu and Michael Tait were all given the chop, and Gretna could struggle to raise a team for their remaining SPL games.

The departing players must find new clubs before the end of the month, as well as seek special dispensation from FIFA to move outside of the transfer window, or face being unemployed until the summer.

Former captain Innes hit out at administrators Wilson Field for the timing of the redundancies, claiming the players were “left in a bit of a lurch”.

Wilson Field took over the affairs at Gretna two weeks ago and players have been awaiting their fate ever since.

“I certainly didn’t expect it to take this long,” Innes said.

“I would have appreciated it if they had maybe told us a little bit sooner, which would certainly have helped the players’ positions with regards finding other clubs.

“Fingers crossed I’ll have something sorted in the near future.”

Gretna’s administrators may be confident of fulfilling their remaining SPL fixtures this season but Innes fears the future looks bleak for the Borders club, who have lost the backing of Brooks Mileson, the man who funded their climb into the Scottish top flight.

“As it stands, I think they’re in a very precarious position,” Innes said.

“There is no sign of a backer and the players are continually going out and being told they’re going to get paid, and they’re not going to get paid, and it’s a very unfair position for the boys that are left at the club to be in.”

The deadline for switching to a club in England is 5pm today, while a move to another Scottish side would have to be completed by March 31.

Gretna also parted company with 13 youth players, along with the club’s six community coaches who were dismissed yesterday morning.

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