Catlin: We won’t be budged on wages

Pompey midfielder Therry Racon won't be offered a new deal to stay at Fratton Park due to his excessive wage demands Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Therry Racon won't be offered a new deal to stay at Fratton Park due to his excessive wage demands Picture: Joe Pepler

The big fish in a small pond and the bookies’ early, early promotion favourites.

But Mark Catlin is adamant Pompey’s wage bill will be nothing more than mid-table in their new League Two environment.

There will be plenty of expectations on the Blues next term to bounce straight back from inhabiting England’s bottom division for the first time since 1980.

However, the restructured club will not be paying high wages in order to achieve that.

Therry Racon and Gabor Gyepes are two first-team regulars who will not be around next term as they feel they can earn more elsewhere.

The playing budget has been set at around £1.2m – a figure Catlin expects to be nothing more than ‘competitive’ when compared to their rivals.

Pompey’s gates will inevitably comfortably outstrip the vast majority of fellow League Two clubs, providing substantially more income in that respect.

But the club’s new chief executive has vowed the wage bill will not reflect that.

Catlin said: ‘I have read Pompey are favourites to win the league and, with the experience and spirit among those people involved in the club, it is fair to say we all want promotion.

‘But the wage bill is only slightly better than your average League Two budget.

‘It’s not a crazy, rich budget. It is a competitive League Two budget, slightly better than mid-table.

‘I will be surprised if we are one of the big spenders. I know we won’t be.

‘We need to manage expectations and you have to be truthful and tell the fans that we have not got a big budget for the league. We really haven’t.

‘And it would not be right if we did – we have got to self-fund.

‘We have got the legacies of previous regimes and need to settle those debts, so this club will be built from scratch with good foundations.

‘I reckon the three sides promoted from League Two (Gillingham, Rotherham and Port Vale), in addition to Bradford, who are in the play-off final, have the biggest budgets in the division.

‘I say that without knowing the exact fixtures, but without a shadow of a doubt they are paying the most in wages.

‘I actually think your average League Two budget will come down this season. That’s just the way it is going.

‘And ours will be in the middle of that.’

Bury, Scunthorpe and Hartlepool join Pompey in dropping down from League One next season.

They will be accompanied in League Two by Mansfield and Newport County, who have come up from the Blue Square Bet premier division.

Catlin added: ‘Newport and Mansfield are coming up so I’m not sure of their budgets.

‘Hartlepool will have a decent one because they are a very, very well-run club.

‘We all know about Bury’s financial problems.

‘Scunthorpe have been relegated twice in the past three years and I don’t think they will have a huge budget.

‘People have got to start working within what they can afford and for us as well that means the playing budget.’