Catlin: We won’t break bank for players

Mark Catlin
Mark Catlin

POMPEY are refusing to pay over the odds for their additions this month.

And chief executive Mark Catlin believes that approach could lead to the Blues losing out on players to ‘panicky’ rivals.

Richie Barker is pushing on with his recruitment plans this month as he looks to strengthen his side for the second half of the campaign.

But Catlin explained Pompey are encountering rivals who are over-stretching themselves as they chase promotion or survival.

He promised there would be no repeat of that mentality at Fratton Park.

Catlin believes the attraction of playing for Pompey remains strong, but players will look elsewhere if the money on offer is superior.

He said: ‘It’s a competitive market and because we’re Portsmouth Football Club doesn’t give us a God-given right to sign players.

‘In my experience, players will go where they can get their best offer.

‘In this window there are clubs looking to promotion or avoiding relegation.

‘They become a little pressured and panicky and perhaps offer wages they shouldn’t.

‘Owners of other clubs, even at this level, are willing to pump in high hundreds of thousands and even millions of pounds. It’s crazy.

‘For all our gates and how we’re doing commercially, that is not our model.

‘Other clubs have owners funding the wage bill by £1m or £1.5m or higher, so you are up against it.

‘In the event of a financial tie, you would sincerely hope the allure of Pompey is the tipping balance.

‘But we won’t break our model, and for a few quid the other way, players will go elsewhere – we have to face that reality.’

Despite encountering the problems of negotiating with players and agents, Catlin was understanding about those who went where the money is.

He added: ‘Most people who turn up at Fratton Park each Saturday would play for Portsmouth for nothing.

‘It’s our passion, but football is a business.

‘It’s not like 50 years ago. Now there is a real transient football-playing mentality.

‘This is their livelihoods and they have a 10 or 15-year career, so they invariably go where the most money is. I get that and most sensible fans can see that.’