Following ACL’s rejection of the CVA presented by administrator Paul Appleton on Friday, (read ACL’s full statement here) Coventry City have reportedly told their three highest paid players they are free to leave the club.
City captain Carl Baker, goalkeeper Joe Murphy and striker Leon Clarke all played 90 minutes in the club’s opening day 3-2 defeat at Crawley Town yesterday, in a match overshadowed by protests by fans over the liquidation of Coventry City Ltd and a subsequent 10 point deduction.
The rejection of the CVA is the latest move in a year-long saga over rent unpaid by the club for the use of the Ricoh Arena – meaning City will be playing ‘home’ games thirty miles away at League Two side Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium.
The club’s hierarchy reportedly told the trio before the trip they were free to leave, as the club looks to save £1m a year in wages.
City have already freed up wages since the end of last season, with Richard Wood the biggest profile exit, the club’s highest earner during his time at the club, however boss Steven Pressley has been unable to bring any replacements in thus far, due to still being embroiled in a transfer embargo emposed on the club by The Football League.
Pressley told the Coventry Telegraph; “That is categorically not the case (selling Baker, Murphy & Clarke.) These are three key players for the football club and I am desperately keen to keep all of them.
“I did speak to them on Friday after we received our ten-point deduction but nobody told me to do that. It was entirely a management decision – my decision – and nothing whatsoever to do with financial matters.
“The truth is that I wanted to reassure myself that they are still fully motivated and committed to the club despite the fact that instead of pushing for promotion, as we had hoped, we find ourselves in a relegation battle.
“That’s not a major problem for the youngsters because they just want to be out there playing football. But it could potentially be a consideration for senior players who, at this stage of their careers, have got their sights on playing in the Championship.
“I was delighted with their response because they all told me that they are happy despite all that’s gone on in recent weeks and months – so unless I hear differently from them or their agents, that’s how we’ll carry on.”
Murphy joined the club on a free transfer from Scunthorpe United two seasons ago, Baker a recruit from Stockport County was named the double Player of the Season last year, and Clarke has scored 10 goals since arriving from Charlton Athletic in December however Pressley has stated he will not sell off the trio despite the national media speculation.
Both Murphy & Baker have made over 100 appearances for the Sky Blues, whilst Clarke has made 17 appearances and found the net 10 times.