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Soccer coach who paid wages loses his job

- Associated Press - Monday, September 19, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Peter Reid paid a heating bill out of his own pocket and auctioned off one of his medals to meet the team payroll. It wasn't enough to keep his job.

Altruism goes only so far. After a season-opening draw and eight straight losses, Reid was fired as manager of Plymouth, a financially strapped last-place club in the fourth tier of English soccer. He was dismissed Sunday by the 125-year-old club he helped keep in business.

Acting Plymouth chairman Peter Ridsdale thanked the former England midfielder for "helping keep the club alive during this turbulent period," but fired him after 15 months "to "give ourselves time to attempt to preserve Football League status."

Reid, born in Liverpool, has managed Manchester City, Leeds, Sunderland and the Thailand national team. He has remained silent since his dismissal, but he spoke last week about Plymouth's struggles.

"It's driving me crackers, and it must be driving the players and the supporters crackers," he said.

Just two years ago, Plymouth was playing in the division below the Premier League and planning to revamp its stadium as part of England's ultimately unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

But successive relegations and mounting debts _ currently exceeding $30 million _ led Plymouth to file for bankruptcy protection.

Throughout the turmoil, it was left to Reid to persuade the players not to strike while not receiving full salaries. So far, players have been paid only 40 percent of their September salaries.

Reid even auctioned his FA Cup runner-up medal with Everton in 1986 to raise funds to meet the payroll. And last winter, he paid a $1,900 heating bill to prevent staff from freezing inside the 18,000-capacity Home Park stadium.

Ridsdale promised to make sure Reid is paid what he's owed.

"It's the first thing I spoke to Peter about yesterday. Clearly it is private and personal between him and I," Ridsdale told Talk Sport radio on Monday. "Peter has a contract and it is my responsibility to make sure that which is outstanding to date, which is a football creditor debt, is paid, and that which is due under the termination of his contract is similarly paid.

"I will do everything that I can to deliver on my promise to Peter that I will honor his contractual obligations."

A grass-roots campaign has been started on Twitter for Reid's FA Cup medal to be replaced by England's Football Association, which is investigating the matter.

Reid played 13 times for England, but his most memorable moment is one he would rather forget. It came during what might be the greatest goal in World Cup history: Diego Maradona's 60-yard run down the right wing in which he shredded the English defense, giving Argentina a 2-1 victory in the 1986 quarterfinals. It all started with a 180-degree spin by Maradona to get past Reid.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects spelling of team chairman's last name to Ridsdale)

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