NEWS
09/19/2011 10:31 EDT | Updated 11/19/2011 05:12 EST

Reid pays price for Plymouth's woes despite raising funds for wages

LONDON - 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 as manager of financially strapped Plymouth soccer club.

The 55-year-old Reid paid the price for losing eight straight games after a draw in the season opener, leaving the southwest club in last place with just one point in the fourth tier of English soccer.

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."

While remaining silent since being fired on Sunday by the 125-year-old club he helped to keep in business, Reid spoke out last week about Plymouth's struggles.

"It's driving me crackers and it must be driving the players and the supporters crackers," said the Liverpool-born Reid, who has managed Manchester City, Leeds, Sunderland and the Thailand national team.

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 US$30 million — led Plymouth to file for bankruptcy protection.

Throughout all the turmoil, it was left to Reid to convince the squad not to go on strike while not receiving their full salaries. So far, players have been paid only 40 per cent of their September salaries.

Reid even auctioned off the FA Cup runner-up medal he collected with Everton in 1986 to raise funds to meet the payroll.

And last winter, he paid a 1,200-pound (C$1,800) heating bill out of his own pocket to prevent staff from freezing inside the 18,000-capacity Home Park stadium.

All that personal investment was not enough to outweigh the poor on-field results.

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 (soccer) 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 honour 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 contribution is one he would rather forget.

In arguably the greatest goal in World Cup history, Diego Maradona scored the winner in Argentina's 2-1 victory over England in the 1986 quarter-finals after darting down the right wing on a 60-yard run. It all started with a 180-degree spin by Maradona to get past Reid.