Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea play their game in hand on Arsenal & Man Utd when they travel to Portsmouth this Wednesday – 19:45

Portsmouth players have chipped in to save the jobs of four of the club’s training ground staff, manager Avram Grant has said.

The club has laid off 85 staff in a bid to cut costs after going into administration in February, but players and staff have agreed to cover the wages of the club groundsman, a masseur and two others.

“The players, me, the staff and everybody contributed, and I must say we were happy to do it,” said Grant.

“Most of these people were here before me and the players, and they will be here after. We need to keep them.”

Among those whose jobs have been saved by the gesture – reported to be costing each player around £1,500 – is former Royal Navy sailor Tug Wilson who now works as groundsman.

“Tug has done a lot of years here and works from the morning until the night on very low wages,” said Grant.

“He does a great job and I’m happy he’s here. I think the moment the club loses its human side is the first step towards it being finished.”

Wilson said he was amazed by the move, thought to have been suggested by goalkeeper David James.

“You read a lot of bad things about footballers these days,” Wilson told the Daily Mail. “But what’s been happening here has been amazing.”

Grant said that staff whose jobs had been saved were key members of his team.

“We have a kit man who works from the morning until the evening and takes care of 11 teams alone,” he added.

“He was with two assistants but they are not here now because of the situation. I look at him and I don’t know what to say. I admire him.

“I admire these people because they are not in the spotlight but, without them, there is no team.

“Even at Chelsea, where you have players coming and going, you cannot succeed without these people helping us. These people are very special and we live with them day by day.

“I’m very happy the players and staff did what they did. It means a lot to me personally because football is not just a cold business.”

The south-coast club became the first Premier League side to go into administration. The subsequent nine-point penalty has left them 14 points from safety in the Premier League and virtually guaranteed to suffer relegation.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea play their game in hand on Arsenal & Man Utd when they travel to Portsmouth this Wednesday – 19:45

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