WREXHAM chairman Mark Guterman last night admitted that players and staff had not been paid in full last month because money owed to the club had not been received.
But his claim that the players had been in agreement with a decision to spread their monthly salary payment over a fortnight was backed by veteran defender and club captain Brian Carey.
Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Guterman insisted the club was in a much healthier position than it had been 12 months ago and denied there was a cash crisis. He said: "We were expecting other monies to come in by a certain date but that did not materialise.
"As a result the players were asked to accept half their wages now and the other half in two weeks' time. They were very understanding of the situation and they have always been supportive of the club.
"They don't have a problem with that and we don't have a problem. We could have gone to the Professional Footballers' Association for a loan to pay the wages in full but there would have been a 10pc interest charge up front, which I felt was a waste of money."
Carey, the PFA's representative at the Racecourse, also took part in the radio programme to expand on a terse state-ment issued earlier in the day by the players.
The statement read: "We were informed on Thursday, November 27 that we were not to be paid in full, which we accepted.
"We realise the tight financial situation in football at the present time."
Last night the former Irish international said: "I'm not worried and I'm not concerned. The club, like any other busi-ness, will have cashflow problems from time to time and the players were prepared to accept that.
"There have been one or two problems over the years but we have always been paid in the end and that's what counts. The club has been in a lot worse situations and we've dealt with it before."
And Carey denied the pay issue had affected the team's performance at Brighton on Saturday where Wrexham went down 2-0.
"The players are very resilient and they have a great deal of professional pride," he added. "Any suggestion that they did not do their best would not be tolerated by anyone at the club."
The players were told of the pay problem last Thursday but Guterman attended a second meeting of the players at lunchtime yesterday following the Daily Post's revelation that players and staff had not been paid in full and after manager Denis Smith had addressed the squad before they started training.
Since Guterman acquired sole owner-ship at Wrexham in May last year he and his fellow directors have worked hard to stabilise the club's financial situation, which over the past three years has virtu-ally drained a previously healthy balance of nearly £700,000.
Despite promotion at the end of last season, regular attendances at the Race-course have shown little improvement and the current cashflow situation has been severely hit by a fixture list that has provided the club with just two home matches between November 1 and December 13.
Wrexham also suffered defeats last month in both the FA Cup and LDV Vans Trophy to lose out on other potentially lucrative sources of revenue.
But Carroll Clark, chairman of Wrexham AFC Official Supporters' Association and a retired bank manager, said he did not believe the current problems were a major concern.
"From my days in banking I know that many companies go through temporary financial problems and I have no reason to believe this situation is any different," he said.
"Wrexham haven't had many home matches recently and they have also been knocked out of the FA Cup, but I'm confident it is nothing more than a blip.
"It's not that different from this time last year and I'm sure the turn of the year will see the team enjoy better fortunes - as they did 12 months ago."
Simon Barker, who works for the PFA, said none of the Wrexham players had contacted the union, which suggested there was not a major problem at the club.
"A lot of clubs are experiencing difficulties but the main thing for us is that the players are paid," he said.
"In most cases they are happy to work with the clubs to overcome temporary problems and get through difficult times, but they can only go so far.
"The majority of players in the Second and Third Division don't have savings they can dip into and they have mortgages and bills to pay just like everyone else.
"But they also realise there are certain occasions when there might be cash-flow problems and they are generally willing to live with that."
THE wage crisis may have come as a shock to many readers, however the reaction from those who take more than a passing interest in events at the Racecourse was more one of surprise that it had not happened sooner.
Barely a week goes by without news from somewhere in the country that another lower league club is struggling to survive.
And the facts at Wrexham speak for themselves, with the club reporting cumulative losses of £678,543 in the most recent two years for which accounts are available.
In the 12 months to May 31, 2001 annual turnover was £2,460,446 but staff costs alone accounted for £1,928,202 and Wrexham reported a loss for the year of £364,517.
In the following year, which saw the Dragons relegated to the Third Division for the first time in more than a decade, turnover was down at £2,041,843 and, although the wage bill was slashed by nearly £500,000 to £1,481,846, the deficit was £314,026.
Over the 104-week period covered by the published accounts, weekly losses average £6,500, but based on the 46 home league matches over the two seasons - the club's major source of income - the average deficit rises to around £14,000 per game.
Accounts for the most recent campaign to May this year have yet to be published.