THE crisis at Wrexham Football Club deepened last night amid threats of a players' strike and claims a fourth commercial manager has left - before he even started.
Club captain Brian Carey, who used to play for Manchester United and the Republic of Ireland, blew the lid on his concerns after the players discovered their wages had not been paid on time for the fifth time in the past six months.
Speaking on behalf of the 20-strong playing staff, Carey said: "Unfortunately the players at the club feel the time has come to speak out regarding the late payment of wages. Since February they have been late in five of the six months, despite numerous assurances that payments would be made on time.
"Last month, the Professional Footballers Association contacted the club and assurances were given that the situation would not arise again.
"The players have accepted the situation up to now, even though they have been advised the club is in breach of contract.
"The players are entitled to exercise their rights and, although we believe that strike action would be very extreme, we feel there are not many other options until the current situation changes for the better.
There is no question of the strike threat being carried out immediately.
The players' revolt could not have come at a more embarrassing moment for the Second Division club.
Newly-promoted Blackburn Rovers are at the Racecourse tonight and Premiership champions Manchester United are lined up for Saturday's testimonial match to reward long-serving Wrexham manager Brian Flynn and his assistant, Kevin Reeves.
The revenue from tonight's game, and the start of the new season on Saturday week should put an end to Wrexham's wobbles on the financial tightrope.
And managing director David Rhodes found himself defending allegations that businessman Mike Ryder was not now taking up a position as Wrexham's new commercial manager.
This is despite news of his appointment appearing, albeit briefly, on the club's official website last week.
Mr Ryder was previously connected with the club when his company, Freshfields Ltd, was appointed to oversee a doomed £43m redevelopment of the Racecourse in the early 1990s. The scheme included plans for a hotel and cinema complex adjoining a revamped all-seater stadium.
Mr Rhodes said in a statement: "The players' wages will be paid tomorrow and there should not be any problems in the future.
Regarding Mr Ryder, he added: "Mike Ryder has not taken up a position that was at the discussion stage. The commercial department is currently being run by commercial director Dave Bennett and Phil Sadler (in charge of the club's Gold Bond lottery scheme).