Contract Revolution For Villa (11 Jan)
 John Gregory wants to revolutionise the way in which Aston Villa negotiate new contracts. 

 The Villa manager is determined to put an end to contracts where players pick up handsome
 bonuses for being non-playing substitutes. 

 Gregory is keen to maintain the trend set when signing teenage star Gareth Barry, whose new
 contract is understood to be worth a basic £2,500-a-week plus £7,500 for every appearance he
 makes for Villa. 

 Gregory said: ``That particular contract was incentive-related. It said to Gareth `if you want to
 earn good money, you have to play' and that he would not get it for sitting around. 

 ``That's the way for me. I've inherited quite a few contracts where people actually get money for
 just being a substitute. That's not enough for me. 

 ``Players have got to go on the pitch and earn their money. It's easy to sit there and be a sub every
 week and pick up cash for not going on the pitch. 

 ``The boys who have got incentive schemes in their contracts have them for actually taking to the
 field of play. 

 ``I think that sort of scheme is important for youngsters in the sense that they have still got a carrot
 dangling in front of them.'' 

 Meanwhile Paul Merson flies back to England today - waiting to see if he will face any action over
 his whistle-stop trip to America by Concorde over the weekend. 

 Merson has been battling to overcome a back problem and is due to make his reserve comeback
 this Wednesday against Derby. 

 But, instead of watching Villa in action at his former club Middlesbrough, he flew out on Friday
 after training to watch the Super Bowl quarter-final between the New York Jets and the
 Jacksonville Jaguars. 

 Merson also took in the National Ice Hockey League clash involving the New York Rangers
 before flying back today. 

 Some Villa officials are understood to have been in the dark over Merson's trip and it remains to
 be seen whether his weekend adventure - and the strain it will have placed on his troublesome
 back - will incur the wrath of Gregory. 

Martin Sivorn © 1999.E-Mail Me