Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown has revealed how administrator Trevor Birch explained the dire situation at the club to the players.
Pompey are thought to be on the brink of liquidation and the club's playing staff are having to come to terms with the reality that they are unlikely to see the money they are owed.
Ashdown confirmed the players had agreed to take a pay cut after some stark words from Birch.
"He told us straight," Ashdown told The Mail on Sunday. "We had to take a pay cut or they would have to close the doors at Portsmouth. It was as clear as day.
"The deal was laid out. January's wages had to be totally written off for now. We'd only get 75% of our wages for February. The rest would be deferred.
"It was our choice but, of course, when the only option was liquidation, there wasn't really a choice. We were told it was that serious. The players met the next day after Trevor came in and agreed to it.
"I don't think Trevor is scaremongering. He is genuinely worried. If no-one buys Portsmouth in six weeks, there is a problem."
Lots of tears
The 31-year-old keeper admits it has been difficult to see things turn sour at the club, especially when the worst seemed to be behind them.
He said: "You see people slog their guts out for minimal money and they lose their jobs. It's no surprise there are a lot of upset people and a lot of tears.
"We thought we'd come through the worst of it in 2010. We started signing players, we had a new owner and things looked bright. Then we heard he was wanted for alleged fraud and things have spiralled since then."
Ashdown is one of the higher earners at Portsmouth and currently finds himself out of the team, denying him the chance to earn bonuses written into his contract.
And while he admits there could be tough times ahead, the former Reading man is well aware there are many worse off than him.
"A lot of my money is locked into a pension and we can't get it," he added. "I wish I'd invested less and had access to more to pay the mortgage and things like that.
"But it's not a sob story for myself, there are players who earn a few hundred pounds a week in an even worse boat. It's a terrible situation."