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Pompey keep calm and carry on, eventually

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Matt Slater | 20:20 UK time, Monday, 25 October 2010

On the brink of death on Friday, feeling better on Saturday, completely fine on Sunday - for almost any other club this would have been a dramatic and remarkable weekend, for Portsmouth it was business as usual.

Depressing, embarrassing and grasping business, but business all the same.

There's an old saying about laws and sausages; making them is an unappetising process. I have a feeling it is a similar story when it comes to company voluntary arrangements (CVAs), which is why it is regrettable Pompey fans had their Friday nights spoiled for no apparent reason.

I say "apparent" but there was a bit more to the great Sacha Gaydamak panic than a bout of man flu. Not enough to warrant the "Portsmouth in jeopardy" shock tactics perhaps, but enough to bring some urgency to the sadly inevitable last-minute haggling.

Portsmouth WERE almost broke last week and it is true to say the club could not have continued in the limbo state of administration for much longer.


Some Portsmouth fans discovered the news while at their game with Hull. Photo: PA

Having already spent at least two months longer than was hoped under the control of UHY Hacker Young's well-rewarded business recovery experts, the club badly needed to get on with the next stage of the recovery process.

The equation was simple. Despite the job losses, cancelled contracts and player sales, Portsmouth were still only a very generous definition of a solvent business.

The emergency budget drawn up by administrator Andrew Andronikou in February just about stacked up, but it was always a close-run thing as a relegation-doomed Pompey would suit nobody (apart perhaps from some Southampton fans).

I have a sneaky feeling Andronikou has quietly changed his £10,000-a-week wage cap for players to a squad average but I am also certain manager Steve Cotterill made a sound case for doing so. Hence the additions of budget-stretching talents like Greg Halford, Dave Kitson and Liam Lawrence.

Keeping Pompey credible on the park was not the only unavoidable cost. There was also the matter of Andronikou's fees and those of the numerous lawyers he has sent into battle. That bill is approximately £2m now. There was more than just reputations at stake here.

With the Football League holding on to television money, the Premier League siphoning Pompey's relegation booby prize direct to the clubs and players owed money by the Fratton Park outfit and the bank only releasing season-ticket revenue in pro rata chunks, there was cash in the business, Andronikou just couldn't get his hands on it.

The only way to open the vaults again was to proceed with the CVA (effectively a get-out-of-debt-nearly-free card) "agreed" in May and defended in the High Court in August.

Andronikou knew it, the club chairman David Lampitt knew it, even the businessmen squabbling over the remains of Pompey's Premier League era knew it.

So how on earth did we get from a position of apparent consensus and mutual benefit to Friday's "it appears likely the club will now be closed down" incendiary device?

It is a question I have asked both sides in the dispute and a few innocent parties stuck in the middle too - would it surprise you to learn I have heard at least three different versions of what sounds like a fairly straightforward row about money?

I'll spare you the full details but one side claims the deal was done as far as they were concerned, if only one of the key creditors could be found to put his signature to it, only for him to change his mind at the "11th hour" and demand "a significant upfront payment".

The other side claim they were more than happy to sign the agreed deal only to be handed something different, prompting them to refuse to sign until further talks could be held after the Jewish Sabbath had passed on Saturday evening.

The guys in the middle went for a blend of these positions, wishing only for a plague to descend upon both of their houses.

Who's telling the truth? Frankly, who cares?

What we can say is the deal was signed on Sunday, former owner Alexandre "Sacha" Gaydamak will get all of the £2.5m he is owed as a secured creditor (£300,000 of that immediately) and Balram Chainrai is the owner of Portsmouth Football Club for the second time this year.

With Chainrai the effective owner of the club, thanks to his legal hold over Pompey's "assets" and stadium, and Gaydamak the owner of the land surrounding the stadium - land that is only of real value to a serious owner of Portsmouth Football Club - there was little else they could do.

They need each other, which is a delightful irony considering the fact their families and business associates have been in serious dispute in various courts in Israel: a complete coincidence that, by the way.

So one chapter in Pompey's rich and storied (or should that be Storried?) history is over. They have left administration for the second time in little more than a decade and can look forward to a better future.

The immediate benefits of starting the CVA are the Football League cuts them a bit more slack (Cotterill can increase his squad beyond the league-imposed max of 20, although they will be scrutinising every move for the next two years), a little more money should flow their way and Lampitt can get on with running the club without Andronikou's imperial assent.

Lampitt is exactly the kind of leader Pompey need - honest, real and smart - but he might have some early PR work to do for his role in spooking the fans this weekend. Friday's press release was not Andronikou's work.

For the administrator, the CVA means a change of role. Andronikou becomes a supervisor and while his involvement should last another five years (the schedule for completing all the payments), his billable hours will drop considerably.

He does, however, have one very important task to complete: his investigation into what went wrong.

His preliminary report on the actions of the club's board members over the last few years is expected at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills next month, although there is a two-year window for a full inquiry to commence.

Many questions have been asked of his impartiality in this matter over the last eight months and so far he has answered all of them to the satisfaction of the courts. With the taxman nursing the biggest loss from this debacle, the scrutiny he is under to pursue any wrongdoers will not diminish.

The next key date for him will be the formal winding-up of Portsmouth City Football Club Ltd next March, and the safe launch of a new Pompey holding vehicle.

What Chainrai and chums do now remains to be seen but the most likely scenario is that they are stuck with the club a bit longer, and vice-versa.

Do not read too much into the talk of rival consortia with "sorted" financing, they don't exist. Not yet, anyway. As Lampitt himself admitted on Monday, the club need stability now and that means Chainrai.

It is an outcome that will disappoint many at Revenue and Customs, and thrill few in Portsmouth, but it beats liquidation, which would be a shame for a team now priced just 8/1 to reach the play-offs.

A shot at the Premier League again would be a ridiculous proposition for a club apparently at death's door three days ago but this is Pompey, ridiculous is normal.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bbc_matt

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Whatever the ins and outs the one thing that is undeniable is that it still completely stinks. The fact that a former owner can regain ownership less £100m of debt is rediculous. The CVA proposed a measely 20p in the pound whilst pleading poverty and then they go and pay Lawrence and Kitson £20k a week. Not only slightly amoral but also suggests that the lessons may not have been learnt.

    Glad this article didn't make too much play of the "long suffering fans" we hear of so often in the media. Pompey's unpaid debt had propelled them to the best league positions in 50 years, two appearances in the FA Cup final (one winning) and their first foray into Europe - long suffering? I don't think so.

  • Comment number 2.

    1st?
    Only in football can a former owner and footballers be paid in full while other creditors get 20% (or whatever it is).

  • Comment number 3.

    And let's not forget Southsea, the Football League sanctioned all of this. They can't pay their creditors, they can't find kids to warm the bench, yet they can pay Premier League wages for loan players. So much for protecting the image of the game and promoting fair play. Impotent football authorities sit back and let this all play out as ever...

  • Comment number 4.

    Portsmouth have been let down by greedy owners who have been trying to make money out of the club we can blame the players wages and the amonout paid for them to be honest the player transfer were far higher than the amout paid for them.

    The owners tried making the club pay for itself like manu did an they failed and they took what money the club made and asked for back. These people should have been on trial not the club and the fans who support a briillant club. Im not a pompy fan but i belive that the blame should lie with those who bought the club and cause the mayhem.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm relived for the Portsmouth fans.

    As a Wolves fan I know what its like being 'minutes' from extinction. We might never actually have been in danger with all the closed door dealings...but the fans don't know it at the time & it sure ain't fun. Our 11th hour 'rescue' relegated us from 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th Divisions but at least we lived to tell the tale...which is its better to survive & play at any level cause if you've got the history & fan base you'll always get back, eventually.

    This time we're back with long term sustainability & even if we are relegated it wont be a long term problem. Overspending to 'guarantee' Premiership survival is certainly something we never want to see again.

  • Comment number 6.

    I will be forever bemused how the Serious Fraud Office havn't shone a bright light into Pompey's very very dark financial mess.

  • Comment number 7.

    SouthseaSaint.

    I am trying not to drag our rivalry into this article, which is well written btw Matt. At the end of the day, HMRC have made a rod for their own back with allowing football clubs to have such ridiculous tax laws and if all the major creditors wanted something rather than nothing back for their investment/services then our little club could only afford 20p in the pound.

    This whole saga and any other involving a fc and money will only highlight what is wrong with the beautiful game, its all about the money. The PL money, money for europe, money saved buying and money made selling. money from sponsorhip, money from merchandise. money, money money.

    FIFA and UEFA need to stop taking and being seen to do something and actually change the way football is going. It is an ugly beast now but I cannot help but love it when the game is played, there is nothing like the atmosphere of Fratton Park and yes I can hark on about how great fans we are because thats what we are.

    I love football passionately, not just my team but the game. I hate passionately the way football is ran, only the FA and PL can save english football. The FA don't have the power and the PL don't want to lose the money.

    For now. Play Up Pompey.

  • Comment number 8.

    The FA do have the power to install whatever rules they want for how clubs are run and financed. All clubs have to abide by the rules of the association if they want to take part in it's Leagues and Competitions.

    However, the FA won't do it because they are scared of the big clubs. If the FA come up with a rule that Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal etc don't like, they know there is a likelyhood these clubs would simply go off and set up their own league again. Probably a European one, which the FA would get no income from. The FA also know that Sky TV would back those big clubs doing that.

    So, the FA & the Football League will only ever be able to dish out weak slaps on the wrist. In fact, they appear to be getting weaker and weaker. Poor old Swindon got a much harsher penalty for reasons that don't hold a candle to what's gone on at Pompey, Leeds and other clubs in recent years.

    But I agree about greed ruining this game.

  • Comment number 9.

    The FA do have the power to install whatever rules they want for how clubs are run and financed. All clubs have to abide by the rules of the association if they want to take part in it's Leagues and Competitions.....

    ----------
    The only competition that the FA run is the FA Cup. They are reponsible for the policing of the game on the pitch and financial rulings but they require cooperation from the Premier League/Football League to remove teams from those competitions.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hooray for Pompey. At last they can resume overspending and running up their next set of unpayable debts! Maybe win another trophy at the expense of the taxpayer and small businesses of the south coast of England...

  • Comment number 11.

    Dumbslog

    We weren't the first club to make a mess and leave businesses in serious trouble and I guarantee we won't be the last. However, I understand your frustrations and your comment is valid.

    thanks for clearing up what I was trying to say in my earlier post Hackerjack.

  • Comment number 12.

    The football authorities need to introduce strict financial covenants in relation to the amount of debt football clubs are allowed to carry. At the moment all they do is punish the clubs after it has all gone wrong when they should be ensuring it is not allowed to happen in the first place. There should be a strict limit on the amount of debt clubs are allowed to have in relation to their earnings and cashflow and if these limits are breached clubs should be docked points. This would hit the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool hard but would have prevented clubs like Leeds and Portsmouth and the rest being allowed to run up the debts which have destroyed the clubs.

  • Comment number 13.

    Totally agree with point one, a point that has meant any sympathy i've had for portsmouth has gone.

    How is it that in accumulating so much debt (£100million plus), and failing to pay such a long list of creditors including small local businesses, schools and charities, those creditors only get 20p in the pound, and whilst those people are still having to wait for their reduced fees portsmouth go out and sign several premiership footballers on loan (wilkinson, kitson, sonko and lawrence), and other new faces. Why on earth were they allowed to bring in yet more high paid players when they still hadn't paid off these businesses?? And sorry, no the 'but we have to have a 20 man squad' rule doesn't lay any weight as they could surely have signed some lower league footballers or signed up some youth teamers on far far cheaper wages and actually paid some of their debts.

    As far as I'm concerned all players at portsmouth should have been available for transfer and the manager / club shouldn't have had a say in it.

    What will disgust me even more is if they bring in anyone in the january window.

  • Comment number 14.

    We got those players as they were the best available to us. Jimmy Bullard I believe is the highest paid player in the Championship at the moment, on something like £40k a week.

    Us Portsmouth fans want to try move past our past financial mess and move on, we won't ignore the fact it happened, as of course it did, 1 FA Cup and 5 trips to Wembley to prove it.

  • Comment number 15.

    @12

    Totally agree with you, It seems that the so called authorities are only interested once the full thing has gone t**s up.

    Why not have rules in place to stop this kind of thing happening in the first place?

    We live in a time when the commo man is finding it hard to live yet football clubs/owners can run up hundreds and thousands of debt chasing a dream only to have this written off and take charge of the same team once more.

    The laws of the game are wrong and untill this is changed teams will continue to do this sort of this chasing a pipe dream.

  • Comment number 16.

    The problem with football is Money a certain Mr W . Rooney confirms all the games Ill's

    At my dear club Pompey we have had some individuals running it over the last 3 years who think the clubs a 'golden goose', making loads of money for themselves, while the fans view of their actions is viewed with such contempt that the opioion is they are not fit to run a bath !

    I do hope as a result of the turmoil the fans & the club have gone through, football as a buisness is cleaned up, and the culprits responsible for Pompey's demise are held accountable as a disincentive for it to happen again

    That in my view is the FA's, the FL's & premier leagues challenge
    'To clean up the game' and as all politicans seem to espouse make everything "transparent" will they do it?

    well at present & In My Humble view the jurys out ............ so all we can do is hope that common sense and fair play returns to our great game

  • Comment number 17.

    Excellent article Matt!

    A couple of responses for some comments above:

    - The charities are being paid in full, IN ADDITION to the excellent fund raising from the fans earlier this summer that recouped a large amount for a number of those affected.
    - The CVA was agreed as the best way of paying back the creditors - 20p in the pound or nothing what would you chose? There is a plan for doing this - the CVA. As part of that we have sold a number of our key players recouping significant sums - without replacing them we don't have a competitive squad, we get relegated and the creditors get nothing.

    I do wish some people could think beyond emotive statements

  • Comment number 18.

    I didnt want to see Pompy go under, but I think while all this sort of thing is going on they should not have been able to buy or loan players, infact they should have sold the players they did have, and had to pick up park players on minimum wage and taken relegation on the chin.

    As a bitter Bristol City fan facing the drop I cant help but think Pompy have been given a leg up by loopholes in the rules, they have beaten us already this season with players like Lawrence, Kanu, Nugent, and Kitson in their side. This is exactly the same as when West Ham stayed up playing a Carlos when he was already inellegable.

    They didnt mind running up the bills when they were winning the FA cup, so now it should be payback time, sadly with a bit of creative accounting they have gotten away scot free.

    Disgraceful.

  • Comment number 19.

    I can't help feeling that Portsmouth FC have got away scot-free from this. They've wiped out 80% of their debts, had a 9 point deduction last season that made no difference whatsoever to the eventual outcome i.e. relegation (I always thought it was carried over to the following season if this was the case - or does this only apply within the Football League?) and they still have 2 or 3 more seasons of parachute payments remaining, which probably puts them in a better position than half of the rest of the Championship. It stinks.

  • Comment number 20.

    Couldn't agree more NEBlue. The vitriol from some of these posters you would think they had actually lost money themselves. The issues at Portsmouth are the same for most clubs in the Football League: not enough money coming in to cover their outgoings. UEFA's fair competition standards will help redress that in the Premiership but the FL is horribly under-regulated.
    Pompey did not swindle their way to an FA Cup win any more than Manchester City have swindled their way to winning not a lot yet or Cheskea have done in winning the Premiership on monies that their football related income cannot support. Either would be in a far worse state than Portsmouth if their owners suddenly decided to stop funding the top-heavy structure and unrealistic squad salary bill as Gaydamak did. He built up the club's playing side and debt situation and then stopped funding it. It could happen to any club until the governing bodies put a salary cap in place and insist on specific profit focused business plans with annual audit reviews. Won't happen.

  • Comment number 21.

    #13 - mtrenners
    How is it that in accumulating so much debt (£100million plus), and failing to pay such a long list of creditors including small local businesses, schools and charities, those creditors only get 20p in the pound, and whilst those people are still having to wait for their reduced fees portsmouth go out and sign several premiership footballers on loan

    ====================================

    I guess the club can justify those signings because success and money are intrinsically linked. Simply selling all the players and getting in frees won't do, because without success on the pitch, the money coming in will decrease. The CVA will have been based on predictions/projections that the clubs will earn X amount of pounds over the next X years - relegation and a reduction in the clubs incomings could lead to financial ruin all over again.

    Nobody is proud of what has happened at the club - not even the most die hard of fans wants to see local businesses go without. But regardless of that, the CVA has been agreed, the budgets have been set, and if Cotterill can find players that fit into those budgets, then so be it. We didn't pay for Kitson or Lawrence - they came as part of deal that saw Wilson go the other way. We even got money. Sonko and Halford are loans. So the only concern here is wages - and like I say, if the numbers add up and they fit into the budget that has been set, then so be it. It's in *everyone's* best interests for the club to survive (I'm no expert but I can't see the creditors getting much if the club liquidates) so ultimately I'm of the opinion the league agrees it, and the administrator (and now the owner) agree it, then let Cotterill do what he does within the constraints of his budget.

  • Comment number 22.

    @20 "The vitriol from some of these posters you would think they had actually lost money themselves"

    As tax payers we have. In this financial climate where cuts are rife in the public sector do you think it is right that HMRC is ripped off millions? When the local hospitals and schools are forced to make cuts, even Portsmouth's naval dockyard - then maybe you should remember that PFC have cheated the public purse of tens of millions of pounds, are you proud of that?

    PFC are all that is wrong in modern football and it is disgusting that they continue to "run" their business in the same unsustainable manner that caused this whole sorry mess in the first place.

    It is very wrong that the very person who put PFC into administration can then buy them back for next to nothing. One can only hope that now the protection that administration has given PFC for the last few months has gone that they truly get what they deserve.

    This basket case of embarrassment to football as a whole is far from done.

  • Comment number 23.

    In all this I think people forget, this has all happened under the stewardship of Messrs. Guydamark, Al Faraj, Al fahim and Storrie.

    yes, someone has to be held accountable. These are the ones making the executive orders on who is paid and who is not.

  • Comment number 24.

    This saga goes to show how unethical footabll has become

    To offer 20p in the pound to creditors, presumably many local businesses whilst paying players such high salaries shows an unacceptable regard for the comunity in which the club sits

    I'd suggest the folloiwng chnages to the regulatory environment:

    1 Insolvency laws to be chnaged such that footballers to rank equally with other creditors
    2 The FA to introduce wage caps say 60% of salary with no-one player receiving more than 5% of the total wages
    3 Reduction in the parachute payments to force clubs to negotiate contracts with players whereby wages are reduced on relegation

    For the long-term good of the game it would have been better if Portsmouth had ceased trading as this may have been the catalyst for a reform of the games administration; as it stands the FA will do nothing as normal breathing a sigh of relief that once again they don't have to act

  • Comment number 25.

    #18 LummiePie - Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla
    sadly with a bit of creative accounting they have gotten away scot free.

    ====================================

    It is ludicrous that people can still believe Portsmouth FC have come out of this "scot free".

    Points deduction, relegation, the brink of liquidation, transfer embargos, losing managers and players - all deserved punishments considering how they came about (you can't accidentally overspend and rack up debt) but considering those responsible for that debt have long since left the club, you have to wonder who exactly these people want to see punished.

    Some of the money from the parachute payments is tied up in the CVA (and rightly so) so it's not like Portsmouth are going to buy their way straight back up. We have a squad of, what, 20 now? An inability to fill the bench. We have little cover for most of our positions, so any injuries or suspensions and we're screwed. These are not complaints - it'd be rich indeed to start acting like we are hard done by here - but similarly it's ridiculous to think that we are identical to the club that won the FA cup, just without the debt.

  • Comment number 26.

    #22 HeadNotINSand wrote
    maybe you should remember that PFC have cheated the public purse of tens of millions of pounds, are you proud of that?

    PFC are all that is wrong in modern football and it is disgusting that they continue to "run" their business in the same unsustainable manner that caused this whole sorry mess in the first place.

    ===========================

    You make it sound like PFC are the only club that HMRC take issue with. The court cases with HMRC relate to the amount we owed them - because they believed some of the payments we made to players should have been taxable - and because 'football rules' dictate that they are at the bottom of the list of creditors and have to take what is agreed in the CVA, rather than the football creditors who get 100% of what they are owed.

    The PFC vs HMRC issues are football wide, and if HMRC had won their court cases they would have had football wide implications - you're only aware of them because of PFC's financial ruin.

  • Comment number 27.

    Funny how the club was put into administration.

    Yet they are still able to fund the wages of Lawrence, Kitson, Halford, Sonko(reportedly 30k a week wage from his time on loan at Hull), as well as signing Kanu, Hieredasson on new contracts.

    This absolute stinks, and just acknowledges everything that is wrong with football and the spineless Football league.

    There excuse was that the needed players as they couldn’t name a match day squad, so Portsmouth don’t have a youth team they could have promoted from? Or trawled the local area, or lower leagues to get numbers in.

    It’s complete crap about them not being competitive, so what!!! I’d look at getting your just deserts for the financial mismanagement of the club. So what if you plummet down the league structure, it would send out the right message.

  • Comment number 28.

    #24 martin3647:

    To some extend I agree with you. Had PFC gone to the wall, it might have been the wake up call that the clubs and the leagues needed to sort out their houses. It's certainly true that football can not continue like this for long - the money involved is just too much.

    But of course it's easy to say that when it's not your supported club in the firing line, and so ultimately I am glad we dodged the bullet.

  • Comment number 29.

    #28 FortressFratton

    Being a Wednesdayite I can only say there for the grace of God go I

    I wouldn't wish the cessation of a club trading on any fan, but I feel unfortunately it will take such a catastrophic event to get the FA to wake up

  • Comment number 30.

    I think a lot of people's issues with Portsmouth is the fact that they were spending far more than they were taking in. When things hit rock bottom and their finances were out in the open, a lot of the public were surprised at how much debt there was and the percentage of turnover being spent on wages.

    Once the club were docked points and relegated and saved from liquidation, it then comes out again into the public domain that the club are still massively in debt and on the verge of going out of business.

    I'm sure many other football fans (myself included) had a lot of sympathy for what was happening as it wasn't the fans who were responsible. However, I think that news of players earning in excess of £20k a week even though many creditors couldn't be paid has probably done away with any goodwill towards Pompey that was there.

    Again, I understand that it's not the fans fault, but the people who are the decision makers clearly haven't learned lessons from last year as they are still paying wages in advance of what they can actually afford (in so far as the amount they owe to creditors still hasn't been paid and an offer of 20p in the pound is ludircous).

  • Comment number 31.

    Just to put it in perspective, here is a list of clubs in administration over the last 25 years;

    Charlton 1984
    Middlesbrough 1986
    Tranmere 1987
    Newport County 1989
    Walsall 1990
    Northampton 1992
    Kettering 1992
    Aldershot 1992
    Maidstone 1992
    Hartlepool 1994
    Barnet 1994
    Exeter 1994, 2003
    Gillingham 1995
    Doncaster 1997
    Millwall 1997
    Bournemouth 1997, 2008
    Darlington 1997, 2009
    Chester 1998, 2009
    Hereford 1998
    Portsmouth 1999, 2010
    Crystal Palace 1999, 2010
    Oxford Utd 1999
    Barrow 1999
    Swindon 2000, 2002
    Scarborough 2000
    Hull 2001
    QPR 2001
    Chesterfield 2001
    Leicester 2002
    Barnsley 2002
    Carlisle 2002
    Notts County 2002
    Bury 2002
    Bradford 2002
    Port Vale 2002
    Lincoln City 2002
    Swansea City 2002
    York 2002
    Halifax Town 2002, 2008
    Derby 2003
    Ipswich 2003
    Huddersfield 2003
    Oldham 2003
    MK Dons 2003
    Wimbledon 2003
    Wrexham 2004
    Cambridge 2005
    Crawley Town 2006
    Rotherham 2006, 2008
    Leeds United 2007
    Boston United 2007
    Southampton 2008
    Luton 2008
    Stockport 2009
    Salisbury 2009

    Yes, Pompey bought success they couldn't afford.
    But, if you were the manager of a small South Coast club and were told by your chairman you could have a squad boasting of James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Diop, Muntari, Diarra, Defoe, Crouch, Krancjar.... What would you do? Worry about the bank balance?

    Thought not, you'd do what everyone would.. Give the fans their day in the sun.

    The fact we than returned to Wembley with a shadow of the squad we once had is a testiment to the club, manager and fans.

  • Comment number 32.

    Surely the simple way out it to withdraw the proteced creditor status for everyone?

    If that happens, both players and clubs will carry out some form of due dilligence on the entity there are being sold to/ selling to, to ensure that they have the funds.

    And hopefully it will bring down wages as the player has to think whether he is going to get the 250k per week for the whole contract that he believes he is worth.

  • Comment number 33.

    As someone studying the JIEB, I would point out that HeadNotINSand is completely wrong to suggest the owners "bought the club back for next to nothing." The club hasn't been bought or sold during the Admin. A CVA has no implications for ownership. Why post if you don't know what you're talking about?

    As a Pomey fan, I would trade the FA Cup for stability and sense any day.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good story - there's a book to be written about the last few years at PFC.

    For those complaining about the measly offer of 20p in the pound in the CVA, at least it's better than the 1p in the pound paid by Crystal Palace FC earlier this year. This sort of thing happens in business all the time, not just football.

    And for people to be outraged by the wages of Kitson, Lawrence et al are just being churlish. Is the club supposed to play the youth team and plummet through the divisions, leading to a very real risk of the club ceasing to exist? The administrator set a wages budget and the manager is doing a great job working within its confines. And no way Sonko is earning in the postcode of £30k a week - he was signed when the £10k cap was firmly in place.

  • Comment number 35.

    As a Southend United fan, what I don't understand is that Portsmouth were still allowed to sign players even though they were in administration, yet we were not in administration, but because we owed some money to the PFA for players wages we were not allowed to sign players and if we hadn't of paid the money back by the start of the season we would have had to play the youth team players, whether we would have been competitive or not.

    Instead to make sure we didn't go into admin we had to release our entire squad (bar two or three) when we were relegated and sign a whole host of new players that wouldn't command a fee or high wages in any way to get the wage structure down, yet Portsmouth have managed to sign players on excess of £20,000 a week when they are STILL IN administration.

    It just doesn't make any sense to me. There needs to be a far more being done by the FA to get in line with say a German way of dealing whereby all clubs have to operate within a means, ticket prices have to be cheap and wages can not be astronomical.

    I feel for the Portsmouth fans as non of this is their fault and I just can't believe the real people responsable (Storrie for example who we had a lucky escape with) won't be held to accoun for their part!

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't think it's about being outraged - it's natural that people lose sympathy for a club when they can't pay creditors but are spending money over and above what they can afford (yet again) on wages.

    If I owed someone £50 and said that I couldn't pay the money back, but they desperately needed it to pay for clothes for their kids, then they see me go out and spend money on a new tv, they'd have every right to be annoyed.

    Also, this would be particularly annoying given that it isn't the first time the club have been spending over and above their means.

    When the club nearly went under already then I as a fan would expect that the people at the top of the club learned their lesson and didn't put the future of the club further in jeopardy but paying players over £10k a week.

    I personally would rather my team played a load of kids than risk the club going under, even if we had to be relegated so that we could live within our means.

  • Comment number 37.

    And for people to be outraged by the wages of Kitson, Lawrence et al are just being churlish. Is the club supposed to play the youth team and plummet through the divisions, leading to a very real risk of the club ceasing to exist?

    --------------------------

    Basically, yes. What do you expect. Sonko, Kitson, Nugent, Lawrence, Brownie, Halford. You're having a laugh, but it ain't funny.

  • Comment number 38.

    Not for one minute did I want to see Portsmouth go out of business. At the end of the day Football clubs has loyal, die hard fans - completely different to any other business.

    The Pompey fans did nothing wrong. It wasn't their fault what was happening within their club. The did not deserve to be without a football club to support - no fan does.

    But how Portsmouth have carried on this season is wrong. Giving out-of-contracts new contracts; brining in Premiership players on loan; keeping hold of players that could have fetched a trasnfer fee (albeit at a knock-down price).

    Players, especially new ones, should not be being paid ahead of those creditors that are now out of pocket by 80p in every pound. Even if it meant Pompey having to field 8 teenagers every week, and having a bench of 3 players. They club would still exist, in would still be turning out every Saturday, the fans would still have a club to support, but the creditors would be in a better position.

    I can completely understand why many people believe that Pompey have effectively got away with this. And in many respects I too believe that.

  • Comment number 39.

    I love how everyone is pointing the finger at the club not the people who ran it when we amassed the debts.

    Also, to everyone saying "it's a disgrace, only 20p in the pound" every single creditor had the opportunity to say no to the CVA. The only people who did? Paul Hart and HMRC.

    Don't forget that a lot of the creditors are local companies, had the club gone into liquidation they would have received nothing and the entire city would have been affected....... sure enough there are some people out there who wont care about the people of portsmouth, but that's 200,000 people we are talking about.

  • Comment number 40.

    A sigh of relief for Pompey then. Was that photo deliberate in having 'Phew' written behind those fans!?

  • Comment number 41.

    #34
    For those complaining about the measly offer of 20p in the pound in the CVA, at least it's better than the 1p in the pound paid by Crystal Palace FC earlier this year. This sort of thing happens in business all the time, not just football.
    -------------------------
    Yes admin does happen all the time but while that may give the action legality it might not make it right. In Scotland Dundee FC are in admin for the second time in 7 years and again expecting a bail out from their fans (now that the creditors including HMRC to whom the club owed £0.5m): a club who don't own their own stadium and who were offering bigger contracts to players than their competitors (and even SPL clubs) up to 3 weeks before the administrator was brought in and whose accopuntant was warning of problems 10 months ago. If any of this was going on a Pompey what is 'right' that clubs are able to behave in this fashion?

  • Comment number 42.

    35. At 1:48pm on 26 Oct 2010, pieface wrote:
    As a Southend United fan, what I don't understand is that Portsmouth were still allowed to sign players even though they were in administration, yet we were not in administration, but because we owed some money to the PFA for players wages we were not allowed to sign players and if we hadn't of paid the money back by the start of the season we would have had to play the youth team players, whether we would have been competitive or not.

    ==============================

    To clear this one up, Portsmouth were only allowed to sign players because they were below the 20 player requirement for a squad. We had a transfer embargo (which has now been lifted as long as all deals are approved by the league) so ultimately were, by the sound of it, in the same situation as Southend. But presumably you guys had more than 20 players and as such were forbidden from taking on more - whereas we were allowed to sign players in order to bring us to this 20 player limit.

    When I say sign, though, we didn't spend any money (in terms of transfer fees, at least). We brought in loans, out-of-contract players and did swap deals.

  • Comment number 43.

    WestPompey - would all those creditors have said "yes" if they'd known that there was enough excess cash to bring in Premiership players on £20k a week?

    I agree with your first point though. There should be a rule that any owners or directors involved at a club say a year prior to administration can't be involved with any club for say 10 years. That might put off chancers like Chanrai and Storrie.

  • Comment number 44.

    38. At 2:03pm on 26 Oct 2010, st_brendy wrote:
    But how Portsmouth have carried on this season is wrong. Giving out-of-contracts new contracts; brining in Premiership players on loan; keeping hold of players that could have fetched a trasnfer fee (albeit at a knock-down price).

    -------------------------------------

    Players will only fetch a transfer fee if bids are received for them. Earlier this year, around February I believe, it was made quite clear that we'll listen to offers for all our players.

    The reality is, we didn't receive offers for some of them - or if we did, the player didn't want to go. As much as we'd have liked to have gotten some high earners off our wage bill, we ultimately have a contract with the players, and unless we receive an offer and they agree to the terms on offer at the new club, we have to honour that contract by law. Nugent and Utaka, for example, are probably on contracts that we cannot afford to keep them on, but we can't remedy that unless:

    a) the contract expires
    b) a club offers to buy them and the player agrees to go
    c) the player agrees to sign a new deal on a lower wage (never going to happen!)

    Saying "PFC should have sold some players" is all well and good, but the first step is getting offers for them.

  • Comment number 45.

    I love pompey and I truely hope that this is the last article of this nature before a line is drawn under it and talking about football resumes - after all that why we are all interest and its easy to forget that its a sport too.

    Anyway I see it escapes everyones notice who is accusing pompey of cheating etc etc etc that nobody like our fans said anything about the players we were bringing in because (and im sure the articles and stories are achived) Sasha Gaydermack came in leading us to believe he was funding the club out of his own money and came in with the promise of investing millions of what we could only assume would have been his money in players to push us up the league.

    He was also promising to build a new ground to generate interest and the revenue to support that kind of team.

    hindsight is a wonderful thing and people should start at the beggining and work forward if they want a clear and proper picture of what was said and how the story unfolded.

    You will need about a month off work to do it though.

    On a similar vein if anybody traced the quotes and promises of Peter Storrie over the last few year pre and post Gaydermack then you will realise what we (Pompey fans) had to deal with long before this became national.

    I hope now this is finally finished that the budding economists and accountants that regularly post on 606 now move onto something they are more qualified to talk about.

    Pompey = Fans and football. That should never be forgotten.

    Play up Pompey.

    Ps Southsea Saint???!!! I really didnt think I would ever find a smaller minority since the Adolf Hitler fan club shut down.

  • Comment number 46.

    Modern day football needs a cautionary tale, a true story depicting the foils of bad management and living beyond your means, a story to prevent or to at least act as a warning to chairmen and owners of football clubs, that cautionary tale should have been Portsmouth FC.

    What exactly has the Portsmouth saga taught us? That you can wipe out millions of pounds of debt at the cost of the local business's and fans that support you week in, week out and still exsist. Yes, you were relegated but this appears to be a slap on the hand and a half hearted 'dont do that again', as you look to be in good shape to push for promotion this season.

    Now dont get me wrong, im very happy for all the Portsmouth fans, nobody deserves to lose their pride and joy because of the actions of 'loose cannon' owners trying to make a cheeky profit. I'd never want a club to disappear and be wound up (i.e. Chester, Accrington, etc) however I fully believe that you should be accountable for the amassed debts and have recieved greater punishment.

    If we are not careful top flight football in this country will implode in the not too distant future.

  • Comment number 47.

    SouthseaSaint - The CVA is a plan that ensures the creditors get their 20p in the £1. The creditors agreed the plan. The signings were in accordance with the plan AND only allowed on this basis.

    WHEN WILL PEOPLE STOP BEING EMOTIVE AND UNDERSTAND ONLY A VIABLE POMPEY GETS THE CREDITORS THEIR MONEY BACK!! THIS IS WHAT THE CVA IS ABOUT AND WHAT WAS AGREED!!!!

    (sorry for shouting)

    Oh and by the way (although my view of success is survial in the Championship this season) IF our current form continues and IF we were promoted to the premiership the creditors get a higher payout

  • Comment number 48.

    For all these fans that are complaining about the criminality of it all, you really need to get your facts straight.
    All small businesses and charities have been paid in full by Chainrai. Only Kitson has been signed by the club and he's on 10,000. The rest are all on loan, and we're only picking up half their wages, again meaning all are below the 10,000 bracket.
    20p in the pound is as good as it gets in administration, I read somewhere Leeds only paid 1p in the pound (though I may be wrong).
    And to the opinion we spent big to stay in the division, we actually spent 4 years in the top flight as a financially well run club, with our record transfer fee being 2.5 million for Yakubu. Compare that with Stoke who consistently spend 5 million+ on players (Tuncay, Huth, Kenwyne Jones) and are considered financially well run. It wasn't until Hatchet Harry returned and wanted to increase his own profile, that the spineless chairman started spending big on players we couldn't afford.
    Then every time he told Redknapp we couldn't sign this one or that one, he threw his toys out the pram and threatened to walk. At that time he had a hero-status with the club, so they consistently backed down.
    This bitterness toward Pompey is unfounded and sadly indicative of that ignorant lot down the road.

    Good article all the same Matt.

    Cheers

  • Comment number 49.

    FortressFratton - Pompey only got under the 20 player limit by shifting out fringe players. They were then replaced by much higher paid players brought in on loan. Two fingers up to those who'd lost out!

    Polish Blue - we exist!

  • Comment number 50.

    At 1:39pm on 26 Oct 2010, Paul Hughes wrote:
    For those complaining about the measly offer of 20p in the pound in the CVA, at least it's better than the 1p in the pound paid by Crystal Palace FC earlier this year. This sort of thing happens in business all the time, not just football.

    Good response, highlight a more disgraceful club than your own.....

    And for people to be outraged by the wages of Kitson, Lawrence et al are just being churlish. Is the club supposed to play the youth team and plummet through the divisions, leading to a very real risk of the club ceasing to exist? The administrator set a wages budget and the manager is doing a great job working within its confines. And no way Sonko is earning in the postcode of £30k a week - he was signed when the £10k cap was firmly in place.

    In one word. Yes you are if it means you plummet down the league then that is just an unfortunate consequence of financial mismanagment, and you'd have your previous regime to blame for it. I DON'T SEE WHY YOU SHOULD GET ANY SYMPATHY FROM OTHER CLUBS other than to feel sorry for your supporters if that was the case.

    As for the 10k wage cap, that is absolute rubbish. Your telling me that Sonko was happy to forgo 20k a week on the rest of his stoke deal to drop down to play for you. Or that Lawrence or Kitson were happy to take 66% reduction in wages to play for you.

    As previously stated. YOU PORTSMOUTH FOOTBALL CLUB ARE STICKING 2 FINGERS UP at the rest of league.

    And as for the Spineless Football League who I'm assuming have had to sanction all the deals well they need to grow some.

    I bet if you'd been Lge 1 or 2, they'd have left you to rot.

  • Comment number 51.

    BabyTeenWolf - Have a read of my previous posts. The CVA is what decides how Portsmouth move forward. It is a plan agreed by creditors - the salary budget being part of that. Cotterill and Lampitt have decided to manage that through a small squad of quality players. IF WE PLUMETT THROUGH THE LEAGUES THE CREDITORS DONT GET THEIR 20P IN THE POUND BACK!

    I (and I'm sure all Pompey fans) don't want your sympathy or anyone elses. What we do want is some intelligent understanding of the situation.

    What we also want is a stable well run club (something we were under Mandaric) - not a club run on speculation that foundered when the housing market collapsed with no plan B.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Affable 'Arry is the man to blame.

    He was the 'football man' there, the owners didn't know jack about football, it was 'Arry who brought the players in for rickydulous transfer fees, and it was he who advocated the payment of rickydulous wages.

    Then, when he saw the writing on the wall, 'Exit left rapid'

    Btw, any truth in the rumour that when he went to Southampton, part of his contract was to break Pompey when he went back?

  • Comment number 53.

    THe anger and speil registered by many so called sportsmen and women appaules me Portsmout Football club in tyhe last two years has done all they could But individuals Some of them an better tham gangster and crooks tore our beloved Club apart, constantly lied to us and sucked us financial base dry They are the guilty ones If you want to hound people,pick on them. Destroying My club will not help our creditors We can pay off 20% if we fold they would get next to nothing Its not the FA or the Prem that needs to grow YOU DO

  • Comment number 54.

    babyteenwolf - Your telling me that Sonko was happy to forgo 20k a week on the rest of his stoke deal to drop down to play for you. Or that Lawrence or Kitson were happy to take 66% reduction in wages to play for you"

    Thats exactly what we're saying. You may not believe it, but sometimes players actually prefer to be playing regularly rather than earning loads on the bench. Plus there's the added pull of living near London, and of course playing for a great football club with very loud fans.

    'I DON'T SEE WHY YOU SHOULD GET ANY SYMPATHY FROM OTHER CLUBS', we don't want any, its just boring having to read the bitter fury of the ill-informed.

    'I bet if you'd been Lge 1 or 2, they'd have left you to rot'.

    Probably true, but then football is better for having clubs like ours. Whereas nobody would seriously miss nothing clubs like Southampton. he he

  • Comment number 55.

    babyTeenwolfe:

    "highlight a more disgraceful club than your own....."

    You could put it that way - I am just pointing out that the CVA was relatively generous compared to others. A rival company to the one I work for recently wrote off £2m in debt by going bankrupt and reforming the next day with the same directors, staff, offices, intellectual property etc. Is it fair? It's business. Meanwhile, plenty of other clubs loaded with more debt that Pompey are still operating - look at Man Utd, Liverpool (even after the buyout), Cardiff etc.

    "I DON'T SEE WHY YOU SHOULD GET ANY SYMPATHY FROM OTHER CLUBS"

    Who's asking for sympathy? The club has been horrendously run over the past few years and I think most fans are just relieved they still have a team to support.

    "Your telling me that Sonko was happy to forgo 20k a week on the rest of his stoke deal to drop down to play for you."

    Have you seen Sonko's wage slips? How do you know what Stoke or Pompey are actually paying him?

    "Or that Lawrence or Kitson were happy to take 66% reduction in wages to play for you."

    Again, have you seen their wage slips? As the article suggests, the individual player wage cap changed to a squad wage cap when they were signed - the figure I've heard is £20k a week. But clubs rarely (if ever) announce wage details, so these figures are usually pure speculation.


    As previously stated. YOU PORTSMOUTH FOOTBALL CLUB ARE STICKING 2 FINGERS UP at the rest of league.



    I bet if you'd been Lge 1 or 2, they'd have left you to rot.

  • Comment number 56.

    As an MUFC fan I'm not sure why Harry Redknapp should be blamed for the near burial of of Portsmouth FC. His job was to focus on what was happening on the pitch. I really doubt he bothered looking too closely at the financial figures.

    I am surprised that Chanrai has been given a second chance though.

  • Comment number 57.

    MGUK82 - agree Redknapp is not to blame - well not entirely to blame :)

    Just to say Chanrai did not really have a first chance. He obtained the club when Al Faraj defaulted on payment and shortly after put the club into admin.

  • Comment number 58.

    Didn't Chanrai place the club into administration to save it? I'm sure there was something floating about at the time which was days away from causing liquidation, without a suffice reason.

    Chanrai is without doubt the reason Portsmouth pulled through this mess, sure he did it to protect his own money, but it is enough to justify why he should get another chance.

    As for Redknapp he initially received a lot of blame out of fans frustration because he was the first to get out. Guess it's too bad the 5 million Spurs paid for him probably went straight into Gaydamaks pocket.

  • Comment number 59.

    Spot on Rick12397

  • Comment number 60.

    The one thing that comes over loud and clear from this thread is that there are people contributing who have zero idea of business; are not prepared to look at the facts and just want to have a good rant out of some peculiar zealotry or hatred of Portsmouth FC.
    Some facts for the hard of thinking: given that no CVA is good, Pompey's CVA was better than many for the creditors - the two companies that I worked for that went into liquidation paid nothing to their creditors. The directors of the club incurred the debts because the chairman, Gaydamak, committed to spend the money to build a new stadium, new training facilities and to turn the club into a big player in the Premiership. He might have even believed it - but then he ran out of money (or his dad turned off the supply)and he just stopped funding the top heavy structure he created. Chelsea or Manchester City would go exactly the same way if Abramovic or Mansour decided that they no longer wanted to fund those clubs. The people to blame are the FA, the Premier League and the Football League, as well the directors and chairmen of the clubs that exploit the lax financial rules and the laughable fit and proper persons test.

  • Comment number 61.

    Are you the man on the right, were you filling your car up at a station on the A38 staurday? If not you have an evil blue twin, possibly separated at birth.

  • Comment number 62.

    #49. At 2:56pm on 26 Oct 2010, SouthseaSaint wrote:
    FortressFratton - Pompey only got under the 20 player limit by shifting out fringe players. They were then replaced by much higher paid players brought in on loan. Two fingers up to those who'd lost out!

    ================================

    Ah yes, I actually agree (with the point, not the way you've phrased it). I also found it odd that even while under the 20 man limit we were allowed to let players go out on loan - as you say, this does seem counter productive.

    While I can't give you the ins and outs of it, you'd do well to remember that with the embargo is in place, and even now that it has been removed, all our dealings had to be approved by the Football League before they can go ahead. In fact, that's the case with all clubs (hence the panic on transfer deadline day to get the paperwork to them on time), although I suspect our dealings were under a little more scrutiny than others.

    So all I can say, then, is that the club must have been able to justify the situation with the league, and the league agreed that it was ok for those deals to be done. Ultimately, if the rules allow us to send one player out in order to bring another player in, then so be it.

  • Comment number 63.

    Evening all,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Good to see this old chestnut is still provoking plenty of debate...and I mean that in a good way, as I think the Pompey story is incredibly important for all football fans. There but for the grace of etc etc Anyway, some replies:

    SouthseaSaint (1) - I feel your pain, sir, although I sense from your moniker that you're taking this a bit too personally. The goons who tried to enrich themselves via Pompey are the bad guys here, not the fans...although I acknowledge that football fans (all of us) can be a bit irritating/head-in-the-sand when things are going well.

    49 and its a wrap (2) - Indeed. But for how much longer. The taxman is on the case about that one.

    Halo64 (3) - As others (hackerjack #9, for example) have pointed out, it's more the leagues in charge these days than the FA. They might be national but they don't do much governing these days. Shame.

    demonicmike (4) - Agreed. Although you'll guess from the comment above that I think the football authorities must share some of the blame here for letting this happen.

    Simon in Oklahoma 0 (5) - Well said. And I've been very impressed with Wolves as a football business in recent years. I understand there are plans to redevelop the ground too. Good luck.

    ChocolateBoxKid (6) - Maybe they will.

    pompeyfever (7) - Sad but true. Very true.

    ChocolateBoxKid (8) - Yes, I fear you're right. But if it can't be done across borders (and who knows, perhaps Platini will manage it...although he has same worries the FA/PL have) maybe the authorities here will just have to summon up some courage and risk losing a few clubs to a Greed is Good League.

    dumbslog (10)- I suppose that is a risk but I think it's less likely now than it was a year ago. I also have high hopes for the likes of Lampitt. He's one of the good guys.

    YorkshireKnight (12) - Hear, hear.

    mtrenners (13) and others - I hear you and I sympathise with your point- it's one I've made in a couple of previous blogs on this subject. But let me just pick you up on a few small misunderstanding. What has happened at Pompey (again) is shameful and small businesses, local or otherwise, have lost out. As has the public purse. But most of the unsecured creditors are actually getting all their money back (late, admittedly) as the CVA plan is to pay off 100% of debts below £4k (I think). Debts to the St Johns Ambulance and a couple of charities have also been paid in full. The people hit hardest are the creditors with relatively big debts but no security - the taxman, for example. This also includes Gaydamak and Al Fahim, so some might say there is an element of justice about this.

    Oaktowers etc (14)- Fair point. I actually don't think the Kitson/Lawrence deals are the issue here (Andronikou wouldn't have sanctioned them if you couldn't afford them). The real issue are all those players you brought in on silly money before it all went pear-shaped. Their daft wages made it very hard for you to offload them pre-administration. In fact, you're probably lumbered with a few of them now until their contracts run out, meaning you'll get no money for them in transfers. But what's done is done. Time to move forward now.

    Ledleynowworth etc (15) - The rules have actually got tougher this season, mainly as a reaction to Pompey. I still don't think they're nearly tough enough, though.

    Right, I think that's plenty for now. Got to do some work on another intriguing story that is brewing nicely....Blackburn Rovers' Indian takeway.

  • Comment number 64.

    In relation to some of the comments since my previous post, I don't care what wages the likes of Kitson, Lawrence, Halford, Sonko, Kanu, Rocha, Hreidersson etc are on. I don't care if they're above or below the £10,000 cap.

    The simple fact is they're being paid. Whether it's £1 a week or £1 million a week. They're being paid money that should have been to the creditors. They were owed money before those players were signed up, and thus had a right to receive it.

    Yes, granted, if Pompey get promoted get promoted then they will receive massive extra revenues and, if a certain amount of this is given to the creditors, then everyone will be in a better position. But it's a big IF. It's a gamble and a risk, and one that should never have been taken. Do people not learn? This isn't the first time a football club has taken a massive financial gamble, when will they learn.

    As for the point about needing 20 players on their books, are you really telling me that they're aren't any teenagers at a local school or college that wouldn't jump at the chance to be a professional footballer? Obviously this is an extreme example, but my point is that you don't top level, premiership experiences players, to make up the 20. Other footballers, and other people, do exist. And would have been happy to take a much lower wage than 8 or 9k a week.

    I do accept that obviously the only way they could have sold a current player was if a) a club came in for them, and b) the player was willing to leave. But seriously, if Pompey had come out and said you could have Nugent for £500,000, or Ashdown for £200,000, or Brown for £250,000 etc etc, other clubs wouldn't have been interested? I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but most of this whole drama does seem to have been played out in public and I didn't see much effort from Pompey to get these players off of their books (after that statement back in February time about the squad being up for sale).

  • Comment number 65.

    Looks like theres's a lot of moaning on here but i wonder however you "support" how much they owe the bank ect ect and what they pay your players Pompey have come through all of this and were playing fantastic thats what upsets ypu lot!PLAY UP POMPEY!

  • Comment number 66.

    With all the finger pointing going around, there's one name that I can't see mentioned anywhere - that of the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Sorry to hark back to the old years but in when I first started going to see Pompey back in 1986, football was still best remembered for what it is - a sport, not a business. Rupert Murdoch and Sky TV changed all that. Here is a man who has seen fit that average players are able to become millionaires and whilst the average man on the street struggles to keep paying his mortgage and bills during times of recession, players like Rooney who struggle to think with anything above the neck line are able to command wages of £250,000 a week.

    I think it's worth mentioning the point that those poor souls who so tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough in 1989 did so having purchased tickets for an FA Cup Semi Final for the mere sum of £6. The FA originally chose the host a semi-final at Wembley because of the size of the ticker allocation available to the clubs involved. Now all semi-finals are played there for one purpose - to line the pockets of the FA. The once sport is now beyond the means of many everyday families. It's principally now a business. Does anyone really care about the fans anymore?

    On the subject of our clubs debt - I would echo the sentiments of those above who mentioned Crystal Palace only paying 1.93 pence in the pound. Pompey if promoted have promised to pay 25 pence in the pound. And yes - that still means that people will have lost out on 75p for every pound owed - but the fans even before Chanrai proved how community orientated they were and many charities are better off to double the tune. Something tells me they aren't complaining. So what about those who've lost out; The HMRC - Hang on aren't you a government agency? Didn't you think to challenge the football creditor law long before now? Or did you wait until it was royally abused to death before acting? Local creditors who've lost out - Did you not have a tinge of greed hidden behind giving large credit facilities to a Premier League Club? Did you not think it was your dream ticket to a better life and financial footing? Football clubs after all are notoriously bad run business affairs after all. It's nothing new to the noughties.

    And what's the difference between us and Manchester United. Their debt is set to rise to a staggering 1 billion and they've won trophies. Oh wait - their bubble hasn't burst yet. But when it does I shall nodoubt enjoy reading you all jumping on your soap box and having a good old moan.

    Just remember had the EPL has a decent fit and proper persons test with thorough background checks - the chances of the son of an internationally wanted arms dealer gaining control of a club with seven failed businesses to his name may have been diminshed. Let's go as far as to say he would have been told to take a walk and none of you would have had anything to moan at, at all. But let's be real everyone likes a good moan. I'd just like football to be a sport again

  • Comment number 67.

    Great blog, really useful to see a simple but complete story.
    I agree with everyone complaining about the costs to the tax payer.

    As a pompey fan I don't feel like a 'long sufferer', but our recent success and over-achievements would not have been worth it if it ultimately destroyed our club, and while I'm obviously delighted at our squad and form considering our circumstances, it's definitely slightly tainted.

  • Comment number 68.

    The problem with the old deals such as Utaka, Lauren etc is that we never knew the real costs, the club never really released such things. So here's to finding out once the current trading company is wound up and the criminal investigation can begin!

    Again with the Lawrence, Kitson and the others I'm sure the reason we can sign them can be backed up by this quote:
    "The emergency budget drawn up by administrator Andrew Andronikou in February just about stacked up"

    I'm sure AA and David Levy both re-arranged figures and made some money to sign both Kitson and Lawrence with the hope we would be out of administration quickly (which it didn't, took 1 month more than expected). The recent release of this seasons kit might of provided some needed revenue (the club shop only re-opened 2 weeks ago).

  • Comment number 69.

    St-Brendy - get a brain. The club needs to remain competitive or the CVA folds HENCE A BUDGET FOR PLAYERS. This was agreed by the creditors as a way of ensuring they get their money back. If there was money for them from selling all the club's assets (the consequence of what you are suggesting) then they would have opted for liquidation.

    D'oh

  • Comment number 70.

    I may be missing something, but the solution seems to be benchmarks which must be met regularly, like paying all creditors. If creditors don't get paid, the owner is out on his asphalt, and the club is temporarily owned by some higher authority, whose job it is to open an auction for the club and award ownership to the highest properly vetted bidder. I don't know the details, but something like this works fine in US leagues--though US leagues allow club owners to move, which they shouldn't.

  • Comment number 71.

    What has happened at Portsmouth, should never happen to any other football club in the future. New financial regulation should be introduced soon to all English clubs and help stop problems like what has happened at Portsmouth.

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm getting massively hacked off with the bitterness shown to us by some of the morons on this blog.

    You actually think we LIKED what happened to our club? You think we were PROUD that the club didn't pay charities? You think we're HAPPY that we've shafted the tax-payer? More to the point, you think we have A SAY in what happens with our club?

    Of course not. We're humiliated. We're enraged. And we want to see justice done to the crooks, liers and cheats that did their dirty work, and have left us, the fans, to pick up the pieces and take the flak from short-sighted individuals like you lot. Oh whoop-de-do, I get to read some idiot's post about how he thinks we're a disgusting club, after only picking up half the story in the sun. Joy.

    Got news for you, mate. We're not the only one, we're not the first, and we're not the last. And I find it HIGHLY hipocritical that southampton fans even DARE to have a pop at us about screwing the taxpayer and local businesses out of money, when they did it themselves only last year, and oh, look, what did they get out of it? A nice, shiny new stadium. You should be accused of cheating the system as much as we are.

    Basically, it's done, get over it, and find some other club to pick on, you bunch of pitiful vultures. How many of you lot can GENUINELY say their club HAS NEVER been in administration, and HAS NEVER run up debts?

    No?

    Thought not.

    Jog on.

 

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