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British test is fit for nothing

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Matt Slater | 23:05 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

If there is a more inappropriately named piece of regulation than football's fit and proper person test, I would like to hear it. I could use a laugh.

But I will be very surprised if anybody can come up with something good enough to lighten the mood amongst Portsmouth fans - it is hard to stay cheerful when your most recent fit and proper persons include a banker arrested for asset-stripping, Dubai's self-styled Donald Trump (but without any money) and a chap who may not even exist.

Pompey fans can be forgiven for thinking "please Lord, spare us from fit and proper persons, send us some wrong 'uns".

Because let's face it, the infamous FAPPT may well have been rebranded but it is still self-evidently failing to do what it says on the tin, namely keep valuable community assets out of the hands of those who cannot be trusted to look after them.

It is at this point in proceedings that I need to make a few important regulatory points of my own: Pompey's soon-to-be former owner Vladimir Antonov has not been found guilty of anything yet, he passed the owners' and directors' test now used by the Premier League and Championship and was this year allowed to buy a stake in Saab by the Swedish government. So we should reserve judgement a little longer.

I fear, however, that this will not wash with Pompey fans.


Portsmouth have suffered more problems as the club's owners slipped into administration on Tuesday

Portsmouth have suffered more problems as the club's owners slipped into administration on Tuesday

Antonov, a 36-year-old Russian banker, might have satisfied the Swedes but our Financial Services Authority (FSA) would not let him open a branch of his bank here and the European Investment Bank refused to lend Saab money because Antonov was involved.

Hardly ringing endorsements, you might have thought, but not enough to fall foul of the Football League's set of objective criteria. And that is the very heart of this matter.

When asked about this apparent missed sitter, a Football League spokesman said the new test is designed to be a "series of objective criteria that defines sensible standards to be met by people holding senior positions at football clubs".

"What it is not, is a subjective judgement about the suitability of individuals that could potentially leave the league open to legal challenge every time an individual is turned down," he continued.

"This would rapidly become a significant drain on club income and use up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pounds in legal fees."

So, quite simply, the authorities are faced with a dilemma.

They can put something relatively light-touch but legally sound in the rulebook, hoping it will be enough to deter most cowboys without frightening off genuine investors.

Or they can bring in a more robust test that would incorporate a golf club-style vetting process and hope the PR wins they get from keeping out the worst carpetbaggers will offset the costs they incur for blackballing determined billionaires.

There is a third option: they can give up entirely, which is what the Scottish Premier League has done.

"Any test that attempts to assess the suitability of prospective directors by reference to objective criteria is inherently a very difficult thing to formulate and apply," SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster told me when I asked him why his league has no fit and proper hoop to jump through.

"Despite the existence of such tests elsewhere in the UK - and the Scottish Football Association's articles of association - insolvency events in football have continued to occur.

"Relying on a fit and proper person test to ensure clubs are run in a manner that would avoid insolvency has no track record of success in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK."

Well, quite.

Doncaster's point that FAPPTs are a bit, well, pointless, was picked up Damian Collins MP, a prominent member of the House of Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that recently issued a fairly critical report on football's governance.

For Collins, the real problem is that all the tests tried so far have focused on the "point of transaction" and not the onward management of the club. That is why he would like to see a more stringent licensing system introduced to ensure that owners have the means they say they have.

Anything else results in the rules being made to look "ridiculous" when another fit and proper but potless proprietor comes along and takes a club into administration.

Collins also noted just how hard it can be for the football authorities to do the kind of forensic due diligence the FSA can (and must) conduct before dishing out bank licences. The Football League is pretty honest in this regard, it cannot afford to do this kind of work and the Premier League has only recently started to try.

Both leagues, moreover, say they are moving towards a form of licensing, in that all clubs are asked to provide annual financial plans, all bills to players, the taxman and each other must be settled on time, and there is a big push towards encouraging sustainable spending.

Doncaster, a former lawyer who spent eight years in charge at Norwich City, said this was a far more fruitful area for regulators to explore than attempting to create a fail-safe but fair vetting process for would-be owners.

I also have found some support for the Football League's argument that measuring the success of its ownership test is difficult when most of us will only ever hear about the failures.

Mark Fry, the insolvency expert who helped Portsmouth's rivals Southampton out of the critical ward two years ago and oversaw the sale of Hull City last year, said the new rules have made a difference.

OK, that is not going to help the shell-shocked faithful at Fratton Park but Fry did say something that might cheer them slightly.

He said Pompey would have a good case in arguing they should not be hit with a points deduction just yet, providing they can prove they gain no "material advantage" from their parent company's insolvency protection.

The Football League ended up sending the accountants in to Southampton to work out if the club dragged the holding company under or vice-versa and may have to do the same at Portsmouth.

But Fry believes the authorities acted too hastily then and the accountants misread the situation - taking the holding company into administration was part of a plan to sell the club, not ditch debt. He thinks the League will be more circumspect this time, particularly given the complexities of Antonov's various businesses.

So, a crumb of comfort for Pompey fans but hardly an answer as to how this happened to them again. Perhaps the only solution to this is that they club together and have a crack at running the club themselves. They could not do any worse.

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

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    The differences between Southampton and Portsmouth, in terms of points deductions, seem quite clear to the untrained eye - of which I have two. Southampton Leisure Holdings was the holding company for the football club and nothing else. CSI has a wide and varied selection of sports organisations under its wing - including the "Leaders in Football" conference that, over recent years, has had cause to debate English football's financial woes.

    And Andrew Andronikou is the administrator...so what could possibly go wrong???

  • Comment number 2.

    Southampton Leisure Holdings sold off their other businesses in an attempt to stop their main business, the football club, going into administration. CSI's only major business is Portsmouth Football Club. Their other concerns exist largely on paper but don't amount to a hill of beans:

    Boom! is indoor cyckling with 12 instructors - activities per day: 3 hours 45 min. Supposedly located in Shoreditch, but no address anywhere on the site. Opened September 2011. (note this)

    DBG is a digital and online management company specialising in mobile applications, social networks and online content management. Website is currently under maintenance.

    GBsport.tv will launch in September 2011 and stream 1,400 hours of live coverage a year. The core sports GBsport TV will champion include Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Handball, Hockey, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming, Taekwondo, Tennis and Winter Sports. The coverage will be a combination of live domestic and international events - featuring strong British competition – including National, European and World championships. Website is unavailable for viewers outside the UK.

    GPWeek is a rally magazine with a tiny readershup.

    Leaders - execs playing footie and networking? Whole array of different forums for this, and not needed pr. se.

    PPGolf - no events since March 2011.

    Sportspost - a forum about sports with no fees?

    WAC Rally has the same statement as PFC on their site


    So, there is no real difference.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm struggling to understand why Portsmouth may escape points deductions where Southampton didn't (and were relegated as a direct result). Both parent companies owned the clubs as a primary asset, and both went into administration due to financial difficulties.

    The precedent is set that assuming Pompey and their parent club are inextricably linked, they should receive their due points deduction...

    And yes, I am a saints fan.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a Pompey fan this quite frankly is ridiculous, and if these people pass this fit and proper persons test who then turn out to be crooks, the FA is at least partially responsible for the situation when it goes wrong. How they can then decide the club's should be punished despite their own mistake is beyond me. Somebody somewhere I read mentioned something to do with the points deduction being linked to how the administration occured, and as it wasn't mismanagement or over spending and the club is therefore less likely to be punished, which would show finally some common sense.

    At the end of the day it is the fans that are suffering, in this case, what have the fans or anyone at the club done to deserve a penalty? If our owner has a shady unrelated side that's nothing to do with the club or football. If there is blame it is that of the owner and of the FA, yet people suggest punishing the club..... which makes no sense what so ever.

  • Comment number 5.

    "What it is not, is a subjective judgement about the suitability of individuals that could potentially leave the league open to legal challenge every time an individual is turned down,"

    It's all about court rooms and not football since Sheffield United's McCabe undermined the footballing authorities and made a bunch of lawyers rich.

    The rest of football should smite them down...all the way to the Nag's Head, Erith, Subbuteo Division 7 tea ladies reserve league.

  • Comment number 6.

    Personally the only way out of this is, I believe the following (and I've banged on about this for years now): The PL and FL use independant auditors to audit the books of every club in top 4 divisions, publically and privately owned (and if you're the private owner and don't agree then you sell the club), then if you can't show you have enough funding to complete a season then you're relegated to below Blue Square regional leagues. This would also necessitate smaller leagues and regionalisation at League 2/Blue Sq. Premier League level but this I think would build quality and make it easier to manage finances e.g. What can be gained by gateshead going almost 1000 miles round trip to play Exeter for example? When Gateshead in a "North" division could be playing the likes of Bradford City and Exeter could be playing Plymouth in a "South" Division?
    I can't draft the full proposal on here at the moment but will do so later.

  • Comment number 7.

    Matt Slater is one of the best football writers out there when he takes behind the scenes and as a Pompey man I know.........I have read enough. Thanks again for more insight but a simple queston that hangs over this is whether or not the punishment of a points deduction is morally correct. We have had enough owners to know that whatever each and every one of them has or has not done to our club they have all moved on to pastures new without a single punishment aimed at them.
    What's the point in that? Where is the deterrent? Punishing the asset that these people once owned by reducing it's points value is like punishing the car thief by taking the doors off the vehicle he stole.

  • Comment number 8.

    #4

    Well I think you can argue that the 'club' has overspent and been mismanaged. Mr Antonov, in his role as club chairman, sanctioned the spending of several million pounds on players this summer, and we now hear that former owner Balram Chanrai levied a charge against him- prompting CSI's administration- due to Antonov's inability to pay an installment on the fee he owed in acquiring the club. One of CSI's other joint owners Chris Akers told the Guardian two days ago that antonov has invested £8 million of his own money into the club already and that without this bankrolling, the club would not have been able to sanction transfers or player wages, and won't in the near future. All of this was done in his former capacity as club chairman and majority owner of CSI, of which Portsmouth FC is the main (though not only) concern.

    Points deduction or not, they need new owners fast or the club itself will be to all intents and purposes insolvent.

  • Comment number 9.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 10.

    The FA & FL are as toothless in the Fit and Proper persons test as they are in pretty much every other aspect of governing the Professional game. However, the Government could help because as a wider issue, the laws that govern UK business, it's owners and accountabilities, are pretty weak compared to most parts of Europe and the USA. It's just too easy to set up companies, rack up debts and then get away with it via Administration/Insolvency.

    Pompey will get away with not having a Points deduction, just like they got away with not paying a tens of millions tax bill. The club also proved that "cheating" does work in football. They paid millions to players with money they didn't have and they won the FA cup and had a good run in the Prem as a result. Most clubs who have been in financial trouble didn't get close to that sort of success on the pitch. So I can't feel that sorry for Pompey fans, well, not as much as I do for Plymouth fans and clubs like that.

  • Comment number 11.

    further to my last post, Chris Akers was quoted as saying that Antonov had put in as much as £10.2 million into the club (not £8m), and that “the club were relying on Antonov for continued funding”.

    This is strong evidence that Portsmouth FC are not a self funding entity and were entirely relying on CSI to operate at the level it had been. The Football League imposed a points penalty on Southampton not because Soton Leisure Holdings had no other interests aside from SFC, but because the club and the holding company were so intrinsically linked as to make them in reality part of the same operation. It would not be enough for PFC to show that it did not take CSI down or that CSI has other unrelated operations/interests. If Portsmouth want to establish that they are not intrinsically linked to CSI then they have to show that they can meet all of their financial obligations (including paying the CVA and Balram Chanrai his installments) without topping up from CSI. As Mr Akers has alluded to, they can not, which is why the club have announced:

    “has funding in place for the short term, but will now be seeking alternative investment for its longer-term requirements”.

    Anyway, does anyone really think the Football League will show mercy and withold a points deduction on this evidence? Just look at the repeated penalties imposed on Luton in the past, amongst others.

  • Comment number 12.

    To be honest (and sad for the fans I know) but what we need is clubs to start going bust - I know administration is supposed to be used to keep a business going rather than liquidation but only when League clubs start going bust will you see proper financial management - immidiate, prompt and final - and when a club goes bust like that the EPL/FL should say no owner is ever allowed to own a club or be a director of a club for 10 years.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm not going to get involved in the rights and wrongs of points deductions, but I have two points I would like to make. Firstly, it seems to me that a simple solution would be for the Football League and Premier League to agree that in order to buy a club, any potential investor must pay one year's running costs (based on the end of the most recent financial year) as a deposit. This money sits with the FL/PL until the club is sold, when it is returned. However, the second a payment is missed - whether it be wages, an owed transfer fee or anything else, the club goes into FL/PL ownership for a year. The deposit keeps it afloat while a new buyer is found - if there isn't one after a year then insolvency would be considered. Secondly I'd like to agree with the earlier post - where is the deterrent? Gaydamak, Azhougy, Storrie, Al Fahim, Al Faraj (who to be fair probably doesn't exist) have all helped to ruin our club (read about the Begovic deal) and now disappeared into the sunset to sell weapons to crackpot regimes. I also agree with the contributor who suggested regionalising league 2 and the BSP.

  • Comment number 14.

    GFRR - you assume these dodgy foreign investors give a stuff about the clubs they ruin. I'm fairly confident that most of Pompey's recent Directors couldn't point to Fratton Park on a map, and wouldnt give a stuff about the cluub going under

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 13 - sounds a brilliant idea - takes guts to come up with that especially since it could lead to your own club going under but I respect you for it. I doubt however anyone would go for it unless the bond could be raised against the value of the club in first instance e.g. Wigan is worth £50 mil so you raise £150mil to buy club, money to clear debt and then £50mil for bond.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Football clubs that can't afford to do business should be wound up and disappeared. It amazes me that they have this golden get of jail card which means they can write off debts (and monies owed to others; sometimes small businesses) and be at the game on the following Saturday.

    It's tough on those fans who definitely do not deserve the some of the administrators and football club owners but until cold reality hits, the problem won't go away.

    The current system can not be sustained, surely?? Too many clubs living way beyond their means. The revolving door of incompetent at best, very dodgy at worst, owners that have passed through Fratton Park is way beyond a joke now.

  • Comment number 18.

    #16

    Southampton's administration had virtually nothing to do with the fact that they built a new stadium and "ploughed money into their Academy" (the proceeds of which have since gone on to generate well over £30 million for the club in player sales- which is what it cost to build the stadium). It was as a result of a new regime sanctioning nearly £10 million in player purchases in 2006-2007 and an unsustainable wage budget whilst chasing promotion to the Premiership. Promotion was not achieved, so the bank demanded instant repayment of a £5 million overdraft which was impossible. (a side note- the club also did not owe the Taxman millions, or require a CVA to repay pence in the pound to numerous creditors, a la Pompey).

    Saints were indeed overspending, just like Portsmouth, but nowhere near on the same scale and they can hardly be criticized for investing in the infrastructure of the club- especially when such investment had little to do with their insolvency- indeed it meant they were always likely to find serious and committed investors in the long term.

  • Comment number 19.

    16.At 09:35 1st Dec 2011, ItsOnlyMyOpinion

    Southampton did not write off large percentages of it's debt during administration. It was only forced into admin by the bank over a £3m overdraft, not because it couldn't meet it's day to day commitments like Tax, wages and creditors.

    - It's debts to the taxman were paid in full (were only small anyway)
    - It's overdraft to the bank was paid off in full
    - All small & medium creditors were paid in full
    - There was a settlement with Norwich Union to pay off the stadium mortgage early, but it still meant probably around £12m-£15m being paid out in one lump to wipe the debt out. I'm not aware of other takeovers from administration seeing so much of the debt settled in one go and in such a clean way leaving no CVA or legacy payments.

    Saints paid the price on and off the pitch. They wiped the slate clean, settled their debts in the honourably way and the current success is deserved both morally, from good business and very good football management.

  • Comment number 20.

    CBK

    I thought the overdraft was £5 million, but you're right, and echo what I said in my previous post. The situations with Palace and Pompey are so starkly different as to not warrant any real comparison.

  • Comment number 21.

    Apparently now Spurs are all but out of Europe, Channel 5 are interested in a new series for Thursday nights - CSI South Coast. It involves lots of shady businessmen buying football clubs, plunging them into debt and then riding off into the sunset!!
    Seriously though, can someone please just relegate Portsmouth AT LEAST two divisions and put them all out of our misery. last time they went into administration, it was the St John's Ambulance, and local businesses such as the butcher they used that didn't get paid, but Sol Campbell that did!! How is this right? And no, I don't feel sorry for thier fans who've had to 'suffer' winning the FA Cup and playing AC Milan in Europe. How many Plymouth, Luton, Rotherham etc fans can say that?

  • Comment number 22.

    ChocolateBoxKid I don't understand how one type of administration is cheating and another one isn't. As you say yourself the majority of Southampton’s debt that was written off or at least partially written off related to Southampton's stadium. So I don’t see how you can say it is unrelated. It would appear to me that if they could not pay their weekly outgoings at the time they would also have been defaulting on payments for the stadium. To me there is not much different in who the creditors are. People are still losing money – although I will say that people like Peter Storrie should have been banned from football for life for flying millionaire players around in private jets while not paying charities money they were owed. As far as Portsmouth's previous administration went there were many people at fault. For example HMRC for allowing the level of debt to have reached such a ridiculous amount. I also cannot understand how they club were not wound up in the High Court as insolvent. To me that would be morally right! Again as you say Southampton were able to wipe the slate clean, but in a way that clearly gives them an unfair advantage over clubs that have not had debts written off. I will agree with you from the outside at least that Southampton now look a well run club although I have no idea if their current success is being heavily bankrolled by rich benefactors or not. But I can't agree their current success is deserved morally if by that you mean they had some sort of “angelic administration”. In my view as well as Pompey deserving to be wound up I believe that Southampton just like any other club going into administration should have been relegated at least two divisions. If that had happened they would not be sitting quite as comfortably now and would have paid some sort of price for the very serious financial mismanagement of the club that Wykehamist mentions.

  • Comment number 23.

    In regards to points deductions for going into administration, the rule is ridiculous and should not happen. Crystal Palace received a deduction recently but still stayed up, where as Portsmouth as well as other clubs, have been given no hope of anything else other than relegation as a result of losing points.

    It is against the integrity of competition that clubs suffer such hugely different results and experience massive differences of fortune for the same offence of going into administration.

    It also makes fans rightly lose interest in paying good money for going to games if like in Portsmouth's case 2 years ago, they were as good as doomed from the moment the club get punished. Pompey probably would have gone down anyway - the league table never lies, except when just one team is affected for a non-footballing matter.

  • Comment number 24.

    Problem is that the FAPP test can only go on evidence. There was a lot of rumour and implication that Antonov was not really 'Fit and Proper' person to own a football club but there was no definitive proof. Unless you want the test to be down to someone's value judgement of the possible owner it is unfortunately all they can do.

  • Comment number 25.

    interesting blog, and one i was waiting for after portsmouth's parent company went into admin

    gotta say though i find the whole portsmouth situation for the last 3-4 years staggering. even after all of the massive financial problems they've had in the premiership and the cva being agreed, i was still staggered to see the club going out and getting premiership players either pernamently or on loan - kitson, lawrence, rocha, benjani etc not exactly players I can imagine that were cheap on wages. It's almost like no one had learnt. There seemed to be a lack of younger signings from divisions 1 or 2 with sell on potential for example.

  • Comment number 26.

    Are all these points just a fundamental way of saying the game in the UK needs restructured with fewer teams on professional terms - no more than 18 teams per division in top 3 divisions, regional football below that, short-term contracts for the majority of players e.g. 2 years for most players, 3 for "star" players. I'd even go so far to say that the league should maybe own the players and then the clubs lease them...

  • Comment number 27.

    It seems odd saying this when everything else about the SPL is a farce, but they've got it spot on by not bothering with an "Owners and Directors Test", a "Fit and Proper Persons Test", or whatever the Football League are calling it this week.

    Realistically, where do you draw the line at what is acceptable for an owner? Can the Football League - a private members' club, effectively, with relatively limited resources for this sort of investigation - be expected to predict the future and know that a prospective club owner is going to experience "difficulties" months or even years down the line?

    Antonov, via his CSI company, a UK-registered PLC, was legally entitled to buy Portsmouth FC from Balram Chainrai for whatever price they agreed. To my knowledge, he's never been declared bankrupt, been banned from being a director, or convicted of a finance-related crime. You can just imagine the storm it would cause if the Football League decided that the "possibility" that Antonov and CSI's money was sourced illegally (without any actual court-admissable evidence to back it up) and as a result they weren't going to transfer the "Golden Share" to the new owner, which would effectively mean expelling Portsmouth from the Football League.

    The sad truth about this whole sorry situation at Pompey is that many people not connected to the club DID see all of this coming, just as they did with Chainrai, just as they did with the mythical al-Faraj, just as they did with al-Fahim, and just as they did with Gaydamak. Strangely, while the promises of massive foreign "investment" in the playing staff and competing at a high level remained, and they were winning the FA Cup and hosting AC Milan at Fratton Park, nobody at Portsmouth wanted to hear about where the money was coming from. But apparently it's all the Football League's fault.

  • Comment number 28.

    They went down owing millions and not paying a red cent, then bought players on £20k a week following Lampitts plan of "quality" not "quantity", have been bankrolled, by the owners own admittance, to the tune of £10.5m, meaning they are currently trading insolently after buying more players they really couldn't afford, and they expect pity?

    Perhaps it they have gone shopping in the lower leagues for hungry young talent instead of spending money they clearly don't have on premiership wages then we'd have some sympathy.

  • Comment number 29.

    @22

    Circumstances make each administration different.

    If a club relies on credit but that credit gets cut by 40% and the club does all it can to comply - selling players, playing most of the youth team and keeping up to date with all outgoings and then a £4k cheque gets bounced that doesn't sound like a business going to the wall. Then in admin all debts are paid, no CVA. I don't see a financial advantage

    I do agree that any admin should result in at least one demotion and do away with points penalties.

    As the FL know about Pompey's finances and impending CVA payments, why were they allowed to spend so much on transfers in the summer when CSI loaned them £10.5m for fees and transfers yet can only meet short term outgoings?

  • Comment number 30.

    The problem is that we are getting far too British about all this. As members of FIFA, we should be using the transparency and accountability that Sepp and Co offer. I mean, if Sepp says they're okay then ...

  • Comment number 31.

    Interesting piece Matt. You correctly point out why we changed the name from the FAPPT to the Owners' and Directors' Test (ODT). The old name suggested a subjective test which it isn't.

    You mention it briefly in the piece but it's worth pointing out that the ODT isn't about how much money someone has. There are seperate rules for that: when a takeover is proposed proof of funding is checked as is a business plan showing the projected financial position of the club should a takeover go through.

    There are also rules requiring clubs to submit quartlerly reports to the PL or FL showing they are up to date with HMRC payments.

    Don't want to get into the Portsmouth case too much as it's one for the FL but it's worth considering that CSI owns or has an interest in other UK companies. This means that they have met the various requirements set under UK Company Law and are allowed to do business in this country.

  • Comment number 32.

    @22 - "Southampton were able to wipe the slate clean, but in a way that clearly gives them an unfair advantage over clubs that have not had debts written off"

    It's right & fair to wipe all debts off . It's not really fair to pay 1p in the pound in settlements or just ignore CVA's and carry on racking up more and more debt whether a club has been in Admin or not.

    It probably isn't "fair" that Saints have now got (on the face of it) very decent backing, but that's life and football. Isn't "fair" whats gone on at Chelsea or is going on at Man City.

    Appears to me that without the Prem Parachute payment at Pompey, something that was withheld before, they would be instantly insolvent again.

    Matt, you are best placed to answer this please... Can the Prem League with-hold parachute payments going forward if Pompey are in breach of their CVA etc?

  • Comment number 33.

    As # 21, 27 and 28 have said, it is difficult sometimes to sympathize with Portsmouth's fans, considering the amount of success they had up until the end of 2010. Fans of Plymouth, Luton and many other clubs who have suffered under admin are truly "long suffering".

    The person I feel really sorry for is Michael Appleton. A bright young coach who came to a club and was promised by its owners that it would be a long term project involving investment on and off the field, particularly in training facilities and youth academy. Then in less than two weeks, and after two matches, this happens. He must feel incredibly let down. It's bad enough that he has to win fans and players over due to lack of experience without this added pressure.

  • Comment number 34.

    @29 Some fair points.

    Although the scenario you outline may not sound like a club going to the wall - thats what happens or at least they end up in administration.

    I am not aware of any club going into administration and all debts being fully paid. In those circumstances I would agree that no advantage has been gained. That is not what happened with Southampton and I'm not aware of any club that has done this - you are welcome to provide some examples.

    I also agree that some clubs appear to be more unlucky than others in falling into admin in the first place - i.e. Crystal Palace. But again not Southampton as whatever the real reasons as one of their fans points out that was at least partially caused by a splurge on new players that the club could not afford and in my view spending on a ground that sucked money out of the club on a regular basis.

    The real key is not relegations or points deductions, but for clubs to be run on a model where this more or less stops happening. The Premier League and Football League can make that happen if they wish, but clubs spending beyond their means helps the English leagues attract better players than the clubs can really afford.

  • Comment number 35.

    @32 Agree with almost all your points apart from "It's right & fair to wipe all debts off". Why do you think that is?

    One of the sad facts is supporters have no real control over what happens to their clubs.

  • Comment number 36.

    There's a lot of silly bickering between Saints and Pompey fans on here - we should ALL be looking for ways to stop this happening again in the future, to any club. One would be for the Football League to ban people using money from a bank the prospective owner owns as proof of funds (ala Antonov). Money from a bank you own overseas is no guaranteed. Also, as for the criticism of Pompey living beyond their means, the FL has ratified every transfer since they first went into admin. I don't know what Benjani or Lawrence (neither of whom start regularly) are paid, but it would have been good to see someone with some balls at the FL stand up to Lampitt and co and say "no, this does not fit into the wage structure agreed under the CVA", assuming of course that they were unaffordable based on the CVA plan.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    Isnt there an essential point being missed here. If any other type of business appoints a new person to run or manage said business, they dont have to have the money necessary to fund it. Buy it, possibly, but fund it after that, no, otherwise they go bust fairly quickly!
    I know Pompey have been unlucky with the stream of ego's that have come through their front door, and no i am not a saints fan. But if this or any other football club, indeed the whole of football, were to run itself in a way that didnt need rich sugar daddys to fund it, then all clubs would need to look for is talented business men, or women or i will get moaned at, to run the club as a business supporting that community. Maybe its time we had fewer full time professional clubs

  • Comment number 39.

    Should a club be punished for the owner's mistakes? Before Rupert Lowe came back with his downright strange ideas about how to manage the club, the banks were quite prepared to prop up the club under Leon Crouch's and Nigel Pearson's relatively sane regime. I'm not complaining about Southampton's punishment, but surely if they punish one club for it's bad owners, they should do the same for another?

    I still don't understand why people without a long-term vision get themselves into football. I'd be surprised if anyone has got rich quick out of it.

  • Comment number 40.

    @37 you really are a bitter little man. I never asked for any sympathy, and if you bothered to do your research you would know that Pompey fans raised all of the money that wasn't paid to local charities and more out of their own pockets. Say something constructive or shut up.

  • Comment number 41.

    It can't be beyond the FA/FL to have an approved UK bank that all prospective new football club owners have to pay a large deposit into and use to fund the club for (as others have said above) a couple of seasons to prove they are running the club correct.

    Into that account goes all the parachute payments and TV revenue to make sure it's secure from grabbing hands. Then, the club can ONLY spend what is in their approved FA/FL bank account on wages and other costs.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    @41 This assumes that the modern "sugar daddy" way of running a football club is the way football clubs *should* be run.

    Surely, beyond an owner having the funds to BUY the club from the previous owner, they shouldn't have to put any of their own money in because the club should be self-sufficient.

    That's what the cashflow projections in Pompey's CVA document was supposed to show, that the club would be at a break-even point (or even turning a profit) by the time the last of the £16m or so had been repaid. As it turns out, they've been allowed to sign the likes of Lawrence and Kitson on £20k a week apiece, while letting promising youngsters leave for nothing.

    Matt Ritchie is being linked with £2m moves from Swindon to the Championship, Marlon Pack is a star player for Cheltenham, and yet Pompey basically chucked them on the pile because they weren't high profile enough, and they needed to clear out spaces in their first-team squad to exploit a loophole in the Football League's rules that state that a club must have 20 full-time professionals contracted to them.

  • Comment number 45.

    3. At 03:27 1st Dec 2011, BristolSaint wrote:
    I'm struggling to understand why Portsmouth may escape points deductions where Southampton didn't (and were relegated as a direct result). Both parent companies owned the clubs as a primary asset, and both went into administration due to financial difficulties.

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

    Well, I'm no expert so couldn't say categorically, but it sounds like it is a subtly different scenario as the Saints parent company was established purely for, and by, the football club. Is that right?

    Assuming that to be correct (which I appreciate it may not be), the difference appears to be that CSI bought Pompey and have other business interests outside of the club. Quite what they amount to, I'm not sure, but the argument from PFC will be that the accounts of the two are not intrinsically linked, and one can exist (PFC) despite the financial difficulties of the other (CSI).

    I expect the football league will want to verify this, just as they came in to verify it when Saints made the same claim. It'll be up to them to decide whether PFC's case is different to Saints'.

    I don't hold out a great deal of hope - those being positive and saying there will be no deduction are likely waxing lyrical to appease the fans and perhaps subliminally influence the decision.

  • Comment number 46.

    It's about time Pompey disappeared.

    They have one devious owner after another, break all the financial rules, yet they're allowed to continue existing alongside clubs who live by the rules. All the debates about 'FAPPT' inevitably involve Pompey, because they're the ones allowing these criminals into football.

    Why not shut this club down, then football ownership will take an enormous step back towards being clean. Oh yeah, the Pompey fans will say 'but its our club.' To them thats more important than the integrity of football. Fortunately they're only a small minority, so in a democratic society their meaningless.

  • Comment number 47.

    @45 Correct. I fully expect Portsmouth to avoid any points deduction for CSI going into administration.

    However, it clearly casts doubt over their ability to fund the club going forward. Andrew Andronikou suggested they would be fine until the end of the year, which is hardly a ringing endorsement (and I wonder whether he's in any sort of position to be making statements like that when he no longer has any connection to Pompey), and the local paper felt it was newsworthy yesterday to state that the players and staff had been paid their November wages on time.

    Of course, if they were unable to meet those payments in future months, and without the help of Antonov/CSI, they could slip back into administration themselves, which certainly WOULD bring a points deduction.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    44. At 13:11 1st Dec 2011, stevegrant1983 wrote:

    That's what the cashflow projections in Pompey's CVA document was supposed to show, that the club would be at a break-even point (or even turning a profit) by the time the last of the £16m or so had been repaid. As it turns out, they've been allowed to sign the likes of Lawrence and Kitson on £20k a week apiece, while letting promising youngsters leave for nothing.

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

    My understanding was that the parachute payments were significant enough to cover most, if not all, of the CVA, so in theory any profit the club made or investment from owners could be spent however the club deemed fit.

    It's all well and good criticising the purchase of players like Kitson and Lawrence while letting the youngsters leave, but the flip-side of that is that without investment in a competitive squad, the club would potentially fall further down the league, thus earning less money from sponsorship, ticket sales, etc. The lower down the leagues you go, the less your overall income will be, and as such it is in the clubs - and those who are owed money from the CVA - best interest to stay competitive and stay in the Championship. If that means making a couple of decent signings, such as Lawrence, then so be it.

    Also, bear in mind that Kitson and Lawrence both came to the club, PLUS cash, in exchange for Marc Wilson. That was a superb deal for Portsmouth, considering the situation we were in at the time, so shouldn't be criticised.

  • Comment number 50.

    @45 And know one would blame pompey for trying that approach either as it is similar to the approach we took but everyone knows what that led to!

    The irony is that if you hadn't attempted to exploit the FL league rules by letting kids go and bringing in expensive pros you may not have needed the £10.5m from CSI and may even have been in a better league position. It's that £10.5m, that one that Akers said had bankrolled the club, that is the issue, along with the need to service the CVA in the Spring as it effectively states that you cannot trade insolently as of now.

  • Comment number 51.

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  • Comment number 52.

    @49 Let's not forget that you were forwarded parachute payments before you were relagted to ensure the club survived.

  • Comment number 53.

    @49 A good deal for the team, not so good for the club finances.

    IIRC, the deal was structured so Stoke paid £1.5m plus the two players.

    Wilson leaves the club, that's £20k a week off the wage bill, or £1m a year. (we'll leave the fact most footballers' wages are negotiated nett of tax - i.e. after tax - so the cost to the club is almost double that amount, as it complicates things further)

    With two years left on his then-current deal, that's £2m in wages saved by selling him, plus the £1.5m transfer fee.

    So far, Pompey are £3.5m up. Looking good.

    Kitson and Lawrence both join the club, effectively as free transfers, so no outgoings on a transfer fee, but they've been given three and four-year contracts respectively, on £20k a week.

    So that's £1m in wages per year, per player. A commitment of £7m over that period.

    Not looking quite so "superb" now...

  • Comment number 54.

    AstroMan and Saint_In_Staffordshire I think this time around there is a real danger of Pompey going out of business. Taking on the CVA and a club with no real infrastructure is not exactly appealing. So you may soon have the chance to laugh long and hard down about 7 divisions.

  • Comment number 55.

    Astroman - as for the FAPPT I'd refer you back to my post (31). Key points here:

    Interesting piece Matt. You correctly point out why we changed the name from the FAPPT to the Owners' and Directors' Test (ODT). The old name suggested a subjective test which it isn't.

    You mention it briefly in the piece but it's worth pointing out that the ODT isn't about how much money someone has. There are seperate rules for that: when a takeover is proposed proof of funding is checked as is a business plan showing the projected financial position of the club should a takeover go through.

    There are also rules requiring clubs to submit quartlerly reports to the PL or FL showing they are up to date with HMRC payments.

    Don't want to get into the Portsmouth case too much as it's one for the FL but it's worth considering that CSI owns or has an interest in other UK companies. This means that they have met the various requirements set under UK Company Law and are allowed to do business in this country.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm a Pompey fan and am just fed up. Totally. It was embarrassing to talk to other fans of other clubs who have suffered much worse (Luton, Plymouth) whilst we continued to have some pretty decent players still at the club - for our level anyway.

    Any fan is delighted when they think their club will get a cash injection from someone wealthy - deny it, go on. It seems clear though that UK football is just being used by the dodgy and the iffy from around the world as a plaything or something to have a laugh with.

    As a fan I would love us to be able to have a say in who runs our club. At the moment we do not and never have. Apart from Mandaric, who himself is now under suspicion, we've had a succession of dodgy geezers running our club for a long time.

    If being booted out of the league and forced to play in the East Hants Spar League (or whatever seventh step below the league is) is a price to pay to get our club back then I would welcome it if it also allows us fans to take over the club and keep it and run it as our co-operative/trust. We can look to several European teams for a model I'm sure. If it keeps charlatans (not The Charlatans who are quite cool still) away then it would be a price worth paying.

  • Comment number 57.

    @54 I believe that saints fans would consider a "new" pompey, a fans pompey, as the way forward. It would be untainted and at last, run by people who actually care about the club.

  • Comment number 58.

    This is mainly a response to comment 37 but also anyone arguing this is somehow the Portsmouth fans fault.

    The football club is not owned or run by the fans, as far as I am aware not many clubs in England are. The fans were not involved in the decision making for anything during the Premiership years or our return to division 1. What could they have realistically done to prevent any of the wrong doings – which only became public knowledge when the club entered administration. The fans have never agreed with or shown anything but disgust for some of the actions taken by previous regimes.

    With regards to the club not paying the charities, it is well known that the fans themselves raised the money to pay them off within days of the misdemeanours becoming public knowledge.

    No Portsmouth fan who has been around more that 5 minutes believes that the Premiership is “where we belong”. Some ‘glory’ fans many be saying that on internet forums but I can assure you those fans would be shouted down around Fratton Park. As you can all tell by the falling attendances those glory supporters have well and truly gone now, only surface on the internet and are completely unattached from the general consensus around Fratton regarding our aspirations for the season and future of the club. All level headed Portsmouth fans want the club to stabilise, get ourselves on a sound financial footing and consolidate before even considering a promotion push.

    Under the CVA it is clear that there is a financial structure in place which the club have to stick to or and player transfers will be blocked by the FA. There is an average wage and total pool for wages – these figures are not known precisely by anyone outside the club. Point being that all the summer transfers were scrutinised by the FA before being approved. Therefore, the club could not have overstretched themselves in the summer on players wages. Yes, some money was spent in the summer on transfers but the earlier quoted £8M / £10.5M is a little wide of the mark I believe (Hussleklepp for c£1.75M being the only significant transfer fee spent). Some of that figure was probably used for the upgrades conducted around the stadium and training ground - not over spending of transfer fees and wages. Final comment on summer transfers, Portsmouth only had 8 senior players contracted to the club I the summer and Steve Cotterill had released the majority of our youth players who could have realistically played in the first team claiming they were not u

  • Comment number 59.

    no 58 cont...........

    claiming they were not up to scratch. If we had gone into the season with 8 players and having to play 15 /16 year olds relegation would be nailed on, so some expenditure had to be made as relegation could be crippling.

    What the consequences should be to a club which has now entered administration for a third time in recent history is, I do not know. However, I am certain it is not the fans fault. I hope we all still have a team to support but if one club needs to take a hit to show the rest the current set up of English football is wrong them so be it but it will only be the fans and local community who suffer and they did not get the club into this situation.

  • Comment number 60.

    @59 Worth reiterating that the club itself has NOT yet gone into administration.

    I didn't say that it was the fans' fault, I said it seems somewhat hollow that many fans are now complaining about "fit and proper persons" when they welcomed Gaydamak through the door and even sung "There's only one Peter Storrie" - only one ground that song's being sung these days, and it's not Fratton Park!

    Re the youth players, it's about cutting your cloth accordingly, just like the vast majority of other clubs in the Football League do. The likes of Ward, Ciftci, Ritchie and Pack were probably League One or League Two standard at best at the start of last season (although obviously Ward has since played regularly for the first team), but when you've got no money, you use the players you can afford.

    When Southampton went down, they had to farm out the likes of Stern John (Championship leading scorer the previous season), Rudi Skacel and Marek Saganowski on loan and play players who clearly weren't up to the required standard, but they felt they had to do it in order to make sure the club stayed in business after the reckless spending of Messrs Wilde and Crouch.

    Jamie White and Kayne McLaggon played a number of Championship games that season, they're now plying their trade at Winchester and Salisbury respectively.

    Remaining "competitive" shouldn't be the ultimate objective, remaining "in business" should.

  • Comment number 61.

    @60, completely agree. Many fans have regularly posted on the local paper's website that the likes of Ritchie, Ward, Ciftci, Pack and, more recently, Ryan Williams and Sam Magri should be in the team. Although it should be noted we got money for Ritchie and Ciftci decided to leave when his contract was up, at which point he was ostracised by Cotterill.

  • Comment number 62.

    If being booted out of the league and forced to play in the East Hants Spar League (or whatever seventh step below the league is) is a price to pay to get our club back then I would welcome it if it also allows us fans to take over the club and keep it and run it as our co-operative/trust.

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

    That's not really true though is it? Otherwise you would have been protesting when your old owners racked up 120million debt to stay in the Premiership for a couple of seasons.

    That's the problem with Pompey fans, they think they should be able to spend as much as they like and get away with it. They enjoy the ride while it lasts, then plead for help when they suffer the consequences.

    Hypocrites.

  • Comment number 63.

    53. At 13:33 1st Dec 2011, stevegrant1983 wrote:

    Kitson and Lawrence both join the club, effectively as free transfers, so no outgoings on a transfer fee, but they've been given three and four-year contracts respectively, on £20k a week.

    So that's £1m in wages per year, per player. A commitment of £7m over that period.

    Not looking quite so "superb" now...

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

    Find me a player that costs a club nothing.

    To take your example to an extreme, *all* players cost money - even youngsters. That money could arguably be better spent by paying back the CVA early (or at least, earlier). You can't have a player on your books without, at some point, paying out money. The question is - will having a team of youngsters on low wages give the same revenue projections as an experienced team, some of whom will earn more that others?

    The club needs to be competitive in order to earn money. The decision was made that Kitson and Lawrence, despite their cost, would ensure the club earns more money in the long run. Yes, it'll cost the club £7m. but it might save the club much much more if those players ensure the club stays in the Championship or, potentially, pushes for a play off place (granted, that gamble doesn't appear to be paying off considering the clubs league position).

    Also, I read (probably somewhere on the Beeb website, but it might have been 606) that with the CVA came some strict wage caps on new contracts. To go over and above those caps would require 'sign off' by the CVA board. Presumably, then, if we were allowed to offer Kitson and Lawrence £20k p/w (and I'm taking your word for that, because contract details are not usually made public) then it came with the agreement of the CVA board.

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh, and for clarity, I'm not saying I wanted those youngsters out, nor did I necessarily want to give big contracts to players like Kitson and Lawrence.

    My point is merely that the people with the info made those decisions, and I have to assume those people are better informed than you or I. Simply totting up how much 2 players is costing the club only shows one side of the argument. The financial projections over the next 3, 4 or 5 years are what you need to compare that against in order to know whether it was a good decision.

  • Comment number 65.

    Another thing... a couple of season ago Pompey fans wouldn't shut up when they beat the saints in the FA Cup. As though beating a team two divisions below them was a magnificant achievement.

    They were blissfully unaware of the fact Saints were on the up and would soon pass Pompey, all they cared about was todays result. That short-sightedness shows why Pompey fans should never be allowed to run their club.

  • Comment number 66.

    @64 A fair point that taking those two in isolation is perhaps unfair, but allied with Ben Haim's reported £37k a week wages, it doesn't look much like a club intent on cutting back its wage bill too much. I appreciate that the expenditure has to be sanctioned, and perhaps that's the area where the Football League *do* have a degree of culpability, but it's also fair to say the likes of Andronikou were very good at playing the victim card around that time - it could be argued they effectively emotionally blackmailed the FL into sanctioning the deal on the grounds that the £1.5m cash they were getting up front was necessary to keep the club going and that the only way the deal was going through was if Kitson and Lawrence were provided as part of it.

    It's worth taking a look at the final CVA document (available on UHY Hacker Young's website), which states that the projection (full 5-year projection is in Appendix 8) for November 2011's wage bill is £453,334. Just those three named players alone account for more than £300,000 of that.

    At a completely wild stab in the dark, I would guess that those youngsters would cumulatively be paid about the same as Lawrence or Kitson on their own.

  • Comment number 67.

    @65 And brought in very expensive loan signings just to achieve beating a L1 team!

    How times have changed.

  • Comment number 68.

    @60. I agree we should have used our younger players more, I wish we had. My point was that this summer just gone CSI invested had to invest in the squad and those figures were not high even compared to other Championship clubs. We should have kept more of the younger players but it was Cotterill’s decision to release them (Ritchie sold last season when we needed money and Cifti demanded to leave). Similarly to Saints selling off or loaning a number of high earners, a large part of our relegation squad left the club. It cannot be suggested that we kept all our players and we would have shifted more if anyone had wanted them!!

    The relatively small amount that was spent this summer on transfers I believe was reasonable and obviously the FA agree as they sanctioned all of the transfers. Just because we were in administration does not mean we should not now be able to buy a few players now, especially under new ownership which appeared to actually have a few a few pennies to spend.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 62. How were the fans meant to know that the club was racking up £120M of debt? Im pretty sure that was not public knowledge. The fans did not sit on the board, sanction transfers, wages or know how Gaydamark was funding it all. I admit our spending was high but it was not out of this world for a Premiership team at the time. The racking up of debt was wrong and stupid but not down to the fans.

    @ 65. The Portsmouth fans shouldn’t have celebrated beating their arch rivals because of the league difference and that you were on the up???? Celebrating a win is short sightedness? You must be living on a different planet pal! Do you really expect the fans at every goal to turn to each other and say “calm down, we may be thrashing our biggest rivals in their own back yard but they are looking good and could build on promotion to be knocking on the door of the Premiership next season. This result really isn’t relevant at all, now lets go back to being miserable and worrying about the long term future of Portsmouth Football Club…….”.

  • Comment number 70.

    re:62 and 65

    No idea why you think I am not writing my honest feelings about my club. I am embarrassed, shamed. Should I not be? Should we take our punishment? Yes. Am I pleading for help? No. Which bit is confusing? Just let us start again and give us the chance to run the club. And why is it wrong to enjoy a derby win? Others don't? Really?

    I hope you have a really day.

  • Comment number 71.

    Sorry, really lovely lovely day

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm curious why the title of the blog is "British test is fit for nothing" when it is about the Owners and Directors Test that only applies in England and explicitly states that there is no equivalent test operating in Scotland.

    What we should be aiming for is not a situation in which, before they are allowed to take over a club, any prospective owner must lodge in trust enough money to keep it in business for a specified period but one in which all clubs are profitable (or at least not loss-making) so that they do not require regular subsidy from oners to keep them afloat.

  • Comment number 73.

    @69 @70 Of course you should enjoy it, that's why I can't wait until the 18th when we take our revenge for our last visit.

    Like most saints fans it's that defeat that rankles, the cup one doesn't register in the same way as we expected to lose.

  • Comment number 74.

    How were the fans meant to know that the club was racking up £120M of debt?

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

    it was pretty obvious when you started buying players like Defoe, Crouch, Diarra etc. Whilst you were the smallest club in the league.

    The Portsmouth fans shouldn’t have celebrated beating their arch rivals because of the league difference and that you were on the up????

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

    Yes, that's right. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. How you can blindly celebrate whilst your club is being ruined is beyond me.

    I'm not a saints fan BTW. I do admire them though because of le Tissier and they often turned over the big clubs in the Prem.

    There's nothing to admire about Pompey, just a horrible stadium and a FA Cup that they bought for 120million debt.

  • Comment number 75.

    Pompey...you're not in trouble yet, Peter Risdale hasn't clocked in as an 'advisor' to suck your last few quid into his wallet.

    Saints fans....yes, football is all about beating your nearest rivals!!

  • Comment number 76.

    Saints fans....yes, football is all about beating your nearest rivals!!

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

    lol, that's so short-sighted.

    If you were a Rangers/Celtic or Barca/R madrid fan i could see your point, since those leagues only have two teams.

    But most other clubs they want to focus on all the games, not just their nearest rivals. Liverool defeated United 4-1 at OT in 2009, it didn't mean a thing because United won the league.

    Where you are at the end of the season is what matters.

  • Comment number 77.

    @ 74. Brilliant, what a level headed person you are!! Fans shouldnt celebrate a win, of course fella. As Saint_In_Staffordshire @ 73 said, we had every right to celebrate that win.

    And you have now admitted your dislike for Portsmouth so proved you are bias against them so you wont look at the situation thoughfully or evenly. I think you can see through reading the comments on here that Portsmouth fans are embarased about what happened, but the over spending was not down to the fans.

    Right so what about Chelsea, Man City, Stoke, Birmingham, West Ham, Hull etc who are having or had significant investment (on differing scales) from a wealthy owner? If those owners were to suddenly pull out (as what happened at Portsmouth) they would be in equally biig trouble. What should their fans be doing right now? It wont be their fault if their club is mismanaged.

  • Comment number 78.

    Re75

    Yes, you are so right. At that point we should have realised what was going on and obviously we should have..erm....erm..... complained to someone. Yes. The FA would have sorted it all out for us.

    And, if (and I realise this is a massive if) we do beat our rivals on the 18th I will not celebrate of course, I will realise the errors of my ways and support a club that is well run and transparent in its dealings. Oh, and one with a goood stadium. Any suggestions?

    And 73, you're so right, its that one that we still crow about. Lua Lua, what a player. Aiyeo, I'm in danger of celebrating, that won't do at all.

  • Comment number 79.

    Right so what about Chelsea, Man City, Stoke, Birmingham, West Ham, Hull etc who are having or had significant investment (on differing scales) from a wealthy owner? If those owners were to suddenly pull out (as what happened at Portsmouth) they would be in equally biig trouble. What should their fans be doing right now? It wont be their fault if their club is mismanaged.

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

    That is correct. I also disagree with what they're doing. (not sure Stoke fall into that category) I hate the fact it's allowed to continue and it makes me sick of the premiership.

    Pompey are an even worse case though, since you tried to match their spending even though you're a much smaller club. And what was it all for, when you're now back to where you were in 2001-2002?

  • Comment number 80.

    If I was a Southampton fan with my club sitting top of the Championship, playing in a new(ish) stadium which wasn't paid for and watching my team playing excellent football I wouldn't be wasting time on here worrying about what's happening to Pompey. The stench of bitterness and hypocrisy is overwhelming. The argument that Pompey cheated their way to success is plainly ludicrous, as the same criticism could be applied to any team whose debts are guaranteed by a rich benefactor. Manchester City, Chelsea, West Ham etc. etc. have all lived way above their means in terms of revenue they can generate. All that happened at Pompey is that the rich benefactor stopped funding the overspend. I personally think such overspecnding should not be allowed in the first place and it seems, at long last, that new regulations are being applied to address this issue. I would also like to see the end of the ludicrous 'football creditors first' rule which has deprived the tax authorities of revenue and lined the pockets of already rich footballers. I hope Pompey survive as I have supported them for over 50 years and they are a historic club which deserves to be saved. As for the bitter few on here, you should save your energies for your own club.

  • Comment number 81.

    @68

    It's been well reported Pompey spent the most after west ham and leicester. if Antonov had to invest 10.5m for transfers and wages and that money will run out soon, why did that investment go into a more sustainable approach to squad strengthening.

    It seems the guidance in the CVA has been ignored (in terms of reducing the wages) and I'm not sure whether the FL do have an overview of the transactions at the club.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    @80 of course all Portsmouth fans were very smpathetic to Southamptons porblems at the time !

    That aside, unfortunately as happens time and time again, the victims are the football fans. The owners / directors / executies will run away and not pay their debts only to re-surface time and again at another football club. The players will seek transfers and receive over inflated wages from the next club willing to pay their ridiculous fees and a local community end up losing a large part of their history.

    If Portsmouth did end up out of business - do you think the fans will go and support Southampton ?

    Football governance stinks and has done for a long time

    Unfortunately I can't see anything changing soon

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 79. I have never said it was right to overspend and live beyond our means, it should not have happened. I am only arguing that it is not the actions of the fans that have put us into these situations.

    Lets be realistic for a minute, all clubs in the Premier League are overspending to a certain extent. None are whiter that white. As has been said tiem and time again, money has ruined the english game. All teams in the Prem have to spend, spend, spend just to try and keep up. The distribution of wealth exagerates that it is no longer an even playing field.

    Stoke are owned by Peter Coates with a net worth of £750M. The difference is I expect since Mr Coates is a life long fan of Stoke he is paying everything off and not puting it all down as debt against the club as with Pompey. But if he isnt paying for all their transfer fees, gap in wages etc then if he was to leave they would also be in trouble. (I dont mean to single out Stoke here, just an example how the majority of clubs these days have rich owners to propell the club forward and very few keep going on their own without help).

    I would quit happily go back to the days before all this happened so we wouldnt have all this rubbish being preached to us from people such as yourself umpteenth......

  • Comment number 85.

    I understand the first player acquired under the current regieme was Ipswich Town's David Norris, "bought" on a free. Paul Jewell was quoted as saying "how Portsmouth have the money to sign him is anybody's guess".

    It's time clubs were forced to align wages to a percentage of turnover. At the moment it's like clubs are working on a 'buy now, pay later' scheme, purely on the speculation that they attain Premiership status in order to afford it.

    Clubs that gamble like this deserve punishment - and for those that grumble 'it's the fans that suffer', keep these thoughts in mind the next time you demand that the chairman "support their manager", "invest in the club", "". You get to see these players week in week out - this is simply the price you pay.

  • Comment number 86.

    @80 wrote
    "I hope Pompey survive as I have supported them for over 50 years and they are a historic club which deserves to be saved. As for the bitter few on here, you should save your energies for your own club."
    Having a history does NOT mean you deserve to survive!! If that was true, then why not just give the league championship to Liverpool every year, as all they have is history?
    Also, I don't see how you can complain about people being bitter towards your club - they (the club) deserve it! Get intro the Blue Square and leave properly run clubs alone!

  • Comment number 87.

    umpteenth_time_user save 606 can you name any successful clubs that are not either funded by sugar daddies or have very large debts? I wonder how supporters of say Bayern Munich look on Manchester United when they play them in Europe. Do they look at their debts and think they are cheating in a similar way but at a higher level to Portsmouth. Personally I can't see a great deal of difference between the debts Gaydamak ran up at Portsmouth and the debts the Glazier family have built up at Manchester United. In fairness a small percentage of Man United fans protest about the Galziers, but the vast majority get on with celebrating any tropihies that come their way.

  • Comment number 88.

    @all the saints (holier than thou) on here.

    It has also been reported that Southampton are currently £6m overspent on revenue and owe the family of their late owner in the region of £26m.

    It is understood they will be put up for sale as soon as they are promoted.

    It will be interesting to see how they spend and what price they will put on season ticket when they are promoted (I believe they will be).

    @79 Manchester City just reported a loss of £140m in one year. They are spending more in ayear than PFC did in all their time in the PL. The problems only occures if the investor stopped investing and turns the investment into debt.

    @Matt Slater, I think you are being too kind to the FL. Many PFC fans and others disagreed with the approving of CSI to take over. They pointed to the FSA ban, they pointed to the GM ban on Antonov, they pointed to the financial payments to B Chanrai to help CSI buy the club. Problem was, the FL or indeed the top four obsessed media had a single word to say about this.
    Many PFC fans have stayed away from the club in silent protest. Did the media think of asking question? No they we busy eating prawn sandwiches at OT.

    On the point of PFC buying the FA Cup, I can assure you (having been to all the FA cup matches we played that year) we won it by luck. We played some of the most boring football I have seen in a long time in that run and yet we ended up with the cup. Sometimes it happens that way in football.

    When did footall become so bitter? Seems to me it is since the age of the forum some football fans have forgotten that football is just a chance to meet a few mate on a Saturday afternoon and have a few drinks and a laugh (hopefully)

  • Comment number 89.

    @85 I would go further and have a wage cap accross all leagues, clubs would have to pay up front for any player they wanted to buy. All agents must be paid by the player. All payments for player and agents would have to be paid through the PL/FA or FL (I would even suggest that the PL/FA/Fl be merged into one organisation with the board voted in by an indepentant panel

  • Comment number 90.

    Wow, what a response – just shows what a hot topic this is. As a Pompey supporter I obviously only wish the best for my club. However, as a Pompey supporter even I struggle to justify certain things my club has done since coming out of the first admin. Buying Players, but not paying debts. Paying transfer fees while letting most of our young players go. Paying Agents fees totalling over £600k according to the new figures ! – don’t we ever learn.
    This may not be popular – but sometimes we have to look at ourselves as well – We load pressure on the manager and board - we expect our team to push for promotion, young player XYZ booted out if not ‘championship quality’, owners chastised on fans forums for not ‘getting the cheque book out’.
    We also need to get real, understand that if we carry on like this we won’t have a club, lower the expectations, look longer term and start being realistic about our ambitions for the club – how about survival first !

  • Comment number 91.

    Jeremy Clarkson should pass the test with flying colours.

  • Comment number 92.

    Re89. Don't be silly, that is just far too sensible. Have you been drinking or something?

    As an aside, I do like the Yank way of having a league where you have a salary cap. Again, far too sensible. Stupid idea really. Sorry I mentioned it.

    I've looked up clubs who are sensibly run and are transparent for all of us deluded, ignorant, whining, hypocritical fans of Pompey and it turns out that we should be supporting either Arsenal Ladies or FC United. Some teams in Uruguay also come up on a search, as do a couple of Japanese clubs but you know.... sometimes you can't help be blinded by the passion of supporting your local team.

    I'm off now to draft a memo to all Pompey fans about the unsavoury nature of us all and how we should correct our behaviour. Wish me luck.

  • Comment number 93.

    66. At 15:16 1st Dec 2011, stevegrant1983 wrote:
    @64 A fair point that taking those two in isolation is perhaps unfair, but allied with Ben Haim's reported £37k a week wages, it doesn't look much like a club intent on cutting back its wage bill too much.

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

    Hehe you wont find too many Pompey fans disagreeing with you on that one. I think many were hoping West Ham would take him permanently - we have no way to sustain a player on that wage.

    Unfortunately, he has a contract that can't simply be torn up. One of the previous regimes neglected to put relegation clauses in the contracts, it would seem, and so the club ended up in the Championship with players on huge wages refusing to sign new reduced contracts - as they were, I suppose, well within their rights to do. Even players like Michael Brown and Richard Hughes, who reached a point where they couldn't play games because the club couldn't afford to trigger a clause in their contracts, refused to sign new contracts on lower wages, so spent 6 months picking up their cheques and playing no football. Again, you can't really argue - it was PFC who wrote the contracts.

    Anyway, the point I'm making is that no matter how much the club *wants* to cut their wage bill, Ben Haim won't suddenly agree to taking less money. Unless someone wants to take him off the clubs wage bill, he will be seeing out his contract at £37k+ a week.

  • Comment number 94.

    @88 - Oh dear, you seem to believe everything anyone on a pompey messageboard posts in the slim hope that it makes you lot feel better about your position. Next thing you'll be telling all comers about a mythical docks strike and how you are sleeping giants.

    It's fools like you that allowed your club to spend without question and then cry like an old women when it all falls apart.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    Saint_In_Staffordshire. Fools like us??

    The only reason you are alive today is because of st. mary's stadium, without it, you'd be about as attractive as a wet weekend in grimsby.

    Yes, you are now on the up, thanks mainly to the liebherr legacy. No-one can argue with the league and your results, you deserve to be where you are.

    We all remember the day when you were hanging in the balance, so when you visit the saints website again to see how you did on saturday. check out google images for your stadium and give it a big thank you kiss.

    Don't judge us because we revelled in winning the FA cup the way we did, why do you lot think you wouldn't have celebrated in EXACTLY the same way.

    For us fools.. PLAY UP POMPEY, POMPEY PLAY UP.

    Football is rottern to the very core, everyone wants it to change. The people in charge making the decisions don't, they are getting what they want.. more money.

  • Comment number 97.

    what is needed is team of foresnic accoutants to through every club's books and prospective owner's books.

  • Comment number 98.

    Turning into a South Coast duel this blog...

    So spare a thought for Craig Whyte the new owner of Glasgow Rangers who has finally admitted that he was disqualified from being a Director for a 7 year period and is now the subject of an SFA investigation about whether he is a 'fit and proper' owner.

    The background was revealed in a recent BBC documentary affter which the BBC was banned from Planet Ibrox.

    Rangers might possibly be the first club where the owner is declared 'unfit' even before they go into adminstration if they lose their current tax evasion case.

    Dundee would be an example of a club in fan ownership who then traded themselves to an oilman who took them into adminstration (second time in 7 years) even with a designated fans representative sitting on the Board of Directors. In many ways fans rep's on club boards can be pretty toothless: since they have to sign confidentiality agreements about disclosure.

    The only thing that will work is regular quarterly accounts submitted by every club to their association. This will ensure that creditors such as HMRC are paid their due and that clubs are not using tax dues as a credit card.

  • Comment number 99.

    #96

    Saints embarked on a (relatively minor) transfer splurge several years after having invested in St .ary's and the Academy- building blocks of the long term stability of the club- where as @ortsmouth went on a massively reckless spending spree which apparently has continued post administration under Antonov without even thinking twice as to whether the set up of the club's infrastructure could ever warrant it. The two situations are entirely incomparable.l

  • Comment number 100.

    #99 I wasn't making a comparison.

 

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