Alarming reports are coming out of England this morning regarding the future of Portsmouth Football Club.
According to The News Of The World, owner Alexandre Gaydamak has put the club up for sale to avert a financial crisis, and is looking to sell Pompey for an initial £20 million.
Incredibly, the newspaper is also reporting that a stunning 90 per cent of Portsmouth’s annual income is used to pay player’s wages, which is a definite recipe for disaster.
“The financial position of the club is fully audited and is consistent with its peers in the football industry,” said an official from Portsmouth FC in a statement from the club this morning. “The club’s owner has already stated that the club is not for sale but, as with all businesses, should the right offer be forthcoming, serious consideration would be given to the proposal.”
What an absolutely ridiculous statement by Portsmouth. First, the club fails to address the newspaper’s statements head-on and says that their financial position is similar to bigger clubs in football — which is a scary thought for the other clubs. So, they don’t deny they’re in severe financial trouble.
And second, they say they’re not for sale, but if the right offer came along they would be. What politically correct nonsense is that? The club owners are too proud to say the club is for sale, but behind everyone’s backs they’ll tell insiders that they’re for sale. At least Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley had the balls to tell the public he wants to sell his club.
The problem for Portsmouth is that they may face a difficult task trying to find an investor willing to buy the club from Gaydamak. Their Fratton Park ground only fits just less than 20,000 and their new 36,000 stadium on Horsea Island is still up in the air and won’t be ready until 2011 at the earliest.
I know that Harry Redknapp has a penchant for buying lots of expensive players, but what sort of wages is Portsmouth playing their stars if that amounts to 90 per cent of its income? Sure, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, David James and Lassana Diarra must be making huge wages. But other than those players, what other stars do they have? Kranjcar, Distin, Diop, Lauren, Hreidarsson and Utaka to name a few.
Either Portsmouth is paying more than they should for wages, or their income they’re bringing in is inadequate. Whatever the case, this looks like an extreme case of poor management by Gaydamak, which spells disaster for Portsmouth if a wealthy investor doesn’t bail them out soon.