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Portsmouth Turning Into A Farce Due To Financial Troubles

portsmouth fc Portsmouth Turning Into A Farce Due To Financial Troubles

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.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

5 Responses to Portsmouth Turning Into A Farce Due To Financial Troubles

  1. Patrick says:

    The other very real question is who actually owns Pompy. While Alexandre Gaydamak is listed with the FA. Most people believe that he is bankrolled by his dad, Arkadi Gaydamal.

    Arkadi is wanted in France for gun running.

    The joke of this all is the FA demand owners be “fit and proper persons”. That didn't work out so well in Manchester City now did it. or some might even say at CFC.

    As for the money crisis at Pompy, I have my doubts. First the investigation was done by News of the World. Do I really need to say anything at all about that paper. Second, this could well be a ploy by Gaydamek's to get the stadium built.
    Or it could be that Gaydamek has simply grown bored of the Premier League…

    I really think that the League needs to get a bit more teeth into the financial deals at clubs. Given the current state of the global economy, borrowing cash will be difficult, if not impossible. So we will see more foreign owners who are flush in cash.

    and the crazy thing about the Gaydamek's is that to this day no one knows how he made million is Russia before moving to Israel. I think that's telling.

  2. The Gaffer says:

    Patrick,

    When I was growing up in the UK, the News Of The World was a joke. But most of the big scandals and storylines the past 12 months have been broken by the News Of The World. They're definitely a different paper than they used to be and have some great writers including Chris Bascombe.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  3. AtlantaPompey says:

    Pompey does have financial issues, but they are no different than most clubs. They do not get the revenue from their stadium that most clubs get. They have greatly increased their player's wages in the last two seasons. Revenue staying the same while costs go up won't last long. Very little purchasing was done this summer, with those financial realities being the reason. The only major signing was Crouch. Most of the rest were loans. I don't see them adding anyone in January, with the possibility of off-loading one or two players, especially if they are already out of the UEFA Cup and the FA Cup.

    Alexandre Gaydamak claims he owns the club, but where did he get his money? Probably from his dad. His father is running for Mayor of Jerusalem, and had to list his assets, which included Portsmouth FC. Not sure why he did that, except that maybe he believes he owns it.

    The next couple of months will be interesting to watch. The stadium is on hold, which it has been for years. They have already started construction on the new training ground.

    It's obvious that things are going on behind the scenes and have affected the club. At least that's my excuse for giving up 10 goals and looking very poor in doing it last week.

    PLAY UP POMPEY!!!

  4. lsmetana says:

    This is the way the Prem is going. The prevailing logic is that you have to spend every cent you have just to keep up with debt-laden clubs like Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Yes, Chelsea's owner has deep pockets and can write off the debts but that's hardly a proper way to run a business. It's surprising how normally sharp business minds lose their way when they get involved in sport. I guess it's more about ego than financial success.

    As for Pompey, they've splashed out some big transfer fees and likely some big wages to get Crouch, Defoe, etc. looks like it's catching up with them sooner than they might have expected.

  5. Rick Jewell says:

    What a difference a few weeks make?

    “The problem for Portsmouth is that they may face a difficult task trying to find an investor willing to buy the club from Gaydamak”

    - Nope it wasn’t difficult, sold one week after the season ended, with negotiations hinging presumably on the fact that they stayed up. Question to answer would be why Pompey and not West Ham/Newcastle etc?- there were many clubs also up for sale at the same time – would be interesting to know what attracted Al Fahim to a club on the verge of bankruptcy, with an outdated stadium, aged stars, caretaker manager, very poor training provision and only 20,000 supporters.

    The only reason I can think of is that he and his investors think the club can be taken to a higher level and are prepared to invest (with little hope of a return) hundreds of millions of pounds in order to do it. The new ground is costed at approx £60M and Al Fahim would (conservatively) need to spend that much again to improve the squad. Some funds would be income from the sale of Fratton Park and residential development at Hornsea but this is less than investment than pure spend.

    Al Fahim would not buy into a club where future success was not seen to be viable in the short term and presumably he looked into other available clubs and that bodes ill for West Ham and Newcastle if such an investor chose not to take them on.

    “…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.”

    What does it look now? Gaydamak walks away having recovered his investment – perhaps more, and Pompey’s future looks golden, more than any time in its history.

    Fingers crossed that they don’t do a Man City though!

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