Forget the ‘big four’, forget Man City, forget Phil Brown (or at least try to) because it’s Portsmouth that have become the soap opera of the Premier League season.
It may only be the start of October but Pompey have already been the subject of an on-off takeover bid, a huge exodus of star players, a mini signing spree and the worst start to a domestic season in the history of the top flight.
Much like a soap opera, the drama is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. Over the last few days new owner Sulaiman Al Fahim has pledged to inject £50million into the club, fought off rumours of impending administration after it was revealed that the players had not been paid on time and now, according to reports, been admitted to a Dubai hospital. The problem is believed to be nothing more serious than kidney stones but the news will do little to quell the speculation surrounding the club.
The main concerns seem to be regarding financial stability – a far cry from the positivity that greeted the original news of Al Fahim’s proposed takeover. That revelation was made way back in May, when it was announced that Portsmouth had accepted a bid from the businessman. Yet it was another four months before a deal had been completed.
After doubts emerged over Al Fahim’s financial backing, the move appeared to be off, with talk of a new takeover bid, led by chief executive Peter Storrie. However, former owner Alexandre “Sacha” Gaydamak eventually decided to stick with Al Fahim, leaving Storrie’s future in doubt.
Speaking to local radio station The Quay, Storrie remarked: “I am very, very disappointed, but its Sacha’s club. He decides.”
Since then, Storrie has decided to stay on at Portsmouth but little has been done to assure fans as to the stability of the club, with matters on the pitch quickly going from bad to worse. The team, led by Paul Hart, have lost seven out of seven, scoring just three goals in the process and are now big favourites for the drop.
Regardless of Al Fahim’s intentions, Pompey’s short-term future looks bleak. With no transfer window until January and the Premier League odds stacked against them for their next two fixtures away at Wolves and home to high flying Tottenham, their plight may just get worse before it gets better.