During the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon claimed on national television that “There can be no whitewash at the White House”, yet history shows that there was indeed a whitewash and Nixon orchestrated it through delusions of power and presidential etiquette. It seems that time has taught people nothing about that lying whilst hoping no-one notices usually causes more of a fuss.
This week has seen the Portsmouth financial crisis reach such a point that they’ve simply stop talking to the press because, incredibly, no-one believes anything that comes out as an “official” statement. It is reaching the proportions of a footballing farce but the players have finally been paid after deadlines came and went on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Coming after the chief executive Peter Storrie said that he didn’t know when the financial situation would be resolved and players would have to be sold to keep the club going, today executive director Mark Jacob said this wouldn’t be the case but every player had his price. So two employees of the club and two separate versions of events. Add to that the Premier League are diverting January’s installment of the £7 million TV revenue money to Chelsea, Tottenham, Rennes and Lens and the on going battle with the HMRC, which Portsmouth claims is a mistake and the story gets murkier and murkier.
You see, throughout the last couple of weeks we’ve been told just how much the new owner Ali Al-Faraj had spent dealing with debts for the club, apparently £40 million, but they’ve had to get a loan to pay the wages and can’t clear the transfer debts they owe. So how can things be fine when they are still scraping around to pay wages and have to get more debt to pay existing debts? The Premier League don’t trust them to pay their own deals and I can’t think of another club that has had to have it’s TV money diverted to other clubs.
This situation is spiraling out of control and no-one knows where it’s going to end up next. When club employees don’t know which version of the truth to offer out, how on earth are the fans supposed to have a clue what is going on? With former owner Alexandre Gaydamak also weighing in claiming he’s still owed £28 million, how on earth did it come to this? Yet lets be honest, if Leeds United can implode so spectacularly as they did back in 2003/2004, can Portsmouth really find away out of it.
When I lived in Gosport many years ago and used to make the daily trek to the training ground out in Eastleigh, people would always show their love for the club be it in Fareham, Southsea, wherever. There is a real sense of pride in the side throughout Portsmouth, they are a tenacious and dedicated bunch of people and some of the best fans in the country. If you give your all for the shirt, they’ll give you their unconditional support and you can’t ask for more than that. I just wish the relationship was working the other way around and the club gave as much back.
If they gave a damn, they’d sort out this whole sorry mess and go into administration now. By doing so, they can clear the debts and take the ten point deduction on the chin. Hell, they may even be able to sign some players that could pull the deficit back in time. If not, then they can regroup ready for a promotion assault next season. I just wish the club would stop treating the fans with such indifference, they deserve better.