I hope this is not out of my bounds, but seeing as I’ve recently covered the play-off race (and will be analysing heavily when the places are decided) and I will prefer to go in depth on the relegation battle next week when we have a thrilling last day encounter between Sheffield Wednesday V Crystal Palace (All to play for! If you’re a neutral you will most certainly be hoping for a last day thrill there, although it’s never nice to see teams go down), I thought I’d talk about a team that will be joining the Championship next season – Portsmouth. A team that have been in the news all season for their financial difficulties have now fully revelead the extent of the £120m they owe to others. The fundamental problem here isn’t with Pompey or the fans – it’s the league. We’ve seen a similar situation with governments and even countries lately.
Back in 2005, Peter Storrie, who must now be sitting on his piles of cash at home enjoying early retirement, claimed that the club could be debt free. The thing is though, Storrie knew what he was doing all along, he saw a flawed system and knew how to exploit it and ultimately the damage has been done and who has benefited from it? The rich who can just move on. Instead the fans now suffer and see their squad depleted and they could be in huge danger of being relegated again from the Championship next season. Storrie is a man who even managed to take people for that much of a fool so he could get win bonuses. That’s a man who doesn’t really have any great impact on a match day, yet he some how got thousands of pounds given to him for sitting around in a suit and watching football.
The part that makes Pompey’s situation so bad is the fact there is no consequence for what they have done. Sure, this is a club that’s got a point deduction, has had to sell off a number of players and has been relegated from the Premiership, but think about all those people who lost their job because some guys in suits wanted to earn some easy money. All these people down the chain are now out of work and the fans are looking at their club spiralling out of control. They’ve let Pompey build up all this risk and now, as ever, the lowest on the chain suffer while the rich can chalk it off and take their winnings from the gamble. What isn’t really mentioned enough in the media is how Portsmouth’s debt is like a nuclear explosion because it’s not just Pompey that are now in debt, but a number of services and businesses.
When you see Pompey now owe local schools and St. John’s ambulance service thousands of pounds it makes you a bit sick really because now the tax payer has to pick up the bill and there’s nothing we can do about it. They owe Tottenham £1 million for a deal that never actually happend and former players ridiculous win bonuses, which is more money than they could ever need. Harry Redknapp is another guilty party that has merely wiped his hands clean and now sits happily in another high paid job where he receives nothing but praise. I know some people comment ‘he’s not in charge of the money – it’s not his fault’ but in truth it is, because if he told Peter Storrie that he needs a player and his demands are £90,000 a week or so then that means he was a part of the problem and the fact that he’s a manager pretty much known for tax evasion and taking bungs, then that gives me all the information I need to let me know he was an accessory.
Pompey had a lot of time to stay out of administration despite the fact it was always coming, and were unfairly able to delay a winding up order so they could survive that little bit longer. The fact is, I shouldn’t be writing things like saying we need greater punishments for things like this because there should be rules to stop it happening in the first place and prevent people like Storrie from being involved in football. It’s the same mentality with the major banks that have been bailed out and like them Portsmouth’s status means they are ‘too big to fail’. It’s especially not fair on clubs that act sensible and spend within their means because they can rarely hope for successes like Portsmouth have recently had, but they don’t build up massive amounts of risk and then effectively be bailed out by the league. They’ve bent the rules for Portsmouth despite the fact its their fault they’re in debt and overall the league has pretty much bent over backwards and there’s no chance we’ll see rules put in place to make sure these sort of things don’t happen because the FA and Premier League powers are worried that their competition won’t seem as appealing and they probably wouldn’t get the high amounts of money they get now.
It’s all a fix by the powers that be and those with control, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the fan comes last in football and instead what we get is a load of fat cats who have moved in to exploit something that should be all about the people that turn up to watch their team. I understand that its necessary for football clubs to act a bit more like a business, but how is it that Portsmouth fans never knew that Peter Storrie was getting win bonuses until recently? I’m pretty sure if they knew that and had power, the fans would not want Storrie at their club, yet instead they never knew a thing and the team they love and support has effectively been gutted without little realisation. If you think this season has been bad and relegation to the Championship was the worst of it, then this is only the beginning.