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Sanity Returns To Portsmouth FC Now That Takeover Is Complete


What a long, strange trip it’s been for Portsmouth supporters. Just a little over a year ago, Portsmouth Football Club lifted the FA Cup, qualified for Europe, and was enjoying its second straight season in the top half of the table. Harry Redknapp was forgiven for his brief trip to Southampton. Winning trophies will do that.

Last summer’s selling of Muntari to Inter Milan was a warning shot across the bow of what was to come. Redknapps’ departure in October for the supposed greener pastures of North London, the departure of several more big names, December’s confirmation of Gaydamak’s intent to sell, two more managers, and a narrow escape from relegation were to come. Frankly, the real reason we stayed up is that there were so many poor teams in the Premier League. We didn’t deserve to stay up, but somebody had to.

As soon as this past season finished, a new owner appeared on the horizon, and one with a slightly familiar name. Manchester City supporters will remember him for boasting to sign all of the world’s top talent. Sulaiman al-Fahim, minus the title of Doctor, was either leading a group to buy the club, or buying it himself, or buying it with other people’s money, or something. Due diligence took an interminable amount of time. That’s not entirely correct, though. When Gaydamak purchased the club, due diligence took even longer, but it was during the season. With little else to discuss this summer on the south coast, the length of the due diligence period felt like it lasted years. Being the first person to go through the league’s new Fit and Proper Persons Test threw further fuel on the fire. How long would it take? Would he pass? Will the league make an example of him and drag this out even further?

On Tuesday, July 21, the club announced the takeover was complete, Sulaiman al-Fahim was the new owner and chairman, and Paul Hart would be retained as manager and given a two year contract. Pompey supporters have mixed feelings about Paul Hart, given his dire, defensive tactics which kept us up last season. He has promised to play more attacking football, but given the depletion of the squad, will be hard pressed to accomplish that. Peter Storrie and Paul Hart both have promised several new acquisitions in the next few days, saying that they have been lined up for a while now awaiting the league’s approval of al-Fahim. The fire sale will stop, although Crouch is very likely to leave. Pompey will not splash the cash like Manchester City is currently doing. However, Sulaiman al-Fahim claims to have a long-term plan to grow the club which includes a new training ground, a new stadium, a larger youth academy, and larger transfer budgets. Here’s hoping he has a good plan.

By the way, does anyone have a kit we could borrow? Canterbury Europe goes into administration after making all of our shirts for the season, but we will have precious few to sell. My wife will be so disappointed that I may not be able to get ANOTHER Pompey shirt. Oh, and we need a kit sponsor too. Any takers?

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  1. Lloyd Killick

    July 28, 2009 at 3:12 am

    Most disappointment is lack of respect for the supporters.

    We would have accepted a tough year ahead with minimum funds, though only information coming through was money would be made available!

    Why is Peter Storrie not coming forward?

  2. Pompey Canuck

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Pompey now have a sponsor –

    Here is the story –

  3. Lyle

    July 22, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Al Fahim is no less shady than Gaydamak. Weapons dealer versus UAE property tycoon? Take your pick FA.

  4. AtlantaPompey

    July 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    The FA will continue to monitor the developments and step in when and where necessary. The money hasn’t ‘officially’ changed hands, but the deal is signed and sealed. The takeover is complete, except for nitpicky details that don’t amount to anything.

    I sure hope that Paul Hart proves his detractors wrong, but I’m not holding my breath. We need to sign several players quickly and create a more positive atmosphere amongst the supporters. Right now, Pompey supporters don’t seem all that happy.

  5. Sarisburyexile

    July 22, 2009 at 7:31 am

    The FA Premier League has decided he is a fit and proper person to become chairman, based on the evidence provided, but will continue to monitor developments.
    Pompey have said the takeover has been agreed “in principle”. But the deal has not been completed.
    Fingers crossed it will all be OK but I can see why someone might still put a negative spin on that.

  6. Pompey Canuck

    July 22, 2009 at 6:59 am

    I don’t know whether it is the people at the guardian or the FA that are smoking something. But FredtheRed, the takeover has been both approved and completed. Even the article you posted says as much, it goes on to say that the FA are going to try to stop even though it has happened which frankly is ridiculous. He passed the Fit and Proper persons test and the FA approved his ownership. If there are any people that want to invest in the club at more than 10% then they get to do the test too. That is when the FA can evaluate prospective owners. If the FA is going to change the rules on ownership 3 weeks before the season, I am sure that it will a lot more clubs than just Pompey and they will be sued to high hell. Especially since it is widely known that if the takeover is blocked then Pompey go into administration.

    Paul – I have to disagree with your assessment that we didn’t deserve to stay up. I think that the team led by Tony Adams didn’t deserve to stay up, but the team led by Paul Hart did. I can’t see us without a sponsor for very long, but I plan to take advantage and buy an away kit without the sponsor logo. I also imagine that it won’t take long for the kit manufacturer to be sorted out.

  7. FredTheRed

    July 22, 2009 at 5:55 am

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