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Portsmouth On The Brink Again?

What the hell is going on at Portsmouth? Despite Sulaiman Al Fayed passing the fit and proper persons test that the Premier League subjected him to, he’s still not completed the takeover at Fratton Park. The fans of Pompey deserve better than this, it’s not fair and it’s getting beyond a joke. The club has had no additional finances for over 9 months now from current owner Alexandre Gaydamak, so desperate is he to recoup his overall investment.

Perhaps someone should point out to him that you get a lot less for a team that is either in the Championship or nothing for a team in administration. Portsmouth are clinging to the cliff edge by their fingernails and unless the deal gets sorted immediately, they are in serious trouble of lasting until the transfer window shuts.

On May 17th 2008, Portsmouth fielded the following side in the F.A. Cup final; James, Johnson, Hreidarsson, Distin, Campbell, Utaka, Mendes, Diarra, Kranjcar, Muntari, Kanu. Subs: Ashdown, Paramot, Diop, Nugent, Baros. Of that match day squad, 10 still remain at the club with another 8 who were either not at the club or unable to play that day, which swells the ranks to 18 first team players.

The Premiership season starts in 11 days and at this moment in time, it has now become clear that there is no guarentee that how many more of the remaining squad members will still be there come 3pm on the 15th when they face Fulham. That is unacceptable for Portsmouth’s fans, who always seem to be the last to know anything these days.

The protracted takeover for the club by Sulaiman Al Fayed has still not been completed and today the club inadvertently revealed the financial woes that the club faces. There’s nothing worse than sending a confidential e-mail to suddenly realise it’s become major sporting news.  Portsmouth’s Chief Executive Peter Storrie has opened a can of worms this evening after such a scenario revealed the state of Pompey’s financial woes. Storrie’s e-mail stated that “The business has debts to pay and the banks are not releasing funds, so this leaves the club with no option but to sell to keep going.”

Since the F.A. Cup final, Portsmouth have raised over £70 million pounds in transfer revenue and spent around £10 million. Where on earth has the other money gone? Storrie claims that the club simply cannot function without selling further players, so where has the TV revenue gone? Each club receives on average £45 million a season in the Premiership, so add that to transfer revenues and you are looking at £115 million coming in to the club.
Even if the the transfer deals are paid in installments, it is still a revenue stream that the club can include in its accounts.Don’t forget the club received £5 million from Tottenham for Harry Redknapp to take charge back in October too!What is happening at Fratton Park? How did it get to this point that they are so close to the wall that even £115  million can’t keep them functioning?
Is Sulaiman Al Fayed banking on them going to the wall? By entering administration, Portsmouth will automatically be docked 10 points. Not an insurmountable deficit in the Premiership, but only if you have a team that you can put out. At this rate, Paul Hart may have to register himself as a player just to top up the subs bench.
With Storrie’s admission of the state of Portsmouth’s finances, the Premiership vultures are circling. Other clubs know now that they can pick off the best of the rest, with Niko Kranjcar and Sylvain Distin at the top of few clubs shopping list. Hot prospect Martin Cranie is another player that several managers will have already earmarked and Younes Kaboul will have several suitors, no doubt with Ajax and Lyon leading the field.
Yet, when you’re paid £1.3 million a year, you’d think that e-mailing a national newspaper would make Storrie think about what you discuss with them. What a mess, what a shame. Can Portsmouth keep going until the protracted takeover is complete? I hope so, otherwise the pebbles on Southsea beach may be coloured blue when the sharks come to finish off the club. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
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  1. steve

    August 5, 2009 at 11:56 am

    is it better to be a yo-yo club, or be like Bolton or Blackburn and stuck in mid table mediocrity year after year?

    If I were a Bolton fan, I’d be pretty damn bored right now. No chance of cracking the top four….occassionally they can get a UEFA spot (yawn), but also never really threatening relegation. From February on, what exactly is riding on there games? They are playing 10-12 glorified exhibition games at year end.

    I’d much rather be a West Brom….every other year you are competing for a title or involved in thrilling playoff games in the Championship, and every other year in the Premier League your end of the season games have as much riding on them as any as you try to stay up. There games have meaning to them.

    Best thing that could happen to Portsmouth this year….would be relegation.

    • Lyle

      August 6, 2009 at 12:30 am

      I think you’re probably in the minority with this view.

  2. Tom

    August 5, 2009 at 4:55 am

    It has all the hallmarks of Leeds United’s demise. The club has over stretched themselves buying big money players on money-sapping wages. They weren’t even in the Champions League or have a big enough stadium to justify or sustain that level of spending.
    Sadly I fear Pompey will become another high profile EPL casualty but I reckon there are number of clubs on the brink in a division that has been irresponsible with money for years now.

  3. Geovanni

    August 4, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Don’t be surprised if they sell their keeper in the following days

  4. Geovanni

    August 4, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Portsmouth has received money from Crouch and Lassana Diarra. I don’t see why they’re not using it.

  5. AtlantaPompey

    August 4, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    It’s more about Portsmouth overspending themselves to the brink rather than symptomatic of English football. Having to sell everything that isn’t nailed down just to meet payroll means that a lot of very unwise decisions were made along the way. Most of the clubs in the Premiership are not in this condition.

    • Lyle

      August 6, 2009 at 12:36 am

      Overspending on players IS symptomatic of English and British football, I’d say. Teams year in and year out now are going in to administration. A lot of this has to do with the idea that every once in a while you can have a payroll that is above your payroll budget. It works some times and more often doesn’t work. It’s living life dangerously, which is what a lot of clubs do because they have owners who got to where they are in life by taking financial risks.

      You’re right that it is Pompey to blame. Doesn’t matter if their fans are great. Bad financial decision are bad financial decisions. Pompey isn’t even a particular big club (smallest home crowd in the League, I think)… so you know things should get problematic when you’re paying bucket loads to some players.

  6. Lyle

    August 4, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    This is Premier League football. Although it sucks for Portsmouth right about now, they had it pretty good for a few years and that’s about all you can expect from any team not in the top 4-5 year in and year out. Like Newcastle is a much bigger club and they’re in the Championship now, and Leeds doesn’t seem any closer to getting out of League One. That’s football, it’s simply dangerous to fly high and try to compete with the big guns.

    Nothing really to get too ticked off about, I think. Nothing else should be expected until there is a salary cap and tighter rules on what owners can do. The problem is that would mean English teams would get passed up by continental teams who could spend and spend, and because the big Four have so much say so in England, a salary cap ain’t happening (even if Arsenal favor it because they bank on being Arsenal, historic team in London with big stadium).

  7. AtlantaPompey

    August 4, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Most of the transfer fees earned in the last year went directly to other clubs to pay debts owed for previous players bought. Since they absolutely refuse to let us know what is really going on financially, then it really is merely speculation regarding the finances. Pompey is in serious trouble right now. Administration is looming if the takeover doesn’t go through.

  8. Nick Davies

    August 4, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Still paying debts I guess, hearing strong rumors Portsmouth will have one less player tomorrow, a keeper.

  9. Steve Tomkinds

    August 4, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Storrie didnt email the national newspaper…do your research

    • FredTheRed

      August 5, 2009 at 6:13 am

      The Sun say he did, do your research!

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