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Breaking News: Portsmouth Face Winding Up Order

Is there a worse chairman in the history of the Premiership than Sulaiman Al-Fahim? I’m struggling to think of anyone who has misled, misinformed and treated the supporters of a club so clearly as Al-Fahim has in his 8 month relationship with Portsmouth. Today the HM Revenue & Customs have issues a winding up order against Portsmouth F.C. which will see the club declared bankrupt unless all debts can be settled by February

Now, for me, the Premiership board have to take a long look at themselves over this situation. They allowed a man who clearly didn’t have the financial muscle to own a Premiership club to purchase it and then sell 90% within 6 weeks to Ali al-Faraj who promised to invest significant sums that have still to materialise. Where is all the money going at Portsmouth?

So here we have a situation where the 2008 F.A. Cup winners are facing going under in 6 weeks. It is an absolute disgrace that this situation has come about and the club have just commented on this story, wholly denying the accusations but does anyone believe them anymore? The club are banned from signing anyone until the footballing debts are settled, the ground needs major redevelopment or a new ground and now the tax man has come knocking.

Going into administration would see them hit with a 10 point deduction immediately and would seal relegation for them. Selling players would leave them weaker than they currently are and it would seem highly unlikely that anyone can step in to bail them out financially. It’s a nightmare situation that has echoes of the crisis which engulfed the club in 1999 when Milan Mandaric rode to the rescue.

Yet football has changed immeasurable in the ten years since that crisis. Administration now means a points deduction and yet, when al-Faraj bought his 90% of the club in October, the debt to the Inland Revenue was claimed to have been settled. It now seems that once again, it wasn’t true and with the amount supposedly £2 million, where did that go? The statement from the club claims that they’ve paid £9.7 million but the HMRC have still sought a winding up order. Who’s telling the truth here?

Mandaric has actually stated just before Christmas that he wouldn’t be buying Portsmouth back which would be bad news for anyone hoping to see him return to the Solent. Yet the club has been hemorrhaging money for the last 3 seasons, losing over £40 million up to the end of the 2007-2008 season. Since then, the club have sold over £80 million of talent, but still owe money to Chelsea, Watford  and Rennes. The next allotted amount of TV revenue, which is £7 million could be diverted to those three clubs but it still wouldn’t cover all the outstanding monies.

The monthly wage bill at Fratton Park is £1.8 million and the only other option is to sell playing assets to try and keep going, but the wages have bounced twice already this season and with everyone aware of Portsmouths situation, they will do well to receive an actual value for those players that matches what they need. All in all, it’s a dire situation and there seems no light at the end of the tunnel for Portsmouths long suffering fans. As always these days at Pompey, they are the last to know anything. I could do a better job than the current incumbents at Fratton Park and I suspect most Portsmouth fans could.

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  1. rodbhoy

    December 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Portsmouth wont be the only club who could go bust. The English FA and footballing people in general have to stop this madness that is the English Premier League. Clubs cant keep spending more than they bring in, dead simple. Transfer fees are ludicrous and wages are immoral while the ordinary fan struggles to pay the admission fee. Im Scottish and I honestly aint gloating here, Im a big fan of English football but take a famous club like Liverpool for example, Think they have about 400million debt? They are now in a position where they may not qualify for champs league hence less money in more debt etc etc. I hate to say this but will it take a truly big club like a liverpool or another team to go bust for a bit of sanity to return to English football.PS I hope Portsmouth dont go under

  2. jim

    December 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    people need to stop blaming harry, he spent what he was given it was his job to manage the team not the finacial side of the club. Anyone who says he did a bad job needs to remember who got us in the premiership, and kept us there on more than one occasion, if anything gaydamak stopped investing in the club and more than likely had a big part to play in the situation pompey are in now. the new owners dont even have anything to offer and should not have been approved for a takeover after what happened with al fahim and a lack of investment. I hope pompey can get through this but it seems unless a mega rich sugar daddy comes along they face a hopeless situation

  3. mathew

    December 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    this is all down to harry redknapp and peter storrie and paul hart all mates and all getting a slice of the cake ,harry buying in players and paying them stupid wages ,peter storey giving paul hart a two year contract when he knew we had no money and paul hart buying players worth 4 million pounds one whos not good enough and the other sitting on the bench a waste of money i say ,now the inland revenue is on there tails are we seeing panic i wonder there all corupt and needs to all be locked up i say !!!

    • brn442

      December 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm

      Before this character ” bought” the club – there is something call due diligence, Blaming Harry for Pompey’s woes is rather silly, it’s not his job to say no to bloated signings or ridiculous wages, that’s the boardroom’s job, if it wasn’t for the man the club would probably be floundering in the championship (Southampton). Put the blame where it belongs, in the boardroom.

  4. brn442

    December 30, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    btw, Mike Ashley, Peter Ridsdale, Hicks / Gillette may be in the running for the Worst Chairmen ever.

  5. Rob McCluskey

    December 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    It’s a lot to do with Redknapp but more to do with lack of contingency. They spent big and now they’re paying for it

    I think Fahim got the club then realised the level of debt they were in and didn’t want to take the risk but remember if Fahim didn’t take over when he did then the club would have went into administration there and then.

    They’ve been so ruined that they can’t play Dindane again because of the clause in his loan deal which says that after 10 games played they must pay an agreed fee for him which they obviously can’t give them.

  6. brn442

    December 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I agree with you? It’s about time the Premier League have a fit and proper test that actually has something to do with football. Whether it’s with Liverpool to Portsmouth, the trend of people buying Football Clubs with virtually no liquidity or spending money they clearly don’t have is not good for the club or league in the long run. Leeds, Fiorentina, Lazio, Napoli – all hold testament to that.

  7. Huh

    December 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Is this a result of dodgy Harry’s crazy spending spree on not just the players but their huge wages? I think so, great Manager that Rednapp. I hope they can get this mess sorted out and that they carry on as an football club good luck Portsmouth.

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