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Day: March 17, 2010

Portsmouth’s Nine Point Deduction Kicks In

As Portsmouth slid into administration, the grim reality of their predicament could be seen from a cursory glance at the bottom of the Premier League table. The club is, of course, bottom of the table, but they have been there much of the season. The unpleasant added bonus is that they are now cast adrift at the foot of the table on ten points, after the nine point deduction – pro-rata’d down from the usual ten points to take into account that Premier League clubs only play thirty-eight league matches over the course of a season – for entering into administration kicked in. Premier League survival now seems all but impossible. They are seventeen points adrift of Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United, the two clubs that sit uncomfortably just above the relegation places, with just nine matches left to play. Their relegation could be sealed in as little as three or four games’ time. Although perhaps understandable in their current desperation, Portsmouth’s standing among supporters of other clubs has hardly been helped by a sense that they were trying to wriggle out of a punishment that many other clubs have already been sanctioned with. Even today, Peter Storrie, the discredited former Chief Executive who stays at Fratton Park as “an advisor” (nobody has yet successfully explained what the difference between the two actually is) stated, without showing the...

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Cardiff & Southend vs The High Court: Round Three

Cardiff City and Southend United were both given a stay of execution recently by the High Court in their bids to stave off winding up petitions brought against them. Mark Murphy takes a look at what they have been up to since then and doesn’t find much cause for encouragement. Well, reports are emerging of a fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. So technically it’s possible. But surely Cardiff and Southend can’t stretch their material to a fourth script – anymore than I can stretch this film analogy to a fourth sentence. Yet, away from the attention which accompanied Portsmouth into the Companies Court on London’s Strand last month, both the Bluebirds and the Shrimpers have been up before the beak again, promising that next time, definitely, they’ll pay all their taxes. By all accounts (except one, see below), both Cardiff and Southend tried the same “strategy” when they re-appeared in court on March 10th, both promising that there was a shedload of money round the corner, you’ll see, we just need a bit more time. Notts County tried that line before Christmas. And it worked. And remarkably, on March 10th, it worked again. Twice. It seemed Cardiff had found the £1.7m they owed after their February hearing. Newspaper headlines such as “Land sale saves City” and “Land sale to pay tax bill” hinted that the sale of land...

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Match Of The Midweek: Chelsea 0-1 Internazionale

How would you feel if you were Roman Abramovich after this evening’s Champions League match between Chelsea and Inter? When he disposed of Jose Mourinho just over three years ago, it was reportedly a show of player power the likes of which the English game had seldom seen before. Mourinho, however, has never quite gone away. He remains a ghost-like presence at Stamford Bridge, clever enough to know that revenge is a dish best served cold. He was coolly pragmatic about his choice of words when he left the club. The Champions League is the trophy that Abramovich really wants, but it took until the start of this season for Abramovich to work his way through Scolari, Grant and Hiddink before finding a little stability in the form of Carlo Ancelotti. Tonight, though, was the night that Mourinho took his revenge. This may just have been the first match at which the pre and post match press conferences were as eagerly anticipated as the match itself. The press love Jose Mourinho. He is as ready with a quote as Brian Clough was at the peak of his powers, yet the applecarts that he upsets are usually inconsequential ones. Sometimes he gives the impression of talking too much and saying too little. Sometimes he leans too heavily upon playing to press expectations of what he will say. Sometimes the fake...

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