Day: February 18, 2013

FA Cup Fifth Round Weekend: That Was The Weekend That Was

Early on Sunday morning, Richard  Scudamore swiveled his chair around from his desk and gazed out of the windows of the lair built into a supervolcano in the Pacific Rim, a venue selected for its isolated location which offers excellent access to lucrative Far Eastern markets. ‘Take a note, Mungo,’ he said to his assistant, ‘To the senior management of Chelsea, Wigan Athletic and Manchester City. I note with displeasure that several of our member clubs have been tarnishing the Premier League brand by failing to beat opposition from the lower orders not in the FA Cup, of which I am aware, but also in something called the League Cup. This is not only damaging to our brand, but also to the public interest. As we all know, there’s nothing that the general public would want more than four of the Biggest Clubs In The World playing at least six of their strongest first elevens at Wembley next month. I trust that you will do whatever you can to put these upstarts in their place. Yours etc.’ And so it was that one of the most grimly predictable days in the history of the FA Cup began. Saturday had certainly not gone according to any script. Well, not any script that involved Premier League clubs wiping the floor with the lower orders, anyway. Arsenal should, by any reasonable measure,...

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Pompey: Where the Bids Come From

There has been a rare old tussle going on down Pompey way this last week. In microcosm our beleagured club continues to be a perfect illustration of all that is questionable about football governance as it currently stands. On 7 February it appeared that the long running Pompey Supporters’ Trust bid to buy the club was about to be scuppered by a consortium led by Keith Harris. The Trust are awaiting the outcome of a frequently postponed court hearing to determine the value of Fratton Park before they can proceed with finalising the purchase of the club. Administrators’ PKF and charge holder Portpin have been playing cat-and-mouse over this case since last December. The Trust are offering Portpin £3m. Portpin want considerably more. A week before a hearing to fix the date of the case, the Trust were informed of Harris’ bid. Harris had cobbled together a pair of ‘passive investors’ , vet Alan Hitchins and  Financier Pascal Najadi along with two would-be executive directors, ex-Swansea Steve Hamer and ex-Pompey (of Hiroshima fame) John Redgate. Despite Harris stating, straight faced, that his consortium broke all links with the past, he was immediately contradicted by his own plan. This was to lease back Fratton Park from the current charge holder, Portpin, thereby avoiding the need for a court case. Harris claimed he would be purchasing the ground at a later date. He then declared that...

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