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Search Results for: Pompey

Pompey’s Blame Game

We have been waiting for this since November – but that doesn’t make it any better. The new manager, the younger team, and games like the awayday at Blackpool notwithstanding, no one has been able to fully enjoy the simplicity of Championship survival. That is because, when the first shoe hit the floor in November, we learned that ‘self-sustaining’ really meant ‘injection of a £10.5m loan from the new owner with more needed to keep the club running for the rest of the season.’ It soon became clear to those who watch such things closely that there was a internal battle-royal going on behind the closed doors of the club. With Balram Chainrai back in the frame as the controlling money-lender and Administrator Andrew Andronikou at the helm of stricken CSI there was an instant conflict of interests between the money men and the club’s executive management, led by CEO David Lampitt. The failure to cash in on players during January and the frozen bank account as a result of HMRC’s winding up order left the club’s home fixture against Ipswich on Tuesday 14 February in some doubt. Players and staff unpaid and a rumour that the electricity was about to be cut off made that clear. The next move  had to come before HMRC’s petition was heard on 20 February. Finally the second shoe dropped. On Monday afternoon...

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Too Late for Licensing:Time to Pray at Pompey?

When questions about your football club are raised in Westminster and the Prime Minister agrees that the situation needs investigation then you know you are in a bad way. Not because you might be investigated but because the Prime Minister actually knows what Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, is talking about. David Cameron has backed Ms Mordaunt’s call for HMRC to meet with Portsmouth Football club to negotiate their way around the winding up order HMRC took out against the club last month. But would such a move be in the club’s best interests? Pompey seem to be just over two weeks from liquidation. The winding up order is due to be heard on 20 February. The final step into oblivion is all that’s left according to some. The stranglehold of Balram Chainrai on Portsmouth FC is killing the club in painful stages. The close of the transfer window has left fans waiting for his next move, while the club seeks a court order to unfreeze bank accounts to pay players and staff for January. It may be that staving off the winding up order will just extend the misery. It was expected that the club would sell some of the meagre squad to meet HMRC demands. The club currently owes £1.8m in unpaid tax. In the event one player with few appearances, young Ryan Williams, left for...

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Four Star Daydream: the Pompey Owner Saga Part 6.

So, Fantasy Football Owner is being played at Pompey yet again. Against a background of a HMRC winding up order for two months unpaid PAYE – a total of £1.6m – the familiar dance of chancers, secret consortia and mad millionaires continues. Yet no serious candidate has emerged. The transfer window advances towards slamming point and all our promising new manager, Mike Appleton, can do is manipulate a-one-in-one-out situation with our expensive but depleted eighteen man squad. The reason? The club is so weighted with debts owed to Balram Chainrai it would have to be sold way beyond its worth to get him out of our orbit. In November, under the usual Pompey circumstances involving allegations of fraud, money laundering, misappropriation, forgery and dodgy involvement with the Russian Mafia, I wrote of the difficulties into which the extradition case against owner Vladimir Antonov had left the club. Essentially the freezing of his assets had sent Pompey’s parent company, Convers Sports’ Initiatives, into administration. This step was forced on the company by Pompey’s previous owner, Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai, placing a charge on them. This was consequent on CSI’s failure to pay Chainrai the first instalment for the purchase of the club and their clear inability to do so without Antonov’s money – CSI being funded in its various activities by the private fortunes of its owners, largely Antonov...

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Pompey: The New Boss Could Be the Old Boss.

Its a form of ‘Pass the Parcel’.  A crowd of Russian, Israeli, Hungarian, Hong Kong and even British businessmen sit in a darkened room and spin poor old Pompey around until it ends up in the hands of one or more of them. The holder then has to keep it going until he finds an exit strategy. Then it goes back on the table with the same players and gets spun around again. Each time a layer is stripped off and the club gets diminished further. The last one holding the parcel will watch the final despairing whimper of a once proud football club. It was announced today that Convers Sports Initiative, the parent company of Portsmouth Football Club (2010) Ltd, has gone into administration. Some of us got the news yesterday – courtesy of a Southampton fan. Galling. But it didn’t surprise us. Five days ago I wrote that Pompey Chairman, Vladimir Antonov was the subject of a European arrest warrant and said there was more to come. Since then, events have moved with some acceleration. There have been hasty background dealings, described by co-owner Roman Dubov as ‘trying to save the company.’ These dealings have made it highly possible that Hong Kong businessman, Balram Chainrai, will end up with the parcel for a third time. To recap – on 16 November Antonov’s bank, Snoras was nationalised by...

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Pompey: An Unavoidable Calamity?

Its getting to the point where Pompey fans are wondering if there is some kind of Karmic force coming to a head in the City. Something to do with all those Crusaders who set sail from there back in the middle ages perhaps? Because the tally of owners of ill-repute the club has had over the last 20 years is growing to epic proportions. One favourite game on messageboards at the moment, among the black humour and straw-clutching aphorisms, is ‘spot the last honest owner we had.’ There is currently a European Union Arrest Warrant out for the Chairman of PFC, Vladimir Antonov. He is wanted for interview in regard to the insolvency of his Snoras Bank in Lithuania and its subsidiary in Latvia, Latvijas Krabjanka. It seems that there is a serious shortfall of funds in both banks, believed to be between £300m and £800m. The Latvians describe an ‘unexpected outflow of funds’ over two days this week after the Lithuanian Snoras bank was put into involuntary administration and wisely suspended all financial operations. Funnily enough it was ‘significant outflow’ of cash from the Lithuanian Snoras that triggered the investigation that led to administration. The arrest warrant lists Antonov and his business partner, Raimundas Baranauskas, as suspects in regard to alleged ‘fraudulent accounting, forgery of documents, abuse of authority, misappropriation of property, money laundering and other criminal offences committed by the...

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