Tag: Portsmouth

Portsmouth Evade The Taxman’s Net

So, Portsmouth won at the High Court yesterday, then. It’s worth taking a moment to consider what that means, exactly. It means that their unsecured debt has been reduced by 80%, and that the overwhelming majority of creditors will lose, cumulatively, a massive amount of money into a black hole. It means, effectively, that the only punishment that the club has suffered over the period time that they have been mismanaged is a total unsecured debt of just over £16m. They were relegated, yes, but it was a relegation that, considering the size of the club, may well have happened anyway and the nine point deduction that they incurred for entering into administration didn’t even end up being the deciding factor in their relegation. The consequences of yesterday’s decision don’t just put the past into focus – they affect the future, as well. It has been reported that Balram Chainrai will be given ownership of the club free of charge in return for paying off the amount agreed by the CVA. We shall have to wait and see whether he chooses to take this up and, if he does, whether he will pay off the club’s CVA debt in one go or not, but it would mean that a newly-debt free Portsmouth would not even have their parachute payments from the Premier League affected by their misbehaviour. They would,...

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Portsmouth: All Kinds Of Everything Which Need Investigating

The problem with the media’s attempted coverage of Portsmouth’s saga is that the saga is little to do with Portsmouth, or football, at all. And in newspapers carefully compartmentalised into home, foreign, business and sports news… and celebrity shite, the off-the-field tale of Portsmouth doesn’t belong exclusively within any one compartment. The story is most digestable in the increasingly familiar concept of Premier League overspending – “living the dream”, and so on. “Provincial Portsmouth” made the leap from second-tier stalwarts to two-up against AC Milan…and back again, thanks to huge dollops of money coming in and then running out. We’d seen similar at Leeds and they ended up with Ken Bates, but nobody heeded what was surely the starkest warning modern football could provide. But the story is more than that, more than one story, in fact. There have been three discrete narratives. The funding of the club from 2006 by an unspecified “Mr. A. Gaydamak.” The ludicrous Sulaiman Al-Fahim, about whom, you’ll be glad to hear, I think I’ve written enough (Where is he now? I neither know nor care). And the Israeli businessmen of varying backgrounds and legitimacy who have all been wronged one way or another by Gaydamak (we know which one this time) and have tried to use Portsmouth Football Club to right those wrongs. Much of this has been in the public domain for...

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At The Sharp End… Dispatches From Southend, Cardiff, Watford, Preston & Portsmouth

One of the most useful research tools for football finance writing is the “Football Management” site run by Dr. John Beech of Coventry University. Dr. Beech took ten days off recently, and came back to an in-tray” of HMRC-related football fun which would have blocked out the light from his office windows. Indeed, any hopes that any of us had of football’s financial woes holding themselves in abeyance while the world’s finest – and John Terry – were strutting their South African stuff were short-lived in the extreme. Instead, it’s almost as if certain clubs regarded the World Cup as a time to bury bad news. The worst news has come from Southend-on-Sea where the extent of the football club’s reliance on Sainsbury’s (Sainsbury’s!!) for survival has been laid bare. The local Echo newspaper has over recent months run numerous stories in its sports, business and general news pages about the funding issues surrounding Southend’s stadium project at Fossett’s Farm. Last month, they joined the dots in an impressive resume of the football club bills Sainsbury’s have recently paid, i.e. pretty much all of the major ones. To cut a very long story short, Sainsbury’s could soon be in control of Southend United if Martin puts them any more in hock to “the supermarket giants.” And while they were joining these dots, another two appeared; yet another winding-up petition...

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The Portsmouth CVA Is Proven To Be Completely Above Board

It is a funny election where the returning officer decides who the electorate is. Technically, all administrations throw up this scenario, although it has only seemed important in recent years, purely by chance, at Leeds United in 2007 and Portsmouth almost ever since. But when I saw the “Portsmouth CVA accepted” headlines yesterday, I briefly prayed that I’d be able to read the story beneath without at any stage going “for ****’s sake!” Administrator Andrew Andronikou had said in the strongest possible terms that HMRC would only have 21% of the creditors’ vote and that with only, literally, one or two other small creditors having expressed opposition, he felt sure that the CVA would be supported by the sufficient 75% and a bit more. I ventured into the story on the BBC website and skimmed through the opening paragraph. “Prospects look much brighter” – good – “exit administration this summer” – good…mind you, what bloody summer? Look, it’s raining again, they never forecast that…er…- “needing the support of those owed at least 75%” – yep, so, 79% tops, 75.0001%, oh God, there’ll be an appeal…please be 78 point something, please – Pompey’s proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) got…81.3% of the vote.” “For ****’s sake!” Three days before the vote, Andronikou was telling the world HMRC were 21% of the debt, which he equated to “£20-21m” whenever pressed. All of...

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Andrew Andronikou: Football Club Saviour

A source close to Portsmouth FC’s administration recently described Portsmouth FC’s most public joint-administrator, Andrew Andronikou, as a saviour of Swindon Town, who spent six years of this decade in a financial hole, having their voluntary arrangement with their many creditors supervised by him. The source was, of course, Andrew Andronikou, recently caught on camera signing autographs for Portsmouth fans as if he were one of Pompey’s wildly overpaid players, as opposed to their wildly overpaid administrator. And you would have to search long and hard in Wiltshire for independent evidence of this claim.Describing him as Swindon’s saviour is Stalinist revisionism on a scale not seen since, well, Stalin. True, his role as “supervisor” of the Robins long-term deal to pay their creditors was difficult. And the club was plagued by division and financial irresponsibility. Indeed, he was right to say, in April 2002 that: “Football in this country has neglected too many simple business rules. Players command big money and clubs have paid it in order to chase their dream. It is no co-incidence that so many clubs are in a state.” But the impact of his comments was virtually nil, coming as they did alongside his justification for hyper-inflationary season-ticket price rises – 100% increases in many cases – to help Town’s exit from a then rare second administration spell. His exhortations to fans to deal “with...

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