Tag: Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s Pain In The Neck

Nothing in Adrian Chiles’ BBC career became him like the leaving of it, as Shakespeare might have written of his fellow-midlander if he watched ‘Match of the Day 2’. “This is what modern football has become.” Chiles told his last MOTD2 audience, with all the indignation at his disposal. “An administrator signing autographs. Whatever next?” (ITV in Chiles’ case, of course, as predicted in these pages…oh, come on, I got ONE right). And there, in the “2 Bad” bit of the programme’s closing feature “2 Good 2 Bad” was Andrew Andronikou, joint administrator of Portsmouth Football Club, getting out of a motor vehicle so big he had to jump to the ground, before signing autographs for people whose faces betrayed uncertainty as to he was, other than it couldn’t be David James. They’ll know him soon enough, though. He is only joint-administrator of the curiously named ‘Portsmouth City Football Club Limited’, but his two colleagues (Peter Kubik and Michael Kiely) could go about their business semi-naked, and not necessarily topless, and still not attract a shaft of limelight. Andronikou came to Portsmouth with a good reputation in the ‘football club in administration’ community, after some years as apparent saviour of Swindon Town. However, this news will have sent mouthfuls of tea flying across breakfast tables all over Wiltshire. Andronikou was a largely unpopular figure among Swindon fans who, get...

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Portsmouth’s Debt Up To £119m

The full extent of the financial horror at Portsmouth, then, is starting to become apparent. It is starting to feel as if every time the club’s administrator, Andrew Andronikou, opens or moves anything, there is a red bill hiding underneath, behind or within it. The figures estimated in the media earlier in the season had put the club’s debt at around the £70m mark, which had seemed insane enough for a club heading for relegation from the Premier League and with a 20,000 capacity stadium. The latest figures to be released by Andronikou, however, make the days of Portsmouth’s £70m debt seem like the carefree days of the past. The current debt is now £119m, including £14m in unpaid transfer fees for Jermaine Defoe, Sulley Muntari and Glen Johnson, all three of whom have been sold on to other clubs at a considerable (theoretical) profit. The total amount that Portsmouth have been reported as having received in transfer fees for these players was around £50m. This may seem to be absurd beyond absurd, but it seems as if there is no madness that is too great for this club. £14m is owed to Balram Chainrai, the club’s current owner, though the fact that he is a secured creditor means that he will be likely to be paid in full. The £14m from unpaid transfer fees will also be excluded...

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Portsmouth 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

It’s a question that many supporters of struggling teams have asked themselves over the years. Would you take a cup final appearance and relegation in the same season over years of relentless mediocrity? As a philosophical question, it taps into something fundamental about the psyche of the football supporter – sustainability versus living the dream, the nature of honour and romance set against the reality of the humdrum existence of the football supporter. Portsmouth supporters were prepared for the worst. West Ham United’s 1-0 win against Sunderland the day before had confirmed their relegation from the Premier League and, even though they had been preparing for this inevitability for a few weeks, nothing can fully quite prepare you for relegation. Today, though, wasn’t about the reality of the gruesomeness of their situation. Today was a day for the suspension of reality. It was a day for the sheer, visceral pleasure of the win. It was Portsmouth’s day in the sun, and it couldn’t have come against much better opposition for them. Much was made of the coming together at Wembley Stadium of Harry Redknapp and Portsmouth, but there were many other sub-plots to this story, with the Tottenham Hotspur team that they were facing being, as it was, peppered with players that had played at Portsmouth under Redknapp. Was it time, perhaps, for a little revenge? Again, the Wembley...

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Portsmouth: Rank Bad Management, But By Whom?

It says a lot, and none of it good, about the Premier League that all the right questions about Portsmouth’s situation are being asked by others, from HM Revenue and Customs to Private Eye magazine. It is becoming clearer by the day that Portsmouth Football Club has become a venue for an entirely non-football fight between two groups of business people. None of whom are called Ali Al-Faraj. In a recent Guardian interview, Ahmed Al-Faraj, the “brother” of the man Pompey fans have styled “Al-Mirage,” asked a pertinent question of those who doubted the credibility or very existence of the man who supposedly owned Portsmouth for over four months: “So who signed the documents with the Premier League and all the things with the banks, if he is not the owner?” Ahmed’s comments were part of an effort to show that his “brother” had “full charge” of Portsmouth and took all the executive decisions while he was the owner. It is difficult to see how this could be true. And not just because his “brother” was quoted, three weeks after buying Portsmouth, as saying: “It is not us who makes the decisions, the club has its admin and its board of directors, (so the decisions) are not in our hands.” Mind you, this “interview” was conducted “via telephone on loud-speaker whilst he was present in Ahmed’s car following the...

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Portsmouth’s FA Cup Semi-Final: The Last Days Of Rome?

It is perhaps symptomatic of the times that at least one of this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals has seen the majority of the previews unable to properly be able to focus on the football itself. Given the nature of Harry Redknapp’s departure from Fratton Park and subsequent arrival at White Hart Lane, the match between Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth was always going to be a loaded affair, but the financial shenanigans at Portsmouth this season, the club’s entry into administration and its status as the poster club for financial mismanagement in recent years has meant that the light being shone upon this particular match is harsher than most. Harry Redknapp has been characteristically bullish over press questioning his time in charge at the club. In an interview reported in The Guardian this morning, he made it pretty clear where he feels the responsibility for the club’s current problems lay when he stated that, “The problem was that the owner when I was there, Sacha Gaydamak, suddenly lost interest and stopped putting money in”. It is probably fair to say that, at Portsmouth, the responsibility for the club’s purse strings should have rested with those running the club. However, the list of correlation between Harry Redknapp and subsequent financial crisis remains a damning one. There is a clear line in the sand to draw between managers that frequently...

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