Tag: Portsmouth

Arcady Gaydamak, The Israeli Connection and PFC.

This article first appeared on Pompey online in November 2010. Since then, on 29th April 2011 Le Monde reported that Arcady had been acquitted of all  charges in relation to Angolagate, clearing him of arms trafficking. With it  looking increasingly like he will be proved innocent in the Bank Happoalim affair along with his suing of ex-business partner Lev Leviev over their Angolan diamond interests it would seem Arcady may be recovering his  former influential position. As reported on True Blue Army, Arcady still has tax evasion charges to face but with Gaydamak it is quite clear you never know what might happen next. This writer will watch with interest. I have heard it said in PFC circles that Mr Chainrai and Mr Kushnir have been surprised by the amount of interest the fans take in the business affairs of the club. This says a lot for their understanding of the running of a football club. However, the farcical events of the night of Friday 22 October suggest they have recovered from their surprise. The crass manipulation of fans’ feelings for the club in the melodramatic and premature announcements of immanent liquidation got the desired effect. Fans massed outside Fratton Park to be captured on TV. The story contended with Rooney’s pay all night on the news channels. Sacha Gaydamak was set up, once more, to be the demon king that would ruin PFC. We all...

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Custodians, Fans And Ownership: From Arsenal To Wrexham

The Arsenal take-over looks like being a long way from the toxic take-overs of The Glazers and Gillett & Hicks. But, as SJ Maskell writes, custodianship is about doing more than saying and doing the right things and the real power in the game lies in the majority ownership of shares. I have a friend who is an Arsenal Fan. He is also an Arsenal shareholder. Not as a member of the Arsenal Trust or of the Fanshare Scheme but in his own right. I move in elevated circles, as you can see. The history of these particular shares is interesting. It is well known that in 1913 Sir Henry Norris moved Arsenal to Highbury in a bold move to rescue a club that was struggling financially. During the close season the pitch, terraces and turnstiles were built and the grandstand started. Sir Henry raised what was then a vast sum, £125,000, to build the ground. What doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in the history of Arsenal online is that extra money was raised by supporters ‘chucking money into a hat in return for shares,’ as my friend puts it. Five shares for £5 was the deal. My friend’s grandfather donated his £5 to help the club. The share issue was seen as largely irrelevant at the time – a curio which allowed you to have tea and biscuits...

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Business, Ethics And Abusive Owners

We are blessed to have been contacted by some terrific writers over the last few weeks, and here’s another of them. Please give a warm welcome to S J Maskell, who can only liken the relationship between football clubs and supporters these days as being akin to an abusive relationship. It has long been my feeling that it is odd how football fans pay to be part of an experience that they are largely responsible for creating for themselves. A unique, communal experience that keeps them returning for more, no matter how much it costs; financially, socially, physically or even psychologically. It is created in the relationship between the fans and what happens on the pitch. It is visceral and reliant on a multiplicity of variables of action and reaction in both directions. As a Portsmouth fan (let’s get that confession out of the way quickly), part of that tremendous Wembley crowd twice last season, I know the addiction and the effect it can have on you in your desire to recreate that collective high. I am a Pompey fan and can’t walk away, no matter how abusive the relationship, because the good times are impossible to give up. Believe me, though, the relationship has become abusive. How has that happened? How has it come to the point where many of my fellow fans are considering walking away from...

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2010: A Football Financial Review

You could frame it. If you wanted a short, pithy representation of all that has been wrong with football finance in 2010, you could do no better than quote a Plymouth Argyle fan known as “Sensible Surfer” on the BBC Football website over the Christmas period. “Ridsdale set to take control… good news,” he/she said, a phrase which would sit nicely as an explanation of irony…except that it didn’t appear to BE irony. And it served as fair comment on Argyle’s current state that, relatively, Peter Ridsdale – the failed former Leeds and Cardiff chairman and serial over-borrower – IS good news for the cash and panic-stricken South Westerners, with the heaviest possible emphasis on the word ‘relatively.’ If professional football entered 2010 in a state of moral and financial bankruptcy, it is leaving it in much the same manner. Certain football problems have been “solved.” Some more have emerged. While others, hello Portsmouth, look set to run forever. The “greater fool” theory still underpins much of the game’s financial strategies. The theory is about as scientific as it sounds – buying something in the belief that you will be able to sell it again for a higher price (to a “greater fool”), regardless of what has happened in the meantime (increased debts, usually), or even whether the original price was rooted in reality. Finding a “greater fool” is...

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Portsmouth. Al-Faraj: Urban Spaceman Or Hidden Osmond Brother?

Wahey! I sort of got one right. At least the Spectator Business magazine sort of thinks so. Or at least Martin Lipton in the Daily Mirror sort of thinks so. From where I live on the very tip of South-West Greater London, the Spectator Business magazine has been about as elusive as…well…Ali Al-Faraj, so I’ve only just finished reading and inwardly digesting the, eek, eight-page feature on The disembowelling of Portsmouth Football Club and the “strange case of Ali Al Faraj.” When I said a year ago that I thought Al-Faraj belonged in the same column as the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band’s famous “urban spaceman” (“…and here’s the twist… I-I don’t exist…”) I genuinely thought we were in “Fake Sheikh” territory and that the News of the World expose of the Premier League’s “fit and proper persons test” was just a weekend away. I was wrong. And in being wrong, I was giving too much credit to the press in this country. That was credit which remains unwarranted, if the reaction to the Spectator Business investigation is a guide. Take up of the story by the national press has been limited in the extreme. The Mirror got there first. It was a diary story for the ever-popular Charles Sale in the Mail – suggesting out-and-out fraud was to blame, rather than Premier League doziness. And Jim White in the...

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