Trouble ahead at Portsmouth?

Posted by on Jan 2, 2011 in Uncategorized | 26 Comments

The mainstream press have been rather subdued on the subject of Portsmouth City Football Club Limited in recent months. Following Balram Chainrai’s takeover on October 25, attention has mainly been devoted to on pitch matters. But with Pompey on the end of a good old fashioned hiding at Vicarage Road yesterday, events on the touchline and beyond have become increasingly arcane in recent days.

Portsmouth started yesterday’s encounter with a sub’s bench totalling just four individuals. With the smallest squad in all four divisions, sympathy has been extended from elsewhere and the Fourth Estate have been nothing but supportive: the sight of four musketeers – messrs Kitson, Brown, Hughes and Lawrence as the Sky Sports camera panned in was surreal indeed.

Dave Kitson is serving a suspension and the paperwork to confirm Liam Lawrence’s move from Stoke wasn’t quite signed in time, but explanations for Michael Brown and Richard Hughes’ absences from the fray have been less evident. Certainly these two gentlemen are among Pompey’s prized assets and moves away from Fratton Park seem likely for the duo, with Brown linked strongly to Wolves; and hence, the score of current Pompeians could be depleted by two. In addition to this, manager Steve Cotterill admitted to local paper The News that a further un-named player was ruled out of the Watford trip for unspecified reasons.

But even if Tommy Smith and Tal Ben Haim have been linked with returns from their own temporary homes, Cotterill’s decision to publicly declare the lack of fitness for battle of a couple of his younger stars is baffling, not to mention evidence of a disrespect for clean laundry. For most casual observers, taking seriously Portsmouth’s complaints of understaffing is impossible given the extraordinary depth of a squad with a bizarre patina of international class lent to it by Nwankwo Kanu, Ricardo Rocha and John Utaka.

Even the Sky commentators emphasized how generous Millwall have been in deferring a payment of £50,000 due once Tom Kilbey has made an appearance, which he duly did on emerging from the bench yesterday and one also wonders about the terms of the deals that have led Kitson, Lawrence, Carl Dickinson, Greg Halford and Ibrahima Sonko to Hampshire this past Autumn. If opposing fans who are dubious that Pompey should be allowed to assemble such an array of talent should bear in mind that the exact terms of loan deals and which club is paying which percentage of a player’s wages are rarely made public these days; it’s nonetheless unfeasible that Stoke and Wolves are letting Portsmouth have these players for free.

If the above hints that Portsmouth are cash strapped indeed, and before you cry “what’s new?”, let’s remember that the business came out of administration when Chainrai took over. The number of champagne corks popped was perhaps less than those that greeted Milan Mandarić’s arrival at Sheffield Wednesday, but the phrase “out of the woods” was frequently repeated nonetheless.

But have Pompey truly exited the financial forest? With the slightly Eighties title of PFC Realisations, the business that is currently registered to the Football League is owned by Sports Holdings (Asia) Ltd. which is in turn under the aegis of Horizon Eclipse Inc. This latter group is owned by Chainrai in conjunction with his consortium partners Levi Kushnir and his brother Deepak. All financial deals are subject to the approval of the league, Portsmouth must submit monthly financial reports and former owner Alexandre Gaydamak is to be refunded £2.2 million pounds owed to him in installments over the next half decade.

But within three days of the acquisition, Chainrai admitted that he was putting the club back on the market; ‘We’re stable, but I’m not the right man for this club long-term, the right owner’s out there and we’ll find them’ – he claimed.

This is hardly sugar daddy stuff and ever since, the suspicion that the two Chainrais and Kushnir have a lot less money than was hoped – or don’t particularly want to use it – has been strong. Two Hundred Percent has been admirable in attempting to shed light on the situation with little in the way of firm answers. Unanswered questions highlighted by Mark Murphy revolve around Chainrai’s involvement in a previous takeover in 2009, the perhaps misplaced confidence shown in him by administrator Andrew Andronikou, the Kong Kong-based businessman’s description of himself as an ‘accidental’ owner, the deployment of Sheffield United’s least favourite man Kia Joorabchian as an adviser (this must be catching given Plymouth’s recent hiring of Peter Ridsdale) and a £17 million loan to a previous owner, Ali al-Faraj who some have even gone so far to suggest may be a fictional character (without evidence, it must be said).

Steve Cotterill claimed to have scheduled a phone call with Chainrai to discuss transfer policy on December 29 but admitted that the conversation did not in the end take place. Confirmation that Lawrence has now completed his move to Fratton suggests that the pair have now spoken, although this has not been confirmed; but it seems Chainrai has far from rescinded his wish to sell the club on. Indeed, he has reportedly admitted to having to borrow money from elsewhere to maintain his investment.

Former Hull City owner Paul Duffen is rumoured to be waiting in the wings to take over and 22 year old entrepreneur Tom Lever is another who has shown interest (Aldershot fans with long memories of a lad called Spencer Trethewy will shudder). A recent year end editorial on football finance on Two Hundred Percent coined a term labelled the “the greater fool” theory to describe the practice of buying something in order to sell it on at a higher price, provided one can find someone foolish enough to bite your hand off. Tom Hicks and George Gillett didn’t manage it – despite the interest of Duffen and Lever, I wouldn’t put money on Chainrai’s chances either.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham (pen name: Lanterne Rouge) is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 47 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Football Attic, The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.

24 Comments

  1. Stanley
    January 2, 2011

    I am pretty sure that I heard mentioned on Sky that, under the terms of their contracts, Brown and Hughes are entitled to a wage increase once they complete a certain number of appearances. Which, at the time, no doubt appeared a terribly clever way to ensure long service from the club's employees. The Kilbey deferral isn't so much motivated by generosity, rather the fact that we're unlikely to see the money for a while, either way.

    It's quite clear that Pompey are still living beyond their means, despite all that has happened in the last year. With another 'rationalisation' surely only months away, potential investors would have to be completely mad, let alone foolish, to get involved.

    Reply
  2. Lanterne Rouge
    January 2, 2011

    Thanks for the clarification on the Brown and Hughes contracts although I'm guessing Brown's move to Wolves is still a possibility. Hughes would also be a good acquisition for a Premier League club.

    Much sympathy for long suffering Pompey fans of course and I understand Lawrence has been magnificent for them this season so that does provide hope.

    Reply
  3. unitedite
    January 2, 2011

    A very interesting read. The point about Millwall not chasing £50k is interesting not least for the fuss made by Portsmouth when chasing payment from Genoa for Boateng. As a Blades fan the involvement of Kia Joorabchian always raises an eyebrow.

    But as a fan of a fellow Championship club, I am particularly interested in the nature of the loan agreements that Pompey have negotiated for certain Premiership players.

    You only have to look at the Bellamy/Cardiff City deal to see the undue influence wealthy Premiership teams with too many players can have on the Championship. Let's be honest Bellamy should not be playing Championship football, whatever his hometown allegiance.

    I accept Sonko, Halford et al are not of the same level, however their wages relative to Championship averages will still be substantial. Like you say the nature of these deals will never be made public, unless financial disaster strikes again, however it would be interesting to know who strikes what kind of deals with whom.

    Reply
  4. Lanterne Rouge
    January 2, 2011

    I think ever since it was revealed that Robbie Fowler still received a very large portion of his wages from Leeds United despite leaving for Manchester City, it's been clear that it's up to clubs themselves to decide on the terms of a deal. One therefore wonders how cheaply Preston were getting the Man United loanees like Ritchie de Laet until last week? Presumably very cheaply indeed given the personal connections.

    Hull fan Andy Medcalf revealed to me this evening that Hull were paying Sonko wages of 30k a week when he was on loan at the KC Stadium from Stoke. That was in the Premier League so Pompey won't be forking out that kind of money, but it does show that Tony Pulis is no pushover.

    Reply
  5. Stanley
    January 3, 2011

    It has been widely reported that Pompey are paying five-figure weekly sums to Lawrence and Kitson. Sonko, Halford, et al can't be that far behind them, either. (Judging by a recent post from the Swiss Rambler on Stoke's finances, the Potters aren't in a position to give players away for nothing.) That's on top of the eye-watering figures reported to be entering the bank accounts of Nugent, Utaka, Kanu…

    All of which makes Cotterill's continued bleating about having a small squad infuriating. The silly money being spent on PL loanees might stretch a bit further if the owners weren't taking an almighty gamble on instant promotion. Lawrence, in particular, has been a joy to watch this season, but I'd prefer it if he played for a club that could afford him and the money was instead spent on paying in full the charities and local businesses begging outside Fratton Park.

    (LR: on the PNE situation, I've thrown my two penn'orth in under the 'Total Recall' post.)

    Reply
  6. Ian
    January 3, 2011

    Portsmouth have the third highest wage bill in the League. This season they have brought in players, like Lawrence and Kitson on wages of £20,000 per week. Most other clubs just cannot afford to compete with them. This, after they lived way above their means, using borrowed money to buy their way to 2 FA Cup Finals and a UEFA Cup place. They then went into administration and wrote off their massive tax debts and the millions owed to hundreds of small businesses, and even to other football clubs. It looks like they're at it again, and the authorities seem to be encouraging them to do it, so I guess many other clubs will start to follow their example, making the game even more corrupt and rotten.

    Reply
  7. pompeyken
    January 3, 2011

    Maybe Stanley should get his facts right before gobbing off on here. The reason we have the smallest squad in the whole football league is that owing to being saddled with premier league wages (because our previous CEO was useless)Means we have to spread the allowed wage bill from the League among fewer players. Our monthly accounts are being closely monitored by the League and all of the charities have now been paid in full plus interest. So maybe it would be better if you worried about your own club who am sure are squeeky clean and kept your nose out of what doesn't concern you.

    Reply
  8. pompeyken
    January 3, 2011

    FFS
    Another expert on Pompey
    Ian So we bought the FA Cup did we?? And what do think Chelsea .Man Utd and all the other rotton Prem League top clubs do?? The only difference is that our rich owner decided to walk away. so tell me which one of them would not be in the same situation if it happened to them?? Also where do you get the idea we have payed off all the debts we have a CVA in process which will take years and millions of pounds to pay off. The money we owe to other clubs is totally covered by the parachute payments and will be payed direct by the premier league to all football creditors. The Tax bill would have been payed but for the ridiculous ruling that says football creditors have to be paid first(Bye the way we didn't make that rule)So maybe you are another one who should check your facts before you come on here slagging off other clubs.

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  9. pompeyken
    January 3, 2011

    i await your replies with baited breath

    Reply
  10. Lanterne Rouge
    January 3, 2011

    I think we'd all concede that Pompeyken makes some good points as there's little doubt that few clubs are squeaky clean (even Burnley, often held up as a paragon, were exposed by Two Hundred Percent last year as being totally reliant on winning that game against Sheffield United in the play off final – had they not, they would have been in deep trouble).

    He's also dead right about Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpol, all of whom have used debt to finance success. Who hasn't.

    And yes, the rule that football creditors have to be paid first is ridiculous and is no fault of Pompey's.

    Reply
  11. Stanley
    January 3, 2011

    I have no beef with Pompey fans (or any other) in particular. Portsmouth are just one of many clubs who rose on a pile of IOUs. The current owners are saddled (to use your words, pompeyken) with substantial wages for players who weren't deserving – the blame lies with Storrie, Redknapp, et al, yes. But it is the current owners' responsibility to clear up the mess and ensure that the club survives this testing period. In my opinion, the owners are instead prioritizing the notion of making a fast buck over the long-term stability of the club and its relations with the community and the game. I'm quite happy to revise my opinions if others provide evidence that contradicts them.

    As a point of interest, what's your view on the policy of adding players to the squad at PL-level remuneration (Lawrence, Kitson, Sonko, Halford…)? Even with the low numbers, the quality of the existing players would surely be enough to maintain Championship football. Would it not be wiser to lower the sights for a while and bring on some of the promising kids like Matt Ritchie? Or sign up some talent from the divisions below?

    (As for “keeping my nose out of what doesn't concern me”, that attitude has led football to this sorry state. There is no targeting of particular clubs fans involved in TTU. We're concerned about the state of the game in general. I see it as my responsibility as a fan to scrutinize my own club. And, as one that has suffered admin and been perilously close to it in recent times, it's far from squeaky clean. But, I like to look beyond the end of my not-inconsiderable nose every once in a while. Pompey are one of many suffering at the moment, and we've covered the others as well – Crystal Palace, Plymouth, Sheff Wed, etc. – and will continue to do so.)

    Reply
  12. Ben
    January 4, 2011

    If Pompey's problem is that they've been “saddled” with substandard players on PL wages, then why compound it by bringing in Kitson and Lawrence on comparable salaries?! If you choose to do that, and thereby have to spread your permitted wage bill among fewer players as a result, then there surely can't be any complaints about a small squad (unless, of course, the decisions to sign Lawrence, Kitson et al have been taken by the owners and not Cotterill, in which case he's justified in complaining if he'd have preferred quantity rather than quality). It strikes me as a case of having made one's bed and now having to lie in it.

    Stanley's right – Pompey had enough decent players already to stay up, and could have taken the chance to blood some youngsters instead at a level at which they won't be so exposed if they make mistakes and will have more time/space to develop. A missed opportunity.

    Where I do have to take issue with Stanley, though, is with the idea that Harry Redknapp was responsible for Pompey's plight (apologies if I've bleated on about this here before). If Redknapp knows that (say) Jermain Defoe will improve the squad and is told by his board that the club can afford his transfer fee and salary, then surely he's perfectly justified in going out and buying him? The financial side of things is solely the board's responsibility – it was down to them whether transfers were sanctioned. Redknapp's concern is the improvement of the playing squad so as to challenge for silverware, and no one could deny that the players he brought in fitted the bill (Defoe, Crouch, Johnson, Campbell, Kranjcar etc) – it's not as though he recklessly squandered money the club didn't have on players who weren't worth it.

    Finally, to echo Stanley, this isn't some sort of vendetta against Pompey. I know a few fans and am obviously well aware that the club's predicament is nothing to do with them, and also know, as a Newcastle fan, how it can sometimes feel when (seemingly) the whole world is queueing up to have a good jibe/laugh. My gripe is with the club itself and its owners past and present – though of course I'd be critical of any other club living so brazenly beyond its means and thereby gaining significant advantage. You'd be hard-pushed to find a squeaky-clean club anywhere, and certainly we've been vocal in our criticism of our own esteemed owner and chief executive on Black & White & Read All Over…

    Reply
  13. Ben
    January 4, 2011 Reply
  14. gerschenkron
    January 4, 2011

    Poor Harry Redknapp, it's not his fault if all of the clubs he's managed over the years have ended up in (or near) administration…

    As for Pompeyken? The sensible points you make are out-weighed by comparing Portsmouth with the likes of Man United (who have decades of success and a huge fanbase and merchandizing operation) – you suggest they'd be in trouble if their “rich owners decided to walk away”, FFS indeed – have you taken the trouble to look at who owns them? They used to be one of the world's few successful profitable clubs until these guys moved in.

    Reply
  15. Ben
    January 4, 2011

    Coincidence, gerschenkron? Guessing you feel otherwise, but I don't see how anyone can argue (a) that Redknapp should be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of a club's finances and therefore should not have trusted his board when they gave him the green light and (b) that he didn't improve Pompey's playing squad immeasurably with the players he brought in. Of course I'm sure he put pressure on the board to make the signings, but if they really weren't deals the club could afford to make (and history's proved they clearly weren't) then it was the board's responsibility to stand firm and rebuff the request.

    I'm no fan of 'Appy 'Arry, by the way (not least because of his habit of chuntering on about other club's players) – just feel that the finger of blame for Pompey's predicament should very definitely point elsewhere.

    Reply
  16. Stanley
    January 4, 2011

    Ben, I do feel that a manager should have concern for his employer's finances. Of course, if 'Arry was given assurances that `top, top players' were affordable, then there's nothing to stop him offering them the moon on a stick to sign. But, on the other hand, perhaps the board were worried about losing him to another club if they didn't agree to his demands? (Not like he has form for doing precisely that.) In my view, Redknapp is part of the problem because he's the Viv Nicholson of English football: his answer to every problem is to spend, spend, spend. That's why Pompey have ended up with players not good enough for the PL earning astounding sums of money. Clearly Gaydamak and Storrie carry the greater blame, but 'Arry can't be absolved of responsibility either.

    Reply
  17. Ben
    January 4, 2011

    Off the top of my head, and John Utaka aside, maybe, I can't think of any of 'Arry's signings that weren't good enough for the PL – all the duff ones seem to have been brought in since he left. And of course Redknapp should have been concerned for the state of the finances and could be criticised if he did indeed issue ultimatums about signings and transfer budgets to the board – but I still maintain that ultimately the board is culpable for caving in to those demands. I'd presume most if not all managers regularly pester their boards/chairmen/owners for cash – few give in so easily and recklessly as they did at Pompey.

    Reply
  18. Stanley
    January 5, 2011

    I'd put David Nugent on that list. Admittedly, he was behind Defoe and Crouch for a while, but 'Arry pushed the boat out to get him. As good as he has been in the Championship this season, I wouldn't say that he has justified his reputedly hefty wages while in a Pompey shirt.

    I agree on the recklessness of the board, though. They were the ones who sanctioned extravagant wages for those players, and are responsible for the currents ills of the club. The first duty of the board should be to the long-term health of their club. That duty was clearly disregarded in Pompey's case.

    Reply
  19. bhappy
    January 5, 2011

    Ben, does it not strike you as odd that Redknapp signs so many players from his old clubs? I don't doubt that he takes a very close interest in his club's finances.

    And did I hear correctly that Avram Grant wants to sign Liam Lawrence for West Ham for £4m, a day after he signs for Pompey? The place still stinks to high heaven.

    Reply
  20. Ben
    January 5, 2011

    Stanley: I'd argue that Nugent looked like a good signing at the time but just hasn't worked out that way. 'The first duty of the board should be to the long-term health of their club. That duty was clearly disregarded in Pompey's case.' Amen to that.

    bhappy: Yes, the number of signings is a little suspicious, agreed – though plenty of managers raid their former clubs for players. The familiarity of knowing who they'd be working with must often be attractive and reassuring to both parties (see, for instance, Matty Fryatt's recent comments on hooking up with Nigel Pearson at Hull) – though of course that's not to say the deals themselves are all squeaky-clean and above board.

    Reply
  21. Leon Tricker
    January 7, 2011 Reply
  22. Leon Tricker
    January 7, 2011

    As a Portsmouth fan who is very much ‘Love Pompey; Hate PFC’ I’d like to give my view on the points raised in this article and the comments above. Anyone who’s read my articles for When Saturday Comes on Pompey won’t be surprised at where I’m coming from on this…

    Regarding the original article…

    The mainstream press has indeed been rather quiet on PFC since Chainrai’s (second) takeover. Mores the pity. I and many other Pompey fans wish someone influential within the media would do a proper investigation on events at Fratton Park, because clearly the League aren’t interested in doing this.

    While we desperately need bodies, I wouldn’t call Hughes or Brown ‘prized assets’. They’re both the wrong side of 30, and very much average Championship players at best. I’d like them both to stay because they can ‘do a job’ for us, but I’d like them off the wage bill more. Hughes has allegedly offered to take a 50% pay cut to ensure he can keep playing, but the club allegedly have rejected this offer. It’s hard to have an opinion on whether the club is right because I don’t know how much Hughes is currently on. But given when he joined Pompey it’s likely to be in excess of £20K a week and he isn’t worth more than £5K in my view.

    (As an aside, he may be a Pompey player but I dislike Michael Brown in a way that is usually reserved only for El Hadji Diouf.)

    As for Tommy Smith an Ben Haim returning to Pompey… Smith has now signed for QPR, and Ben Haim should stay at West Ham or be sold ASAP just to get him off the wage bill. Again, I know we need bodies, but we should be dropping average players on Premier League wages as a priority. We should have to play with no subs if need be.

    I disagree that there is any depth to our squad. Just look at the numbers. But I agree that the club’s decision to sell young players is taking the piss big time. But let’s not forget that we’ve got form in this area – at the start of the season we released reserve team players and then invoked the ‘20 man squad’ rules to get around the transfer embargo. But what hope is there when the League itself let this practice go unchecked?

    As for the ‘international class’ of Kanu, Rocha, and Utaka… is your cheek going numb from the force of the tongue up against it?! Kanu is still a good player in my view. He really is worth watching ‘live’. But we’ve just given him a three year deal which is crazy, unless he’s on minimal wages and is going to take on a coaching role or something. But again it’s hard to have a proper opinion without knowing the terms of the contract. Rocha is also a good player, but not international class. Utaka is just a joke and has been totally found out this year as the fraudster he is.

    Re. the loans of Kilbey, Sonko, Dickenson, and Halford… as you say, no one knows the terms of the loan deals so who knows how much or how little we are paying them. There is a bigger picture here – the loan system in general needs reform, but this is yet another issue the FA is seemingly unwilling to address. Anyway… Sonko and Dickenson have been liabilities frankly, so fellow Championship clubs shouldn’t feel too envious. My favourite Sonko moment thus far is when he went and celebrated with his ex-Reading fans and colleagues when they got a late equaliser at Fratton Park in August…

    Re. the financial situation at PFC, the answer is no, we haven’t come anywhere near to exiting the financial forest. As you rightly say, any financial deal is subject to League approval. The signings of Kitson and Lawrence, and the wages of Nugent etc, were all accounted for in the business plan that was approved by the League. However, I wouldn’t be confident that the league gave this plan much scrutiny, because they seem so disinterested in really helping clubs learn lessons.

    Reply
  23. Leon Tricker
    January 7, 2011

    As a Portsmouth fan who is very much ‘Love Pompey; Hate PFC’ I’d like to give my view on the points raised in this article and the comments above. Anyone who’s read my articles for When Saturday Comes on Pompey won’t be surprised at where I’m coming from on this…

    Regarding the original article…

    The mainstream press has indeed been rather quiet on PFC since Chainrai’s (second) takeover. Mores the pity. I and many other Pompey fans wish someone influential within the media would do a proper investigation on events at Fratton Park, because clearly the League aren’t interested in doing this.

    While we desperately need bodies, I wouldn’t call Hughes or Brown ‘prized assets’. They’re both the wrong side of 30, and very much average Championship players at best. I’d like them both to stay because they can ‘do a job’ for us, but I’d like them off the wage bill more. Hughes has allegedly offered to take a 50% pay cut to ensure he can keep playing, but the club allegedly have rejected this offer. It’s hard to have an opinion on whether the club is right because I don’t know how much Hughes is currently on. But given when he joined Pompey it’s likely to be in excess of £20K a week and he isn’t worth more than £5K in my view.

    (As an aside, he may be a Pompey player but I dislike Michael Brown in a way that is usually reserved only for El Hadji Diouf.)

    As for Tommy Smith an Ben Haim returning to Pompey… Smith has now signed for QPR, and Ben Haim should stay at West Ham or be sold ASAP just to get him off the wage bill. Again, I know we need bodies, but we should be dropping average players on Premier League wages as a priority. We should have to play with no subs if need be.

    I disagree that there is any depth to our squad. Just look at the numbers. But I agree that the club’s decision to sell young players is taking the piss big time. But let’s not forget that we’ve got form in this area – at the start of the season we released reserve team players and then invoked the ‘20 man squad’ rules to get around the transfer embargo. But what hope is there when the League itself let this practice go unchecked?

    As for the ‘international class’ of Kanu, Rocha, and Utaka… is your cheek going numb from the force of the tongue up against it?! Kanu is still a good player in my view. He really is worth watching ‘live’. But we’ve just given him a three year deal which is crazy, unless he’s on minimal wages and is going to take on a coaching role or something. But again it’s hard to have a proper opinion without knowing the terms of the contract. Rocha is also a good player, but not international class. Utaka is just a joke and has been totally found out this year as the fraudster he is.

    Re. the loans of Kilbey, Sonko, Dickenson, and Halford… as you say, no one knows the terms of the loan deals so who knows how much or how little we are paying them. There is a bigger picture here – the loan system in general needs reform, but this is yet another issue the FA is seemingly unwilling to address. Anyway… Sonko and Dickenson have been liabilities frankly, so fellow Championship clubs shouldn’t feel too envious. My favourite Sonko moment thus far is when he went and celebrated with his ex-Reading fans and colleagues when they got a late equaliser at Fratton Park in August…

    Re. the financial situation at PFC, the answer is no, we haven’t come anywhere near to exiting the financial forest. As you rightly say, any financial deal is subject to League approval. The signings of Kitson and Lawrence, and the wages of Nugent etc, were all accounted for in the business plan that was approved by the League. However, I wouldn’t be confident that the league gave this plan much scrutiny, because they seem so disinterested in really helping clubs learn lessons.

    Reply
  24. Lanterne Rouge
    February 4, 2011

    Leon – very sorry – for some reason your excellent comment was spammed out for some reason – many apologies as I only just noticed.

    Reply

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