TTU Season Preview 2012-13: Pompey’s Irresponsibility Continues Apace

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Uncategorized | 45 Comments
TTU Season Preview 2012-13: Pompey’s Irresponsibility Continues Apace
Image available under Creative Commons © beefy_n1

There’s this bloke closely associated with Portsmouth Football Club. You all know him — obese, uncouth, dreadlocked, tattooed and clanging a huge bell as though his life depended on it. While his commitment to the club is laudable, even honourable on a good day, he is incredibly, unutterably insufferable. Seemingly almost hell bent on ruining the match day experience of visiting fans while lapping up his own self-importance and pouting into any camera within 20 yards.

I’d never really viewed him as a symbol of the club as such, more an irritating anomaly, the type of fetid ‘colour’ that will always play well on TV to lowest common denominator audiences whilst irking the silent majority — an ‘England Band’ for the Portsmouth Peninsula.

But this week his attitude to life seems almost endemic of events at his club — larger than life, still there and not exactly shy about the fact.

I’ll spare you the detail, you know — Portsmouth are, or were, up Proverbial Creek without Tim Brabants after a catalogue of desperate ownership wrangles and a charge sheet of financial profligacy to make Allen Stanford wince.

This time last month their fans were reduced to pleading with Greg Halford and Dave Kitson to cut and run in order to save the club and one couldn’t help but feel for them.

The story was similar as a team of kids was soundly beaten in the club’s first fixture in the Capital One Cup by Plymouth earlier this week. The opposition fans, no strangers to the wiles of financial penury, went so far as shaking buckets to lend a hand — together in football.

The first cracks in the artifice appeared, though, as club manager Michael Appleton began to bemoan the slashing of his putative playing budget from £4.5m to £1.5m. A huge cut, but one to bring them in line with League 1 salary structures and surely entirely understandable in their current predicament. As a fan of a fellow League 1 club I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow.

Alongside this was suggestion that Portsmouth City Council had pledged to back a supporters group to the tune of £1.5m — a welcome fillip but endemic of the dire straits befalling the club, its fans and the community.

All this was spun on its head yesterday afternoon as Portsmouth announced the signing of ten new players. One can’t claim they weren’t necessary, and indeed many of them have spent the summer with the club to see whether the clouds blew over.

Notwithstanding that fact the list of names was rather impressive — Brian Howard, Izale McLeod and Mustapha Dumbuya are all players who would waltz into the first eleven of most League 1 teams. Howard the star of Barnsley’s infamous noughties cup run and McLeod having moved for fees well over £1million in a stuttering career.

But the real shock was the name of Lee Williamson, most recently of Sheffield United. Williamson was one of the players offered significantly reduced terms as part of a book balancing process at Bramall Lane — as part of their efforts to live with League 1. Suggestions in Sheffield are that the figure he turned down was anything between £3-5,000 per week. He chose to chance his arm for a better deal or football at a higher level.

Well, he certainly hasn’t got the latter. And whilst it’d be unwise to surmise he’ll get the former as a makeweight it’s an easy conclusion to reach.

Even if Pompey are planning to pay Williamson a wage equivalent to that offered by Danny Wilson (and I doubt Howard and McLeod are playing for peanuts either) it still feels like a giant nose thumbing at those who poured out their pity over the saga of Tal Ben Haim’s £36,000 a week pay check or who rattled buckets on their behalf.

£3,000 a week may be much less than £36,000 but at League 1 level is not an average wage. And even if it does end up being only for a month it still feels like Portsmouth Football Club are being given an opportunity to start with a clean slate they barely deserve.

There followed a quite extraordinary play by the club’s administrator, PKF’s Trevor Birch, to get Portsmouth’s 10 point administration penalty for the coming season overturned despite only vague assurances for the club’s future and this being contingent on the goodwill of fans and the local authority.

If signing top quality League 1 players was nose thumbing, this was arse bareing tomfoolery from someone who should know better.

The disgrace here isn’t the making of Portsmouth fans, but of football governance — the fact that it repeatedly allows the ‘bitten’ to play ‘shy’.

Only they aren’t even heeding that principle.

A little aggrieved at the circumstances I aired my own views on Twitter. What followed gave me a taste of how it must feel for football journos who dare to step off the fence on a given issue or columnists who choose to present a partisan or personal opinion on a contentious topic.

I was called, amongst other things, ill-informed, an ignorant shit, a fuckwit, a cunt, a twat, a jealous fan of a tinpot club. Others poured scorn, hoping my own club would go out of business and some just found the whole situation hilarious.

A small minority attempted to engage constructively but even they gave away extraordinary information — that Pompey are sitting on a £3million treasure trove to pay these players for instance.

How on Earth is it the case that a club can back out of commitments to local charities and businesses but retain such an astronomical sum to pay bloody footballers?

I can’t blame Portsmouth fans for citing this fact but their inability to grasp the desperate irony of the situation showed the blinkered nature of football fandom in all its glory.

The over-riding reaction though was to scoff and suggest I ‘(had) no idea what I was talking about’. But, having been caught in an ‘all mouth, no trousers’ situation far too many times in my life I choose my battles wisely…

Firstly, I spent six months of a legal training contract working on insolvency issues. I know the difference between a CVA and liquidation, so saying ‘yeah but there’s a CVA and there’s cash’ doesn’t really work.

But more pertinently as a Carlisle fan, I’ve been there — owner tries to sell club to penniless curry house barman, then a Gibraltar based investment vehicle which is eventually traced back to him, finally is rumbled for fraudulent accounting and disqualified as a director leaving the club potless and almost asset free before selling his story about alien abduction to the Sun.

Doesn’t sound too dissimilar to Portsmouth, does it?

The difference, though, is that Carlisle United paid all creditors in full — none of the infamous ‘1p in the £1’ statements so linked to Ken Bates and co. And the club lived within its means. To see our team in the post ’02 apocalypse was to see a rag bag of talentless try hards and thoroughbreds now only fit for the knackers yard. The same, coincidentally, is true of Portsmouth’s weekend opponents at Plymouth right now.

Only this summer Carlisle were forced to make several redundancies, including a good friend of mine. The reason? They needed to cut their cloth accordingly to meet standards set by the new FA Elite Player Performance Plan and employment of a full time coach and physio meant that media, stewarding, office and fitness staff paid the price.

And, as I laboured to my quarry, the Football League’s new salary cap rules were designed by — you guessed it — the Chief Executive of Carlisle United, FL board member John Nixon.

I’d say we know a fair bit about financial prudence in Cumbria.

All of which makes me feel well placed to pass a comment on how these things work or to ask questions about the moral and ethical dubiousness of similar situations.

By the time I placed my phone down for the evening the sniping continued but subsided amongst placatory statement and the odd apology — but the overriding sentiment had changed somewhat.

Now, Portsmouth should be allowed to sign these players because what happened to them ‘wasn’t fair’. Or, to quote the unbeatable epithet penned to a friend, ‘the FA had a duty to allow PFC to be competitive’.

From what happened yesterday, I can’t help wondering if someone on Wembley Way thinks that may be true.

But the over-riding sentiment of this whole sorry affair, of Portsmouth’s manoeuvres in this malignant pond, was that most of their fans didn’t care about the big picture; that the outcome didn’t, couldn’t ever, justify its means.

They were still there, bold as brass, clanging that fucking bell in the face of anyone who came near, entirely unawares of just how much, or even why, that makes everybody so damn angry.

John McGee
thinks about Carlisle United all the time. His stock in trade is viewing the world of football in embittered fashion with a Cumbrian bias. Seldom does he fail to invalidate an opinion by slipping into lamp-jawed gobshitery. Like any sane man, he prefers his defensive midfielders to read the play and only ever pass sideways.


  1. John Rogers
    August 17, 2012

    Brilliant piece and one which sums up the increasing void between professional football and reality perfectly. I’ve resolved to give up watching or reading 95% of things to do with pro football because the warped moral maze that is football genuinely depresses me.

  2. Wes Tender
    August 17, 2012

    A quite superb article, well written and straight to the point. Don’t pay any heed to those from the PO postcode area, as most of them don’t know the meaning of words such as ethicality or morality. There is the outward appearance that they might be getting away with it yet again, but there is no way that they will avoid the biggest crash and burn in English Football history. They are just re-organising the deckchairs on the Titanic. By far the best outcome for everybody concerned is that they are liquidated and start again at the very bottom, to serve as a lesson for every other club that they should live within their means.

  3. JCL
    August 17, 2012

    Oh dear – the toys are out of the pram again. Lets give some context shall we rather than speculate from ignorance.

    First, the players are on a month’s contract. No long term commitments on either side.

    Second, the administrator has in excess of £6m in the current account – these players are being paid out of cash the club has.

    Third, the wage bill that the club and the administrator will be working towards is the Trust figures which allocates 22% of turnover to playing wages. I seriously doubt that anybody else in League One will have a lower percentage ratio (the limit is 65%).

    So cut the moral high horse BS and perhaps do some research first.

    • unitedite
      August 17, 2012

      To the many creditors offered 20p in the £ in the first CVA (and never saw it) and potentially 2p in the £ now, that £6m that Pompey have burning a hole in their bank account (and are using to fund good League One players) must provide great succour as they struggle to keep their busniess running and cut jobs.

      The only people throwing the toys out of the pram are Portsmouth fans, desperately trying to defend the indefensible.

      • JCL
        August 17, 2012

        Yes because we’re responsible for the club being used by people prominently featured on The situation is much more complicated than the simplistic narrative you want to believe…

  4. No 2 to Maybush
    August 17, 2012

    Very good article, well written. From a personal perspective, I can’t quite believe that the Football League are allowing them to get away with flaunting the sanctions that were handed down to them. I feel sorry for the followers of Bournmouth, who Pompey are playing this weekend, who were in a similar situation a few years ago,and faced with a -27 point deduction. At least they did the right thing, like Carlisle, and cut their cloth to suit their circumstances. What I really find amazing is the sense of entitlement that the Pompey fans have. As has been written elsewhere, what have Pompey got on the Football League that allows them to get away with it? Good luck for the forhcoming season.

  5. RhimJim
    August 17, 2012

    Well said. It’s clear that PFC are getting preferential treatment from the football governance bodies. Compare and contrast the special dispensations and extremely mild sanctions that they’ve been given to the likes of Luton. I remember reading that one of the PFC board members was the former head of the Football League finance & disciplinary committee… make of that what you will…

    It’s getting pretty sickening to see their fans, manager, ex-players, board members, etc, all bleating away in the press about how “unfair” their situation is and that “if there were any justice all would be forgiven” – all the while apparently unaware that compared to other clubs they’ve been treated extremely gently by the FA and FL.

    Pompey: pay your taxes and pay your debts to local businesses and charities. Don’t want to do that? Whatever. Just don’t ask us to feel sorry for you when you’re somehow sitting on a better squad than most of the rest of us here in League One despite apparently not having any money. You don’t have the moral high ground, you don’t have our sympathy and you don’t have our respect. You’re the lowest of the low.

  6. Nagoyablue
    August 17, 2012

    A couple of points. One, you have no idea how much our players are being paid. Next, 1.5 million is an average wage bill for a league 2 club, not a league 1 club.

    And i wonder how many times the fans should be punished for ther crimes of our dodgy past owners. When should we be allowed to sign (not buy ) players again? 2020?

    • Lloyd
      August 17, 2012

      I’ve heard from several sources that McLeod has been holding out for £4k/week. Assuming that he, Howard and Williamson are all after the same then one year’s combined wages for those three, without any bonueses, equals £624k – or a third of the alleged £1.5m playing budget.

      Back of a fag packet estimations of course, but surely a cause for concern given your previous financial incontinence?

      • JCL
        August 17, 2012

        So you’re describing PKF as irresponsible then? The administrator has given the manager a budget and we now have 18 professional players (8 of those 18 or under). Still the smallest squad in the league I bet.

  7. Eastleigh Soulboy
    August 17, 2012

    Very well put, as Wes Tender notes. Those of us from the SO postcode have been called many things by the phew down at Portsea Island. They see our comments as driven by blind hatred, jealousy and stupidity. The thing is that, sad how long this has taken, the fans of other clubs are finally ‘getting it’.

    So, a couple of things to maybe prompt debate.

    1. Quite a few clubs have suffered massive points deductions for coming out of Administration without an agreed C.V.A. What then is the difference between that and agreeing a C.V.A., making no payments to it and then rolling that C.V.A. into another? C.V.A.1 (PFC2101) was 20p in the pound with promises to pay creditors owed £2,500 or less in full (more of which later). C.V.A 2 (PFC 2012) now proposes to pay 2p in the pound. So for those creditors in C.V.A. 1 they will actually receive 0.4p in the pound! 1,000 X 80% =200. X 2% = 4.

    2. Those creditors owed £2,500 or less actually received the square root of naff all. They have been promised the same this time, full payment that is but………
    …… Chanrai has now pulled out..

    This business is stuffed, it will happen either soon or maybe later, depending on who gets hold of the controls to the train set.

    You really couldn’t make it up!

    • JCL
      August 17, 2012

      I look forward to the demonstrations from Saints fans about how your club can afford Gaston Ramírez and the wage liabilities going forward.

      • Eastleigh Soulboy
        August 17, 2012

        Saints fans are already asking the questions.

        you just go worry as to whether you’ll have a team in a few weeks time.

        • JCL
          August 17, 2012

          Considering you spend £9m on a wagebill just to get out of League One the hypocrisy is astonishing.

          And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      • sean
        August 17, 2012

        saints have no debts and have the basis for a good set up, ur club is a joke and i hope it goes bust, ur more than happy to scam ur local community how about u pay ur debts in full.

        My club has been through it all and never got as much leeway as Pompy have its a disgrace ur a joke

  8. Pele is o rey
    August 17, 2012

    If Pompey can pay for a competitive team, they should pay the debts to all those local businesses (who employ people from their own city) before paying wages to players. End of.

    Nothing to do with punishing fans, no gloating from other rivals, nothing to do with anything else but cutting your cloth. Then, you build and find your level.

  9. Josh BRCB
    August 17, 2012

    Why do people feel the need to personally attack the fnas of Portsmouth FC, its extremely insulting to say that the fans of Portsmouth FC have no Ethicality or Morality, at the end of the day, if you took a blind bit of notice of our situation, the fans have never had a say in what has gone on, we want the best for our club and believe the real supporters of the club that go week in, week out want us to live within our means, you think we really want to go through the communal anxiety of losing our beloved club, knowing that this attracts alot of the world’s society to our famous city.

    Like I said there is no need to personally attack us, we have done no wrong, in fact, correct me if i am wrong, but i dont see any other clubs having their community try and buy out their club? we are the most commited set of fans this side of the world. What about the Manchester City’s of the world? Their fans look no further than their nose regarding their money situation, what happens when the Sheikh wants out or dies? who on this earth is going to want to take over their wage bill? so what happens then?

    We are all guilty of turning a bling eye in our everyday lives, believe Portsmouth FC fans have done their fair share of turning the blind eye, however we have realised that this cannot be sustained, its our 2nd administration in as many years, why would we turn a blind eye again.

    Its a great article, fair on both sides, and i appreciate some people, felt something for us, i certainly wouldnt wish this on anyother club, we should just live as a society with our means, but none of us do and this is why the world is in so much trouble financially, the variables are infinite, so not one person is correct in this situation, hence why people complaining that we havent got a points deduction are wrong, we will exit administration in due course and htne recieve the points deductions, at the end of the day no fan knows the in’s and out’s of their clubs administration so to say our situation is the same as Luton and Bournemouth’s is utterly ridiculous, becuase as i said their are an infinite amount of variables.

  10. Pompeystevepup
    August 17, 2012

    Hmm seems many of you seem to think that the many thousands of pompey fans should be punished due to the screw ups previous owners have made, the simple fact of the matter is, if we can afford to pay these players on such ways it is because we will pack out fratton park to alot more then what most stadiums in league one can even hold, attendence in league one seems to be around the 7-8000 mark? i estimate we will sell around 11000 seats for the upcoming game, i agree that there needs to be punishment for the sorry state portsmouth is in, but i believe the few people that got us there should be punished not the people that pay the money to go to the club, many clubs such as norwich have managed to bounce to the premier league because of the money they generate in league 1, that is obviously the aim here, we can pay the players because of the support of die hard fans such as westwood, im sorry carlise hasnt got the fan base to be able to afford these ‘great’ players but get over yourselfs, we are under control by a administrater who must have done the maths and knows what we can and cannot afford, so obviously we wont be running at a lose so where the hell is the problem! your a twat mate

    • Eastleighsoulboy
      August 20, 2012

      The fans suffering is just collateral damage, as it was with Saints, Leeds, Luton etc. The club gets punished because the club ‘did the crime’. it’s supposed to make a club more circumspect over their business dealings. After one Insolvency Event ( Dec. 1998) you would think that the club might learn but they didn’t. 2008 was a great year as they ‘won’ the FA cup, with players they could not afford and, sure enough, by the end of 2009 they were embroiled in another saga, leading to a second Insolvency Event in 2010. In aiming for a hat trick of failures the club set their own wage ceiling of £10K a week, soon after they signed Dave Kitson & Liam Lawrence from Stoke in exchange for Marc Wilson. Kitson & Lawrence salaries were given as £21k and £19K per week respectively. surely indicative that the lesson had NOT been learned! By the end of 2011 they were back at it although this time it was their owners fault.

      The point is that the fans cannot control that sort of mullarkey but they can ask the questions!

      In praising the Petersfield Bookseller you need to remember that quite a few years ago the club offered ‘lifetime’ season tickets for £2K. He, and quite a few others, have one.

      Go figure how much a season that brings in!

  11. JCL
    August 17, 2012

    Another point of fact rather than fiction: PFC is still under a transfer embargo with the same conditions as every other club that has had to operate under the Football League transfer embargo. Its just that John McGee and others on here posting don’t know the rules.

    Every club under restricted membership is allowed to operate with 20 ‘senior’ professionals – this is any player with a professional contract excepting 1st year professionals with less than 3 appearances in the 1st team squad (named on a team-sheet regardless of whether they spend any time on the pitch). Under that definition, Portsmouth have 12 (possibly 13) senior players (Magri might now qualify as a ‘senior’ professional).

    So special case, no exception made. All within the rules of the Football League for clubs in administration. No precedent has been set by the Football League.

  12. Peterbxl
    August 17, 2012

    Pompey fan in peace:
    I couldn’t agree more with much that was written in that article. It’s been obvious to everyone living in this part of the South Coast, that we could never sustain the level of debt that was being built up.
    Oh it was fun being in the Premiership, winning the FA Cup and playing in Europe, but many of us knew we were living far beyond our means…
    We had no say in any of that, our team was hijacked by dodgy Russians (probably money laundering) who when they left took every bit of football history they could find in the building, sold on to one of the few Arabs who had no m oney, taken over by a Hong Kong businessman who was owed money by the dodgy Arab, but who had NO interest in football, just in getting his money back. Then sold to more dodgy Russians and other Eastern Eurpeans, who are currently fighting extradition because their Lithuanian bank appears short of money…
    You may laugh but millions of pounds of transfger fees have disappeared, as well as our clubs history and good name.
    Yet all these owners passed the Football League’s fit and proper person test… You may want to put our club in the dock, there’s a lot of people we’d like answers from too.. how come the police haven’t become involved (OK that had a punt at Harry Redknap… and failed!), I don’ty know?
    Meanwhile the diehard fans (and I’ve been going to Fratton Park for more than 50 years), are left wondering if we’d have a team to support at all this season. I bought tickets for tomorrows game earlier in the week, when it looked like we’d field our youth team… but do you know what, I’d have still go and sung my heart out!!!
    It’s the fans who are being punished here, and many of us agree with you, we’d like to see what remains of our once proud club liquidated, let’s start again outside the league and build from there, something that may yet still happen.
    I’d like to see all of our owners in the last 4 years, being interrogated in police cells, where did the money go, and whilst you’re at it, let’s have those morons from the Football League in prison too,how some of our owners passed the fit and proper person test is a question I’d really like answered!!! The people being punished in Portsmouth are the local businesses and the fans, whilst the criminals who ruied our club get away completely free…

  13. Kevin Griggs
    August 17, 2012

    A good article with undertandable sentiment. I apologise if you have received the sort of abuse you indicate on twitter. There is never any call for it. There is far more to this story than you portray but I won’t engage in a factfest exchange. I am a lifelong Pompey fan in my fifties and have spent a lot of money travelling to see my side through all four divisions and on some very dark days. I had a season ticket when you didn’t need one, my first in 1975, then continuously from 1988 and was one of only 2000 ST holders when we played Liverpool in the FA Cup semi of 1992. Last season was my first without a ST for well over 20 years. I must be one of the few fans who wouldn’t have bought his club had he won the Euro millions. There are so many more worthy causes to help. I will always be a Pompey fan, it’s in my blood, but my attendance will now be when convenient and affordable. Football has turned into cesspool of greed and money. Pompey is not the only club that has been pillaged nor will it be the last. The powers at be exercise no control at all, in fact it’s very possible that one of our owners, that passed the ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ test, did not actually exist. I am lucky as I work away and now live in the midlands so it is easier to ration my attendance. However I will never again buy a season ticket and I will never again make a 400 mile round trip just for a football match. there is plenty of non-league stuff around. Pompey matches will no wbe attended on catch ups with family and friends and no more. I do feel a little guilty that I have fallen out of love with the game and envy those who are putting everything on the line to save the club, but every time I get a twinge and nearly change my mind a story comes up to stop me. Today’s is RVPs reported £200K a week at United. What has happened to our game?

    • John S
      August 18, 2012

      Great post/response. The only decent, considered and intelligent comment on Pompey from a Portsmouth fan that I have seen.

      Fantastic and well balanced article too.

  14. dodgycurry
    August 17, 2012

    Sad to say little facts but plenty of assumptions made about the players wages, no mentions the said players are only on a months contract at a time, no mention that, of the cash in the club account, £1.8m of it at least will go to the admin PKF if not more. You forget there are other staff and bills (including tax!) that have to be paid besides the footballers.

    You forget, as Birch is an officer of the court, he has to trade the club in a solvent position, it is illegal to trade as an insolvent company so he would lose his job if he was condoning the paying of unaffordable wages to these players.

    As for Birch appealing the ten point deduction, the points were deducted by the Football League as they said the 2010 CVA creditors weren’t consulted in constructing our new CVA. Birch had followed normal insolvency rules (as you should know apparently) and had taken the fact Baker Tilly, the liquidators of Portsmouth City Football Club, were on the 2012 creditors committee and were therefore representing the interests of the 2010 CVA creditors. The Football League, unprecedently, deemed they weren’t.

    I am sorry you were subjected to the tirade of abuse that you received on Twitter. We have enough wind-up merchants from SFC as it is without other club fans, who know little of what has gone on at Fratton, joining in with the condemnation of our club who, it must be said, were initially receiving sympathy from fellow League club 1 fans as they saw our team against Plymouth. Perhaps they were relishing the prospect of an easy 6 point haul against us this season?

    All that false bonhomie Fans United crap disappeared in a spewing gush of ill-informed ravings when we signed the players didn’t it?

    We have had transfer embargos, point deductions and whatnots for years from the Premiership to now. The latest Football League policy for our club was of one player out, one player in. As we had just got rid of all our ten senior players over the summer we have now temporarily replaced them with ten out-of-work footballers, not the Spanish national team. As JCL has quite rightly pointed out we have to have a minumum first team squad to satisfy Football League rules.

    Much amusement was derived from our predicament when we had no players, a lot of gloating has taken place, not just from SFC fans either. We still have an uphill battle to stave off liquidation but we will be in there fighting to the end.

    The Trust proposed player wage budget is £2.65m a year inc tax and NI paid based on a 11,500 average attendance, a wage figure that at 42% of turnover is well within the 60% League guideline.

    Spot on for this league I would submit, hardly over the top.

    As the Pompey Trust is now the sole bidder I can only hope that Birch is working to that budget but I don’t assume he is because, like you, I don’t know for certain but he is fully aware of the 60% rule.

    Also you seem to assume that Pompey fans are not just as horrified at the antics of the club’s management as you are. Pompey fans rallied around and paid off the charities shafted by Chainrai from the first CVA in 2010. Why didn’t you put that fact in there?

    Why did you think there was widespread joy amongst the majority of Pompey fans when Portpin pulled out of the bidding? The succession of seedy owners and their acolytes reads like a who’s who of international dodginess. With Portpin gone, at last Pompey fans now have a chance, albeit a slim one, to run the club in a proper way and restore pride in supporting and being the club itself.

    I find it sadly ironic you moan about people abusing you on Twitter yet your main dig in your article was a very personal and unwarranted attack on a known Pompey fan plus you branded the rest of Pompey fans as unethical and immoral.

    Judging by this ill-informed rant I can only hope you don’t speak for all Carlisle United fans.

  15. Rich
    August 17, 2012

    It’s a nice polemic but there are an awful lot of inaccuracies in this piece which I won’t bother to go into.
    The long and short of it is that Portsmouth Football Club has been used as a pawn in a much bigger game between two groups of rival businessmen who fell out over a deal that went wrong in Israel. The football club’s financial woes have very little to do with overspending. It’s all about asset-stripping and moving money around the world.
    Alexandre Gaydamak, the owner in charge when Pompey won the FA Cup in 2008, did invest large sums in Pompey but he had the cash and access to do it at the time. He made a mistake in the view of most fans. He opted for a strategy of building a team first and then the stadium to support Pompey’s ambitions was to come later. When the recession came, and coincidentally, his father got into trouble in Israel and fled to Russia, Gaydamak Jnr suddenly found his credit line cut overnight. What followed was a succession of people all trying to make a quick buck out of the mess.
    The impact of all this was that hundreds of local businesses, schools, charities, and others were ripped off. It is to the eternal shame of Pompey fans that this happened but it wasn’t their fault.
    The club was rightly deducted points for going into administration twice. What is slightly more debatable is the reason given for the third points deduction this season. The Football League said it was imposing the sanctions because creditors of the earlier administration weren’t given an adequate say in the new CVA. Yet they were represented in the negotiations and at the meeting which agreed the CVA. So the club may have reasonable grounds to appeal against the reason given.
    It may be, however, that there is some natural justice in the Football League’s decision. Other clubs have been punished for failing to come out of administration without a CVA and you could argue that, in effect this is what Pompey have done. They did secure an agreement with the creditors for a CVA but then they didn’t pay them a penny.
    Where I think this article is really unfair is in the way that it suggests there is something scandalous about Portsmouth trying to sign players on month-long contracts to fulfil their fixtures. The fact is that the team they put out the other night was their youth side and could not in any reasonable way be described as competitive in League 1. Will the club be criticised for signing any player?
    The club has just received a tranche of parachute payments which will mainly be used to pay off the administrator, who says his firm is owed £1.8m. Many staff have been made redundant but there are still people who need to be paid to keep the club running. So some of that money will have to be used for other costs and as working capital just to keep the business going.
    I’d be very surprised indeed if most clubs that have gone into administration have ended up paying off every penny owed to creditors. I don’t believe Southampton did, for example, so why isn’t everyone asking how they have managed to spend £33m more than the club earned to get back to the Premier League?
    Most Portsmouth fans hope the club will be run by the Supporters’ Trust and in a sustainable way. Debt is fine if it is sustainable and can be paid back over a short cycle but in the long term the club has to pay its way. PFC is not the first club in England to be run by its fans but if this takeover goes ahead, I think it will be in the vanguard of a new type of responsibly run community-owned clubs.

  16. Lanterne Rouge
    August 17, 2012

    In a country where one is encouraged to believe that one ‘owns’ a house even when only a tenth of the overall cost has been paid and the individual has been loaned in the region of a couple of hundred grand or more by a mortgage company or a bank; where thousands of pounds” worth of spending is racked up on credit card bills; where people actually think the pension they have been paying into for a years is going to help them go and retire to the Costa del Sol and where we are all encouraged to put Number 1 first and indulge in rampant individualism, is it any wonder that Pompey fans (and others) don’t take debt seriously?

    As a Reading fan, I’m deeply uneasy about the money the club is currently spending – bearing in mind that the likely gates the club will enjoy this coming Premier League season are probably going to be on a par with Pompey’s. In short, whatever the club is paying Pavel Pogrebnyak (be it the £35,000 a week suggested by the local press or the probably inaccuarate £60k trumpeted by The Observer and Four Four Two), this won’t be commensurate with a club that is still short of selling out tomorrow’s season opener against Stoke. Whatever the weekly wage, the signing on fees and other add ons are almost certainly astronomical.

    So, I’ll go on record here – before it all starts – and state I am uncomfortable – and when we are back in the third tier or lower, I’ll take my medicine. Living within one’s means has to become the norm and the normalisation of debt as if it simply doesn’t matter must end – see also Gavin Barber’s post on Ipswich here.

  17. Cod
    August 17, 2012

    Send Pompey to the Wessex League. Local derbies against Fareham Town, Moneyfields and AFC Portchester should be all they deserve.

    • Pompey Paul
      August 17, 2012

      I wonder who you support COD Piece. Some Pompey fans do want us to start agian, But all these poeple crying its unfair and we are cheats, all I can say is people in glass house’s shouldnt throw stones. As other have said we have been cuaught in the middle of a business fight between the Gaydamaks and Chainrai’s. The common number to remember is £18m, thsi is the sum Gaydamak failed to pay Chainrai over a business deal. and this is the same sum Chairai says he lent PFC. Also please do not forget , the total wage bill of the players we have signed in the last 36 hrs is less than the nuggett Peter Storrie agreed to pay Tal Ben Haim a week.

  18. kowalski
    August 18, 2012

    Can’t help but feel that the main motivation for this overly personal attack is that John ‘I only ever think of Carlisle’ McGee is a little bit gutted his worthy,ethical, freedom fighting club isnt playing Portsmouth under 12’s in a couple of weeks. Our new batch of footballing Goliath’s are clearly making him sweat. I mean, what defence in the land could shackle Luke Rodgers?? Calm down mate.
    Its Pompey, we’re away from home, you’ll beat us 2-1 hear our fans sing for 90 and think we’re not so bad after all. Just relax. I know Brian Howard once scored against Liverpool, but he wont do it against your lot i promise. If you dream of a giant Izale McLeod smashing your Burnton Park Stanch, then just think about the gift of Jimmy Glass we gave you. We gave you Jimmy. He was one of us. We dont want to hurt you.

  19. Nigel Armour
    August 18, 2012

    there is an old saying ( YOU KILL WHAT YOU FEAR ) We at Pompey have had to put up with ramblings from a lot better journos than you, Full of inaccurate rants and insults (and you moan about the abuse you got back) we dont fear the abuse or inaccurate comments from others fanbase but we do hope it never happens to any of you because we are not the first and wont be the last We fear that !, My final point is dont fear us just watch us we are doing something about this mess, Go PST, PUP.

  20. pompeytruthandjustice
    August 18, 2012

    Would like to point out that the Pompey Independent Supporters Association since being formed in the mid 1990’s constantly kicked up a fuss about the way PFC and the football world in general was going about it’s business.
    They then helped form a Pompey Supporters Trust which has put a bid on the table funded by the Portsmouth Community in trying to enable PFC to become a Community Club.
    Pompey fans have always remained loyal in whatever division they have played in but over the decades many PFC supporters have become observers rather than supporters as they were dismayed at the way they had been treated along with local businesses, charities etc.
    The Portsmouth Community raised money for the aggrieved charities and amongst all the debris at our club which has never invested in it’s infrastructure the one constant is that Pompey have a unique set of supporters who somehow create a matchday atmosphere in this horrible football enviroment of which PFC was almost and still could be a major casualty.

  21. Jason
    August 20, 2012

    I genuinely find it disturbing that fans of other clubs are hoping/wishing portsmouth to be liquidated. As a bradford fan, i’m someone who has seen a spectacular fall from grace! Probably the third most spectacular behind leeds and the unfortunate portsmouth! Premiership to two consecutive18th placed league two finishes in a little over a decade is something to behold! I digress…

    Even when leeds were in dire straits, i didn’t want them to go bust. I maybe said it in jest to wind pals up at times, but deep down, who would we have banter with in the pub on a saturday night without your local rivals?

    Southampton fans, who would you gloat to about your amazing success story over the last three years without portsmouth!

    The whole of football is a disgrace, run from the very top by greedy morons who turn a blind eye to make a quick buck!

    I say whole of football, any sport that has sold its soul to sky is a disgrace… Look at the sorry state of bradford bulls!

    Suffering the same agony back then, not knowing if we had a team, seeing misfits and rejects turning up to play for one last payday infront of big crowds hurts. But right now where bradford lay, in the bottom rung of the football pyramid, been underdogs in all cup competitions, having glamourous tuesday night away games at accrington stanley, for me, that place is where true, honest approachable footballers live, where you could walk up to them in the street and have a conversation about saturdays game… This is where football needs to be back to.

    As a PFC fan said above, he wouldn’t change that FA cup memory for anything, nor would i with the memory of wetherall’s header against liverpool, of gareth evans strike against stockport to almost guarantee league two survival!!

    Be careful what you wish for, you only need to look at stockport, luton, chester, darlington, scarborough, aldershot & further back to bradford park avenue to see how quickly it can all go wrong!

    Embrace the game, enjoy the good times, be there in the bad times, because it will go full circle & the good times will comeback!


    • Lanterne Rouge
      August 20, 2012

      Jason – I don’t think anyone wants Pompey to actually go under – even Southampton fans.

      Your quote: ‘But right now where Bradford lay, in the bottom rung of the football pyramid, been underdogs in all cup competitions, having glamorous tuesday night away games at accrington stanley, for me, that place is where true, honest approachable footballers live, where you could walk up to them in the street and have a conversation about saturdays game… This is where football needs to be back to’ – is all true but I think what has wound people up is that the acquisition of Williamson and others signals that Portsmouth are going to try and bypass all that and actually start throwing cash at the situation NOW (despite all those unpaid creditors) – a 1-1 draw with a strong Bournemouth side does signal the immediate improvement and it’s not inconceivable that Pompey could be back in the Championship next year – I think most would consider that the kind of Faustian pact that sees 2 Cup Finals, a European participation and the chance to see Lassana Diarra and Jermain Defoe play for one’s club is well worth a single year in League 1 whereas Bradford’s deal with the devil has been far more protracted.

  22. ChrisP
    August 20, 2012

    Nagoyablue, regardless of what the average playing budget is in any league, your playing budget should reflect what you can actually afford! If your club only has the finances to compete equivalent to a League 2 club then that unfortunately is the level you have to work at. Simply because you are in League 1 does not mean you should spend beyond your means just to compete.

  23. Jason
    August 20, 2012

    Lanterne Rouge

    Fair enough, i agree with your point.

    the main reason in my opinion that bradfords deal with the devil has been much further drawn out, is due to bad mismanagement from the top for a number of successive years, and the club needed to keep falling until it levelled out so it could rebuild. similar to what has happened at plymouth. i can see the same fate for portsmouth, because how many of them 10 players that have recently signed, will still be there come the end of the season, hell even come christmas! I can see that the playing staff turnover this year will be ridiculously high as they look to wheel and deal to keep the wage bill down, taking loans off of other clubs where they don’t have to pay wages, but just guarantee game time. all of this has happened at bradford, and that method of madness is only conjuicive to a side battling relegation. even messr. appleton has resigned himself to a relegation scrap this year.

    most posters on here are talking about the quality that they have signed in howard, williamson & mcloed. what about the other 8 positions and the bench? is that quality sufficient to sustain a promotion charge back through the division. whilst what i saw of jack compton at league two level here was good but he’s certainly miles off of becoming a league one player due to his work ethic etc. as for simon eastwood in goal, probably one of the worst goalkeepers i’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing down at VP, and there is probably a reason why he was playing at FC halifax last season.

    maybe portsmouth have commited the ultimate howler and hedged all their bets on these three players to get them out of the division, and not built a strong enough team round them? maybe these three are on high wages, but the rest of the squad are on £300-£400 per week? one can only speculate at figures, but i can’t foresee a portsmouth promotion push this year – unless i am missing something?

  24. Ten Reasons to Love the Football League | The Two Unfortunates
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  26. Richard T
    September 8, 2012

    I’m a Pompey fan and completely agree with this article. As fans we had no control over the complete shambles of the last few years but find it sickening that we were even contemplating a 4.5m wage budget whilst trying to secure an embarrassing CVA agreement. For me if the trust/Chanrai are unable to buy the club and pay the old accrued debts liquidation is the only option. We have no right to be competitive and sign very good leage one players whilst local businesses and charities ate set to lose substantial money.

  27. The Lower League Week - Owners and Managers | Born Offside
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  28. Fabian
    November 20, 2012

    I don’t know about closing the gap, but loiokng at the new signings, I’m going to say that Spurs look a real promise. City’s got a new manager in Hughsey, but they only managed 2 new signings in all cuz of the Thaksin thingy. Pompey made awesome signings but they have always been more or less top 10 contenders anyway,and Newcastle & Fulham is shite.

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    April 4, 2013

    […] Short term deals earlier in the season have given Portsmouth as much chance of fielding a settled team as the back-to-basics era Conservatives. Experienced campaigners such as still top scorer Izale McLeod, Lee Williamson, Brian Howard and Ákos Buzsáky have long since departed — the fleeting nature of their time at Fratton perhaps justifying the self-defence Pompeyites put up to a post that was highly critical of the club back in August. […]

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