Pompey - Into The Abyss
By Mark Murphy
Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie has been forced to admit the gravity of the club’s financial situation after the Sun newspaper published extracts from a damning e-mail he sent to a supporter.
“We cannot rule out…having to sell more players should the takeover not happen,” he added in a club statement the following day, the first official expression of doubt over the process
Storrie also revealed that “no new finance has been available” since current owner Alexandre Gaydamak put Pompey up for sale last December.
“Neither the old nor the new owner is putting any money in,” he confirmed in the e-mail.
In immediate response, Al-Fahim issued his own statement - his own words, unusually, not those of a “spokesman.”
He re-affirmed his commitment to the takeover, saying: “The current owner and I have signed the Terms Sheet document with which the terms of the transaction have been finalised.
“I will exercise every effort to complete it as soon as possible.”
However, these “terms” were, according to the Portsmouth News, agreed on July 16, with “the takeover…completed” on July 24.
“Sources close to the deal” with a less favourable Al-Fahim agenda but record of strong reliability, have reported that “it appears Al-Fahim has…resigned himself to the fact that the takeover deal will not happen.”
However, even they acknowledge that: “He has been working tirelessly to pull together sufficient funds.”
And they admit that he “helped convince creditors to defer a crucial part of the Standard Bank repayment” – the bank loaned £36m to Pompey during Gaydamak’s tenure – which “would have taken the club into administration two weeks ago.” Almost heroically, manager Paul Hart has made additions to his squad, as the lure of the Premier League persuades players to disregard Pompey’s problems. Former Liverpool and Ireland right-back Steve Finnan has signed a twelve-month deal, having terminated his contract with Catalonian side Espanyol. And French international striker Frederic Piquionne is on a season-long loan from Olympique Lyonnais.
Almost heroically, manager Paul Hart has made additions to his squad, as the lure of the Premier League persuades players to disregard Pompey’s problems.
Former Liverpool and Ireland right-back Steve Finnan has signed a twelve-month deal, having terminated his contract with Catalonian side Espanyol.
And French international striker Frederic Piquionne is on a season-long loan from Olympique Lyonnais.
Piquionne is a gamble as he only netted four times in an unhappy spell in Le Championnat last season.
Hart’s threadbare squad lost both matches in the City of Guimaraes Trophy.
In mitigation, Hart fielded a young side in the 2-0 defeat to hosts Vitoria, who they knocked out of last season’s UEFA Cup.
And the experienced players were overwhelmed by a Benfica side far further into their pre-season preparations.
Nonetheless, Hart confessed: “We did well to keep it to four” after the Benfica trashing, adding: “I’m looking at what (players) can get from the game rather than the result.”
Just as well.
Tags: Portsmouth, Pompey, Sulaiman Al-Fahim, Paul Hart, Premier League, Steve Finnan, Frederic Piquionne