Monday, 5 March 2012

New Website

Hi! thanks to all our readers we have now moved to our own site, come join us over there. PLAY UP POMPEY

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Chainrai or bust? Its plan B for me

Im no financial expert, I have read as much as I can to understand the situation at Pompey. I'd love anyone who knows more or can correct any of the below i'd love to hear from you.

So Chainrai has burst back on to the scene, as a potential saviour of the club. The reaction from some seems to be vitriolic. Well lets examine how he got involved in the club. When no-one else would loan Pompey any cash Chainrai would. This was of course not altruistic, he is a businessman with no emotional ties to Pompey. He is involved in the club to make profit. I dont know much about liquidation law, but surely he is less likely to get his investment back if the club folds? But he doesnt care as long as he gets his cash back. I dont begrudge him that. He is a businessman, and he made a loan that was obviously risky at the time (why else would the banks not loan us cash) it went wrong so now he is attempting to get back his investment – I dont see him as much of a villain as others (although have a look at my favourite Pompey writer SJ Maskell's excellent article to see why you might)

If, and its a big if, Chainrai's involvement can save the club from going into liquidation, what happens next? He does not want the club, he just wants his money. So presumably he does one of two things he sells the clubs assets and winds it up or he sells it on.

Picture the scenario he steadies the ship but Pompey are relegated he then finds from somewhere someone to buy the club. Lets say for arguments sake he is the stereotypical buyer of a championship club, say a Latvian millionaire, business investments in the states, 17th richest man in Latvia wealth estimated to be £200m, he has had a couple of business fail, and there was that investment in Austria that he was accused of avoiding the taxman, but he denies any wrong-doing. He then puts £5m into the club, talks of increased discussions with the fans and Pompey start league 1 4th favourites for promotion, as the managers of other clubs talk of our premier league experience as Hayden Mullins, TBH and Ashdown stay at the club. Gaydamark owns the land around Fratton Park, Chainrai is owned £17m and local businesses and charities are ripped off being repaid 3p in a £. The Pompey trust promise to do as much as possible to get a seat on the board and early conversations are positive. But as the year goes on Pompey fans being to forget the debt surrounding the club and settle into supporting their team once more, this chap doesnt seem so bad.

This is where and why I increasingly think Plan B is the way forward. This period of ownership has tainted our club and has demoralised the fans. Other fans look on us as a representation of all that is wrong with football currently and I am a bit sick that my club is the manifestation of this negativity, what is most likely to happen is Pompey get towards some sort of ugly status quo.

If I am being brutally honest, and I know this will not go down well with many fans, it is never going to be as good as it was in 2008, we are never going to have a team better than the Diarra, Johnson, Muntari, James, Playing Milan and winning the FA cup. We will keep going and we will love watching our team. Football is an unsustainable luxury, both for owners, the banks who loan them money and the supporters who are struggling in the economic climate. Within 5 years it wouldnt surprise me if a number of teams went under, the new Portsmouth football club (who incidentally I would just call Pompey) could be the trend setter, we could lead the way and join AFC Wimbledon and FC United as a club run by the fans and respected by other supporters, rather than watching a club flirting between Championship and league one, reminiscing about the late 2000s and always being associated with financial mismanagement.

It would be an exciting new adventure. Football is littered with clubs who have replaced previous clubs, who have morphed and changed names of clubs but have absorbed their histories, Woolwich Arsenal, Newton Heath and Pompey's predecessors the Royal Artillery Football Club just a number of examples. Having said all that, I would never want a Plan B team setup in an attempt to compete with a Chainrai owner Portsmouth FC. I say other than a rich Portsmouth fan buying the club, agreeing to a small percentage of fan ownership and much clearer accountability, I will never trust owners again and that will surely only damage my relationship with the club and the team. If you read Maskell's article and the interconnectedness of all of the dubious owners, management and administrators, it will only depress you more. I will always be a Pompey fan and I struggle to see a time when I wont watch the team, but in answer to administrator Birch's question Pompey or bust? I love our history and dont want to throw it away, but I am increasingly leaning towards bust.  

Friday, 2 March 2012

Going, going...

My days it is looking bleak isnt it?

Unfortunately we have a lot of experience of this situation and this seems worse than previously. Maybe our new administrator is just more realistic than Admin Andy, but Mr Birch is all over the media saying we are in real trouble, adding to that Appleton's statement that we may need to loan out further first team players and then even the self-publicist Howe saying Pompey are simply not a viable financial option. If players are loaned out then the chances of us staying up is even lower, if we are in league one surely there is even fewer chance of us getting a new owner.

I know this is a time for solidarity. Indeed some of the Pompey trust members were frustrated with our last article being vaguely critical of their actions. But i will reiterate Pompey fans now need to focus on Plan B. We can not afford Plan A, we can still await our knight in shinning armour, but lets starting focusing on that and letting Mr Birch keep up his search for a new owner.

I really hope that comes to pass, because the club feels incredibly cohesive at the moment. After the years of success there was inevitably a distance between the Pompey fans and the millionaires on the pitch, but in the years of Twitter and Captain Liam Lawrence leading the way in attempting to help the club out, and with Michael Appleton saying all the right things and having a very positive but difficult start to his managerial career - there is a nucleus of a good team. Lets get the club bought and get out of this mess and look at next season.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

1. Pompey saved my bacon

Perhaps the most inappropriate title ever, but Tony Restall's support of Pompey may have saved his life. He was working for the EU in Yemen. he and his bodyguard were dragged from their car by gun totting bandits who proceeded to rough the pair up until one observant hoodlum spotted the famous moon and crescent of Portsmouth FC - but his visual skills were far superior to his knowledge of English football and he misinterpreted the crest as an indication of Restall's Muslim faith. The evidently resourceful Pompey fan then blagged his way out of the situation convincing his aggressors that he was a white Muslim who was working for Islamic welfare in the country. I think Pompey are superior to Southampton in many ways, but I'd wager that even the most ardent scummer would admit being a Pompey fan would be preferable to being a saint in this situation! Interestingly the supposed reason why Pompey has the crest is that Richard the lion heart's fiancé was kidnapped by a Cypriot prince named Isaac. On one of his crusades Richard stopped off to free his beloved and as he defeated Issac was entitled to take his coat of arms, a blue flag with a yellow moon and crescent. On his return Richard gave the crest to the newly formed city of Portsmouth, a conurbation he was fond of, having spent a fortnight of the seven months he actually spent on the British isles, on Portsea island. However the Yemenese bandits were wrong to automatically associate the moon and crescent with their religion, the symbol predates the rise of Islam. So there.

2. Jack Tinn's lucky spatts

Jack Tinn took over Pompey in 1927. He took Pompey to THREE FA Cup finals, of course winning the cup in 1939. He left the club two decades later in 1947, so is credited as the man who built the foundations for the title winning teams.

The victory in 1939 bought the players a bonus of twenty pounds, apparently less than the pre-match band were paid for their contribution to the days entertainment.  And who did they have to thank for this windfall? well according to their gaffer at the time, it was all due to his lucky spatts. Not his post-match press conference clashes with journalists but curious sounding fabric shoe protectors which covered the ankles and some of the instep. But for whatever reason ol'Jack Tinn thought they bought him luck. As one of the most successful managers in Pompey's history who am i to argue?

Not that he was only superstitious member of the team. Winger Jimmy Guthrie had FIVE lucky charms. And he was a real devote to superstition because all of them made there way on to the pitch with him, a small horseshoe in his pocket, a sprig of white heather down each sock, a small white elephant tied to a garter and a lucky sixpence in his boot!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pompey fans can only afford Plan B

First of all let me say hats off to the Pompey trust. They are working hard and all off their own back, im pleased there are people out there who are willing to give up their own time to try to ensure our club survive.

Everything I write below must be seen in the context of the above.

But here is my problem with the idea of fans ownership. They are two fold.

We dont have enough fans, with enough money, for the club to be competitive. Lets be honest, we get around 12-14,000 fans to a home game. I know there are people who say they dont want to go because they dont know where the money is going. But i dont buy it. Of those 12-14,000 lets say half of them are seriously hard-core devoted fans. I count myself as one of them. I earn just over £24,000 pa. After tax, rent, bills etc i have around £1,000 per month disposable income. How much would i be ready to be able to give to the Pompey trust? Maybe £500 a year?

The average wage of a UK person is £20,800 pa. I would bet the average wage of the 6,000 odd devoted fans is lower than that. But even if all 6,000 donated £500 pa that would give the club 3,000,000 pa. Which is not enough to run a championship club. To get more finance into the club we would have to ask the wealthier fans to invest more. What do they get for their additional investment? Then you get into massive complications of two-tiered ownership.

Secondly, I already own Portsmouth football club and I already pay for that ownership. I dont really care who is chairman, the club is the fans we are the only constant. I pay a great deal to support and follow the team. Now, through no fault of our own we are now being asked for more money. I already  struggle to justify my expenditure on Pompey to my girlfriend. What do i get for my contribution? I know this might seem selfish, but its true.

The only way fan ownership can be beneficial is if 'plan b' comes into effect. Then all of a sudden we are a well backed non-league team both financially and in terms of support. We could then re-start the club in the way we want it to be run. Then if it is successful and other investment wants to come in the future, we can build safeguards into the deal to ensure we never ever have to go through this again.

If i was the trust, i would focus solely on Plan B. Can we really afford to buy and run the club under Plan A?

A couple of criticisms of the Trust - they are minor, and they should be seen in context of praise that we opened this article with.

I am concerned by what i perceive to be a lack of focus. In the interim between the two crisis, i.e. the CSI period the Trust began to take the form of another supporters group - writing on things like Police videoing of fans and writing at length about the 'bubbling' of fans.  There is a whole section on whether or not trust members should get membership cards and whether or not these should be dated. The trust should be focused on one thing - getting fans representation at the club either through complete ownership or as a board member, they cant get distracted by other things, they have a big enough task on their hands.

Secondly there is an unprofessional slant to some of the Trust communications. They contain spelling mistakes, there are unpopulated sections of the website. This might seem pernickety, but the trust and its board are asking us to put our faith in them, to give them our money and to support them as a representation of the fans with something we hold dear, our football club.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pompey Pool, alls well on the pitch at least

I know our Pompey world is once again collapsing around our ears, but i thought i would take 5 mins to write about how the team is doing on the pitch after re-watching it on TV yesterday (yes i know).

The performance at Blackpool was quality, against a team who were undefeated in 8 games who hadn't been beaten at home since October.  Erik and Marko seem to be a good combination up front save for Erik's finishing. 

There is still room for improvement in the team, despite the tiny resources available to us. Halford does not seem to be able to contribute as much going forward at present, i dont know if this about his switch to the left or perhaps Appleton has asked the full-backs to sit back a little more, especially away.  I dont know if Lawrence is best utilised in the middle of the park. Actually i wonder if he would be best placed behind the frontman, but Erik seems to be doing this well at present. When / if Norris and Varney get back to full fitness Norris can come into midfield and then i would personally put Lawrence out wide in place of Ward who i am still not entirely convinced by. Varney can then compete for Erik and Kelvins place.

The defence has been threatening to be a solid unit all season, Pompey have only conceded more than one goal once since November. We have the joint second best home defence in the league (10 goals in 13 games) the team is in good shape.

I did not think Blackpool looked bad, especially in the first 20 mins. Lualua (who it was great to see) looked sparky, although he may have slightly been defeated by the bobbly pitch. They had a good shape, but we created at least 4 goals scoring opportunities, which must have been concerning. I felt they were saved by a great freekick. During the game the Blackpool fans seemed to be getting on the back of the referee, i dont think he had an awful game. Rewatching it he made one bad error in the middle of the pitch by giving LuaLua an advantage and not pulling it back when the advantage did not develop but other than that i thought Blackpool fans were scapegoating him in lieu of a positive performance from their team.

A great deal has been written about the fans on the night who were fantastic. I genuinely think Pompey fans are among the best in the country. However I think even Pompey fans were struggling to get behind the club because of the number of times we have been hit by events off the pitch. But in Appleton the team are bringing some pride, the refusal of some of our best young players to leave and our backs properly against the wall it looks like the fans are rallying behind the call.

An evening game against a team who failed to take our team apart, a couple of days after a good away performance from the fans? Stockport mark two anyone.