Sunday Toast Season 3 # 21 - Happy New Year
The start of a new decade signals the start of my seventh decade of supporting Pompey. At present there is of course very little to look forward to with financial meltdown imminent and the hopes of new acquisitions looking slim but as a long suffering fan I am used to that and just get on with life as usual.
The attendance at Fratton Park yesterday says it all. Just 11,214 forked out £25 to see the FA Cup tie and who can blame those who were absent. Whether the protests after the game will have any impact remains to be seen.
All the talk in the last week of winding up petition, administration and bankruptcy will have shaken most fans to the core including my wife who is now continually asking me - 'what will you do if there is no Pompey?' That is an unfair question of course which I refuse to answer.
A wind up
Any creditor who is owed more than £750 by a company can file a winding-up petition if the debt is more than 21 days overdue. The petition is a request that the court makes a "compulsory liquidation order". This means that the court will appoint a liquidator who will sell off the company's assets in whichever way raises the most money.
The Revenue say that they will only issue petitions as a last resort but of course. Football clubs only real assets are their players and they can only dispose of them during transfer windows. Companies can of course appoint their own liquidator or administrator to handle their affairs which is a far better prospect.
With the vultures of the media gathering and waiting to pick the Pompey bones clean it was nice yesterday to find an article on ESPN Soccernet which attempts to restore the balance. To give the item credit I quote it in its entirety.
Portsmouth have stated they will not be forced to sell players at a snip of their value in order to get over their financial problems.
And a source on Friday told ESPN Soccernet that stories about their apparent financial demise have been exaggerated and current owner Ali al-Faraj has pumped cash into the club.
There are a series of financial deals in 'advanced stages' for the New Year to ease their cash flow ahead of a major refinancing programme.
aming rights for Fratton Park are up for grabs, as is the vogue at the moment, and the club are in talks with two potential new kit suppliers, as well as securitisation deals for future seasons ticket revenues, TV revenues and even the ground itself. This could bring in more than sufficient funds to 'bring a bright future for the club for the New Year'.
Despite all the negative publicity, an informed source at Fratton Park told ESPN Soccernet: 'It's time to turn the table and get some facts out into the public domain.
The new owner has paid substantial tax arrears, the new owner has paid the outstanding wages to the players, even prior to the takeover in September.
The truth is that without all of this the club would have been in administration before the end of September.'
Portsmouth have refused Burnley permission to play £4 million-rated striker David Nugent in the FA Cup as they have enquiries from other Premier League clubs. They fear that being cup-tied could have an effect on his value.
Portsmouth are doing the same as other clubs who have players on loan and don't want them cup tied,' ESPN Soccernet was told.
Pompey have already dismissed an offer for one of their leading players as 'derisory', well aware that rival clubs are trying to take advantage, and they refuse to cave in.
Negotiations are on going over Nugent. It is believed that Wolves are one of the clubs interested, hence Pompey have refused Burnley permission for him to feature in the FA Cup tie against Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday.
Given the possible sale of fringe players, and also TV income expected first week in January, the owners are confident that the Premier League will lift the transfer embargo and the club can provide Avram Grant with the resources to recruit new players.
Pompey are owed transfer instalment themselves, so once Spurs, Chelsea and Watford are paid the club expect to receive net proceeds.
Thanks to ESPN for that it certainly makes better reading than the Sun and 'Pay up Pompey' et al. Of course we still do not know which angle is the nearest to the truth but it is great that at least one website is not just mud slinging.
Loose ends from 2009
Regular readers will know that we cover a wide range of subjects in Toast and I thought I should look through them all and ensure that you are updated on some of the stories.
Toast Season 2 # 32 - back in March we told that Fred had been taken ill while holidaying in the Maldives. After receiving the best attention the native hospitals could provide Fred was flown to Singapore for a life saving operation. Well I am pleased to report that Fred is recovering well and back at Fratton Park watching games. Ran into him on New Years Eve and he is almost back to his old self.
3#14 we reported on the sad death of Robert Enke the Germany and Hanover goalkeeper. You may remember that Toast had a reporter on the spot in Tina who bought me back the local papers covering the funeral as well as the best wished from Germans for the way we covered the story.
The funeral was attended by the whole of German football as well as representatives from the government and UEFA. My German is sadly not as good as it should be but Tina has translated passages of it and she is impressed by the fact that not one person had a single bad word to say of the man and it shows the love for the man and the terrible mistake he made when he was wracked with depression.
3#8 the National Football Museum will move to Manchester from Preston after the contracts were signed in November. Not sure how Tom Finney greeted the news.
3#13 what were the free Blackburn pies like? No-one ever told me.
3#1 we launched 'Over the wall` where fans tell how they watched a game for free either by climbing in or by another route. Sadly we have had no takers so far but Rug did promise me he would climb over the wall recently but alas another flop!!
2#24 - Gino told me he wanted to know how the 58/59 season ended. Well Gino read last Wednesday's programme if you really must.
2#22 - Pat Neil joined the team and I really must catch up with again soon.
3#12 was the report of the book launch - 'Pompey 'til I die'. Has anyone read it or received it as a Xmas present?
3#10 we looked at girl power on Vital Pompey and I am glad to say that has not waned.
Stats of the noughties
Many thanks to Phil at Pompeyrama for spending hours compiling the detailed stats of the Noughties and getting them to me so quickly. First I look at the total number of competitive games played.
In total over the ten years Pompey have played 462 games winning 164 drawing 115 and losing 183. These figures equate to percentages of won 35%, drew 25% and lost 40%.
Totalled over league and cup one surprising fact is the fact that 72 home games have been lost - hardly Fortress Fratton! However to balance that out a creditable 57 away games ended in victory.
Next week I will look at the number of Pompey appearances made during the decade and surprise, surprise nobody has played 200 league games during the decade.
One other stat that I spotted the other day was that the king Kanu made the most appearances from the bench during the decade - 101 in total!! Plenty left in the old legs then King!
Did you hear the one about the Welshman, Scotsman. Irishman and seven Frenchmen? No? Well there were no Englishmen and of course it happened in the final televised game of the decade at Fratton Park when famous producers of young foreign talent, Arsenal came to town.
A lot of fuss made about it but it was only a one off. Had both sides been at full strength there might have been six or more English on the pitch. English football has to sort out this problem but don't blame Pompey and the Gunners for the problem please.
Toast is planning a series of articles during the year looking at the problems of youth football and the academy system through the eyes of an expert! Negotiations are underway on this subject but it will be eye opening stuff!
After two years the birthdays section has been moved to 'On this day' - Today's include Angelos Basinas, John Milkins and Jimmy Easson
Grimsby Town have signed Pompey teenager Paris Cowan-Hall on a month-long loan deal.