Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/607/8693
Hard chimes for Pompey
LESS THAN two years after winning the FA Cup, Portsmouth Football Club is a club in crisis. In unprecedented events for a club in English football's top division, Pompey have, for the third time this season, failed to pay their players on time.
And this is in the richest league in world football where clubs typically receive £40 million to £50 million a season just from television revenue.
In recent months Pompey has stumbled from crisis to crisis. A protracted takeover last summer left the club owned by Sulamain al Fahim who was unable to find the finance to back up his lavish promises. After two months, he sold his majority shareholding to Ali al Faraj, who again failed to finance the club. A farce has now played out and administration or even liquidation is threatened.
Is this a surprise? Since the advent of the Premier League it has increasingly become a playground for international business people. Just as with other parts of the economy, it has become an area for speculators. Ever fancier financial tricks have been used to run clubs with securitisation and loading clubs with debt increasingly the norm.
It is time for fans to act to reclaim the game. Pompey-supporting Socialist Party members produced two bulletins in August calling for supporters to act. In a marvellous demonstration of the capacity of ordinary people to organise, Pompey fans have now started to form a Supporters Trust.
The Socialist Party also called on Portsmouth city council to act. As the elected authority, the council should be challenging the club's latest owners and fighting for a secure future for the club.
We again call on city council leaders to demand answers to what is going on. We also call on them to use their full powers to save the club. The council should prepare a contingency plan now. This should include, if the club goes into administration, preparing to compulsorily purchase the football ground to secure its future for professional football.
If a new club is formed it should be a community club, with democratic control by the supporters. As a community club it should include provision for all types of recreational football - youth, women, disabled, senior and social - alongside elite professional football. As such it could act as an inspiration to others and give a small glimpse of a better way of running society.
Reclaim the Game
The death of the people's game - the great premier league swindle
by John Reid
£3.50, including postage
Available from Socialist Books,
PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD or www.leftbooks.co.uk
or ring 020 8988 8789
In The Socialist 13 January 2010:
Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party international feature
International socialist news and analysis