Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/614/8955
Supporters should own Pompey, not developers
THE COMPANY controlling Portsmouth Football Club (FC) has now gone into administration. This means that control over the club's finances has been taken out of the hands of the owner.
A points penalty will almost certainly be applied so relegation from the Premier League is virtually confirmed. However, any idea that this will end Pompey's problems is misplaced. The administrator talks about taking eight weeks to understand the company's affairs and suggests that financial malpractice may be unearthed.
In that scenario, it is highly unlikely that a new owner would be in place for next season. Instead Portsmouth could have an extended spell in administration with more players being sold to meet immediate bills.
With the possibility of a further points penalty, the future for Portsmouth looks bleak.
Portsmouth employs about 600 staff. The administrator is talking about deep cuts. These will principally be amongst staff who earn little more than the minimum wage.
The current owner, Balram Chainrai, has used former News of The World editor Phil Hall as his mouthpiece. Hall calls for patience - code for supporters to sit passively while the property developers who have destroyed the club jockey for position. Portsmouth supporters have been patient for 60 years - not any longer.
About £400 million has gone into Portsmouth FC since 2003. There is an increasing groundswell for an inquiry. Portsmouth council should organise this with supporters' organisations and the Professional Footballers Association. All the business secrets should be out in the open.
There will not be a secure future for Portsmouth FC until it stops being a property development opportunity. This means the club should be owned by the supporters, the only people who have its long term interests at heart.
The Portsmouth Supporters Trust has made an excellent start and needs to rise to this challenge. The prize is worth even more than the FA Cup.
In The Socialist 3 March 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party feature