Win or bust for Pompey

Posted: May 14, 2010 by undergroundfisherman in Sport
Tags: , , ,
David James by jkr1812.

David James - possibly playing his last game ever

Facing financial ruin and a mass exodus of players, this Saturday’s FA Cup Final is effectively the last time this Portsmouth squad will ever play together. Many players are out of contract at the end of the season, and manager Avram Grant has been linked to the newly-vacant West Ham job. All of this spells trouble for the south-coast side, who lifted this trophy a mere two years ago.

So much has gone wrong since then, the club are approximately £135 million in debt, a figure which made them the first Premiership club to ever go into administration. This is in stark contrast to their opponents, Chelsea, who seem to have unlimited funds, despite similar debt levels. There is no doubt that the gap between the top clubs and the lower ones is growing rapidly.

A win for Pompey would be the stuff dreams are made of. Back in 2008, when they last won the FA Cup, 120,000 people lined the streets to welcome home their heroes. It seemed at that stage, that Pompey were a team on the up. They seemed to have cemented their place as a quality side; having just sold Sulley Muntari to Inter Milan for £16 million, but still holding onto players such as Niko Krancjar, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe, they were a side with strength in depth. They even had plans for a beautiful new stadium, designed by none other than acclaimed architects Herzog and DeMeuron.

It is hard to believe that only a couple of years ago, Portsmouth were planning to build this stadium.

In the time since then, however, all of the star players have left (Krancjar followed Harry Redknapp to Spurs for a paltry £2 million) and the club has sunk into terrible decline, and even have had trouble paying their players at times this season. One of the main causes has been overspending and poor planning. Between Chairman Sulaiman Al-Fahim, and (now former) CEO Peter Storrie, they have managed to take a successful club and turn it into the laughing stock of the Premiership. It is a situation which bears all the hallmarks of Leeds United, who managed to find themselves in much the same situation, and are only starting to pull themselves out of it now.

With all these troubles hanging over their heads, a day in Wembley will be the perfect occasion to forget about it all and just play football, and it wouldn’t be out of the question for them to cause an upset. Aruna Dindane, Jamie O’Hara and David James will all be somewhere else next season, but the quality they possess could well pose a challenge for their illustrious opponents, and what a story it would be if they did it, it could actually save them from going bankrupt. I don’t think there’s ever been a game like it…


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