Grant staying at Pompey as administrator pledges to cut 'to the bone'
AVRAM GRANT is staying as manager, but Peter Storrie is going, and the chief executive will not be alone. That was the immediate fall-out of Portsmouth's slide into administration yesterday with debts of £70m. The club will now incur a nine-point penalty, effectively condemning them to relegation as they will be 17 points short of safety. Nevertheless, the administrator said Grant has promised to remain.
Not so Storrie, who as chief executive oversaw much of Portsmouth's period of excessive spending. He has talked of quitting for months but stayed, perhaps influenced by a salary which has topped £1m-a-year. He now says he will go when a new owner is found but, since his wages are likely to be one of the first targets of the administrator, Andrew Andronikou, who has pledged to cut "to the bone", he may be pushed before he jumps.
Andronikou told Pompey fans: "I promise you we will save your club and take you forward" but initial comments suggested he was not entirely familiar with the peculiarities of football finance.
The administrator said he hoped to persuade the League at Thursday's board meeting not to impose the points deduction and to allow the club to sell players outside the transfer window, and hinted that player contracts could be terminated. There is, according to the League, "no chance" of the former and very little prospect of their going back on the last week's decision not to allow transfers. As for players' contracts, they are sacrosanct and can only be cancelled by mutual consent.
Since wages, along with interest repayments, are the main driver of the club's spiralling debts, the administrators face a difficult task. On the credit side they will receive £5m from the League this season, and parachute payments totalling £32m in the next two years. In addition, said Andronikou, the main creditors, former owners Alexandre Gaydamak and Balram Chainrai, want the club to remain alive, which will help him achieve a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The Football League were reluctant to comment on their attitude to a team entering the Championship while in administration, or without a CVA in place, but the deduction of 10-15 points is possible.
Andronikou said he had "the responsibility of investigating the company's recent financial history, and if I find something untoward I will have to report it to the police," but said he was focusing on the future. To that end he will work though the list of potential buyers but he stressed, "we require up-front proof of funds, and references that will satisfy the fit-and-proper person tests." (© Independent News Service)