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â€¢ Trevor Birch says club only has enough funds to last until April
â€¢ ‘This could be the first big club which fails to fulfil its fixtures’
Stricken Portsmouth Football club will run out of money before the end of the season and fail to fulfil their Championship fixtures if no new funds arrive, the club’s administrator, Trevor Birch, has warned.
In a strongly worded statement aimed partly at raising the alarm and prompting potential buyers to come forward, Birch, of accountants PKF, said Portsmouth only have money to last until April. They will not receive any further parachute payments because Â£2.2m due from the Premier League following the club’s relegation in 2010 must be paid to the club’s previous owner but five, Alexandre Gaydamak.
“This could be the first big club which fails to fulfil its fixtures and has to be wound up,” Birch warned. “There is not enough money, and the Premier League and Football League have confirmed no parachute payment money will come to the club. I do not have people interested in buying the club currently knocking my door down to do the deal.”
According to the settlement made when Portsmouth went into administration last time, only two years ago, the Â£2.2m was guaranteed to be paid to Gaydamak, who had paid off an overdraft of similar size which the club owed to Barclays Bank.
Ashley Brown, the chairman of the Pompey Supporters Trust, said he did not understand why Birch had raised it as a major issue now, when it was known about before the club fell into administration again. Birch, however, said he has instructed lawyers to challenge Gaydamak having security for that Â£2.2m; Birch argues it should have been formally registered as a mortgage at Companies House.
Birch also repeated his exasperation with the previous administrator, Andrew Andronikou of Hacker Young, who he said has retained Â£300,000 â€“ Andronikou has said the figure is Â£200,000 â€“ for his own and lawyers’ fees.
Andronikou has been appointed as the administrator of Portsmouth’s holding company, Convers Sports Initiative, which was owned by the Russian banker Vladimir Antonov, whose arrest in Lithuania for alleged bank fraud â€“ which he denies â€“ has plunged Portsmouth into its latest existence-threatening crisis.
Before Portsmouth’s current administration, Â£800,000 was transferred from the club to Andronikou for safe-keeping. Then, after he was not appointed as the administrator for the club, he deducted his fees from that money. Birch said he is consulting lawyers to see whether he can reclaim it.
“We will make contact with anyone we believe could be a serious bidder for the club,” Birch said. “They will need to be prepared to make a major investment, because the wages of the players taken on means the club will lose between Â£8m and Â£10m next year. This is what it has come to: Portsmouth could go into liquidation.”