Portsmouth Crisis Demonstrates Crash Course of Premiership

March 4, 2010 at 5:42 am | Posted in General Football | 1 Comment

Watching Portsmouth crumble and fall recently has been very difficult.  Pompey is a wonderful club, whose fans are true football fans.  They don’t support their team because it wins all the time but because they love football and because they take pride in the team that represents their city.   They have a small ground which holds not much more than 20,000 fans.  Pompey have had a succession of owners who, like many clubs in the Premiership, have struggled along through massive debt and speculation on the value of their teams projected future worth and earnings.

While I, like millions of fans around the world, love the Premiership, the demise of Pompey is sounding alarm bells. While the succession of Portsmouth owners  have made bad financial decisions, it is clear this could happen to a number of Premiership teams, and the fact that one of its teams is sinking into administration brings shame to the Premiership. The financial folly is reflected not just in the small clubs, but in the big ones as well.  All-conquering Manchester United have debts in excess of 600 million pounds.

What seems to be encouraged in football ownership in England is the model of the fabulously wealthy owner who has a massive pool of capital to sink into the club.  The model is Chelsea’s Russian Oil Oligarch Roman Abramovich.   Chelsea do not run their club as a business.  If Chelsea were to run its team only upon the receipts of the club, and on a reasonable debt, they might not be in the Premiership at all.  Chelsea’s owner is willing to simply burn through his massive pile of cash to purchase the best players.   Manchester City now has similar owners.   While investing and going into debt are all a part of running a business, there has to be some balance to it all.   Not all teams can have a Roman Abramovich, nor can this be expected in the future.  This creates a distorted system in which rich teams simply devour smaller ones on the pitch.  It creates an essentially unfair competition in which teams are really playing in different universes even though they are supposed to be competing for the same prize.

It is time to get away from this insane unregulated system.  It not only is affecting the Premiership, but the entire football world by inflating the transfer market to ridiculous levels.  It is a wonder to me how football fans in England show up to the park year after year only to see the same teams winning year after year.  There is a lack of parity which simply would not be accepted in the North American sports market.   How good will football be when smaller clubs disappear and the top clubs only have themselves to play against?

Michel Platini, president of UEFA,  is right to try to introduce some financial rules into the football world to try to prevent teams from spending beyond their means.   When a team like Pompey goes under, it is not good for football.   It is time the Premiership brought financial matters under control for the good of the game.


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  1. As for Portsmouth, I believe a few years ago, they bucked the trend by winning the FA Cup. I think Harry Redknapp is one of the best coaches around. Too bad, there are also rumours about him, bungs and of course, he’s being taken to court on some tax issues. I hope he comes out fine. To me he’s ideal and really doing well at Tottenham.

    And the big rival of Portsmouth is anyone?? Southampton, if I have it correctly, the Saints who they ended up playing in this year’s FA Cup and defeating, I guess they are still in this year’s FA Cup from what I know. Obviously, Portsmouth is going to be relegated. A recent book is “Bloody Confused”, an American goes over to England and Portsmouth also known as Pompey that is, is the club he ends up following. Not a masterpiece but not bad reading. The one thing I take with it is mainly that Portsmouth has barely ever been in the top flight in their long history. Cool logo too with the moon.

    Yes, I don’t mind foreign owners within certain limits. I don’t think the guy up at Man City has been that good for football or some of the others such as at Pompey. I’m a bit divided concerning Abramovich but maybe all of these players getting in trouble with their philandering, Cole and Terry is a symptom of all that money going around. On the other hand, former Irish International Tony Cascarino (Full Time, now that is a really good sports book if you get past the first 30 pages) played for Chelsea under Glenn Hoddle and it seems there has long been a bit of a wild culture there.

    Sorry for the rant, I finally am getting to watch the DVD ‘The Damned United” about Clough, the book is a good introduction of what one sees in the movie. I haven’t finished the movie yet, but the movie seems better than the book. In the book, well, Cloughie self-destructs a bit, kind of dissapointing though the destruction in the book seemed in part from a real problem with alcoholism Clough suffered from, that’s a big part of the book too. In the movie, I’m seeing more of a heroic figure so far.

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