Executive Director Mark Jacob has revealed the new owners are doing all that they can to ensure the club’ survival, both on and off-the-pitch.
Many conspiracy theories have developed in the past few weeks with the darkest suggesting club owner Ali Al Faraj was stripping the club’s assets to recuperate money. Upon receiving his money, Faraj would then walk out the back door and put the club through administration.
However, Jacob denounced this theory, stating that he and the board had the club’s best interests at heart.
Speaking to truebluearmy.com Jacob said: “Why do you think the club has a problem? It goes back to Al Fahim, Gaydamak and beyond. The new owner has only been at the club since October and it is a pity he wasn’t able to take it over in the summer as planned.”
Regardless of the fact Al Faraj took over in October, in my opinion, he should have had the finance in place to take on these massive debts. It was well-reported in the media how disastrous the debts were at the club. To take over a football club without the adequate wealth is a tad naive.
Nevertheless, Jacob argued the Saudi businessman had enough money to pay off the Standard Bank loan and enough for transfer money during the summer.
He said: “There was finance in place to pay off the Standard Bank loan and there was still time in the transfer window. Al Fahim came in and unfortunately that didn’t happen. When we arrived there were some serious issues and we are addressing them with swift and firm action.”
Rather than blame the current administration, Jacob has been quick to blame the former owners of the club. Whatever can be said about the former owners, the staff were always paid on time. Not once did the PFA have to get involved before.
The accounts are now heavily being looked over with Jacob revealing the club had previously been paying Champions League wages to some players (Thanks Peter, Harry and Sacha).
“Every invoice this club sent out is being looked at, including player agents. This club had been paying Champions League wages and for a club the size of Portsmouth that wasn’t right.
“With Avram (Grant) the new owners have given the club a chance (to survive) with short term money,” stated Jacob.
Surprisingly, Jacob doesn’t believe he should have contacted fans earlier, despite fans wanting honesty and transparency from the club.
“With a smaller club like Portsmouth, it’s not like Manchester United after all, it might be in the future the owners would want to work with something like a supporters’ trust.
“I was involved in one at Spurs ten years ago and I was active in getting Alan Sugar out, so I know about fan protests,” he answered.
The Portsmouth Trust is hoping to establish itself officially by early February. A board will be elected by those who join and will serve a two-year term before being re-elected. Non-executive chairman Sulaiman Al Fahim has already offered his 10% share of the club to the trust for absolutely no profit, yet it remains to be seen if it will come to fruition.
Regarding the appointment of convicted fraudster Daniel Azougy, Jacob advised that the man should be given a second chance.
“He was appointed by the owner. I didn’t know about it until I read it in The Sun. His crimes were sometime ago and in another jurisdiction (Israel). People should get a second chance.
“He reports to me and doesn’t sign any cheques. Besides, I would rather have Azougy fighting for Portsmouth Football Club than against it.”
The idea Jacob found out about Azougy in The Sun suggests an immediate lack of communication throughout the club.
While Jacob does his best to cool down the threat of planned protests, the interviews he’s giving do not suggest an immediate end to our financial struggles. It sounds like the club are living on a prayer, or rather hope.
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