Storrie - Pompey deal close

Chief executive claims he has been threatened

Last updated: 21st February 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Storrie - Pompey deal close

Storrie: Takeover talks

Hindsight is a great thing and when I look back perhaps I should have done more to address the situation. But I am simply an employee of the club and I only carry out the instructions of the owner.

Peter Storrie.
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Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie is hoping to secure a rescue package for the stricken club on Monday.

Pompey are on the brink of financial meltdown and are due back in the High Court at the start of next month facing a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs over a multi-million pound unpaid tax bill.

The Fratton Park outfit's overall debts are reported to be in the region of £60million and they saw one potential lifeline taken away on Saturday when the Premier League rejected their request to sell players outside the transfer window.

Storrie has been locked in negotiations with a group from South Africa over a proposed takeover - which would make them the club's fifth owners of the season - and believes a deal could soon be done.

He told ESPN: "The South African consortium is the one I have been talking to quite heavily this week. Fingers crossed, we can do a deal on Monday and I am very hopeful.

"The owner, Balram Chainrai, has stayed in the country to do a deal on Monday if we receive the documentation from them.

"Mr Chainrai has actually written off £10million of his own money with a possibility of getting it back over the next 10 or 15 years. It is a very, very honourable thing to do."

Serious threats

Storrie claims he has been threatened by Pompey fans angered by the scheme to sell players outside the transfer window, and even stated that the idea was first mooted by the Premier League.

And he has rejected suggestions that the club would be better served by going into administration, insisting that manager Avram Grant remains confident that the eight-point gap to safety can be bridged in the remaining 12 games.

He added: "I personally had very serious threats from supporters of the club about assaults on me personally. There has been a lot of abuse against me and my family because the fans think I was the one who put this proposal forward.

"It categorically was not me. The Premier League's decision is surprising because the idea came from them in the first place. The suggestion was put to us that this was worth doing.

"Avram is still confident we can get out of this and we have a good squad of players. We don't want to lose 10 points, we want to stay up."

Storrie has also intimated that Portsmouth were being run in a way which was not uncommon to other Premier League sides and that their problems emerged while previous owner Sacha Gaydamak was looking to sell the club.

Allegations made against Gaydamak's father, Arcadi, over illegal arms deals in Africa led to the banks helping finance the club to demand repayment of the money they were owed, according to Storrie.

Hindsight

He said: "Naturally there are lessons to be learned from what has gone on at Portsmouth but fundamentally the club was run no differently than Chelsea, whereby we had owners supporting substantial debt.

"What would have happened to Chelsea if Roman Abramovich had walked out on the club or not written off substantial loans he had made to the club?

"The adverse publicity surrounding Sacha's father Arcadi sent the banks who provided us with overdraft facilities into meltdown. Standard Bank and Barclays demanded total repayment of their overdrafts.

"Had that not been the case we wouldn't be in the situation we are in now. Overnight we had to find nearly £50million as well as sustain the running of the club. Players had to be sold - we had no choice.

"Hindsight is a great thing and when I look back perhaps I should have done more to address the situation. But I am simply an employee of the club and I only carry out the instructions of the owner.

"Our financial problems increased when we had a succession of owners who didn't have the money to run the club, borrowed against the assets and put us in more debt."