The laughter which greeted Mark Catlin’s playing budget revelation was provoked by disbelief rather than a desire to mock.
Certainly, Pompey’s chief executive had not anticipated such a reaction while in Portugal at the Football League AGM last weekend.
The Blues’ playing budget is around the £1.2m mark, although Catlin is tight-lipped on the precise figure.
Regardless, he believes there are at least four or five League Two clubs spending more. By a considerable distance at that.
Fleetwood, Newport County, Bristol Rovers and Chesterfield are some leading the way when it comes to budgets for the approaching season.
So when Catlin divulged a sum which plants his club in a tightly-packed mid-table, others raised their eyebrows.
This from a club which occupied the Premier League in May 2010.
The chief executive, though, refuses to be embarrassed about the new direction the club is following.
He said: ‘People from other clubs still think we are massive and when I tell them our budget they don’t believe me!
‘There was a famous comment from a chairman in League One when we talked about our respective budgets.
‘He responded with “well that’s for the five-a-side team – what’s your real budget?”.
‘There is a general disbelief of what we are working under in regards the budget.
‘The perception of Pompey is a few years ago they were winning the FA Cup and in the Premier League. Surely they can’t be on that budget?
‘The problem with a lot of the other clubs is they have rich owners, even at League Two level.
‘To own and run a League Two club on a relatively small gate you cannot just be a millionaire, you have to be a multi-millionaire.
‘Most of these clubs, even small ones, are operating on million-pound plus losses which are either being propped up by the owner, a cup run or a player sale.
‘A lot of clubs go into the start of the season knowing they are going to lose a million-pound plus.
‘At Pompey that is not the model, we want to be self-sustaining so our budget is basically what we can afford.’
It seems ridiculous Pompey are already the bookies’ favourite for the title.
Especially when others have bigger outlays.
Catlin added: ‘There is a fall in sales and sponsorships at a lot of clubs generally but there are a few big spenders in this league.
‘Fleetwood have a very rich owner willing to put a lot of money in, while Newport have a lottery multi-millionaire in charge and will have a go.
‘There’s a lot of talk Bristol Rovers are pushing the boat out – and Chesterfield are spending a little bit.
‘There are four or five that are well, well in excess of us.
‘Then you have probably got 15 or 16 clubs that sit in that middle pack – and Pompey are in that.’