Pompey’s new owners are left to foot £6.72m bill to former players

Fratton Park
Fratton Park

THE precise unwanted legacy left by Portsmouth Football Club’s former owners has been revealed

in documents lodged with Companies House.

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust and other local businessmen who now own the club have been left with a £6.72m bill owed to ex-players.

Under the football creditors’ rule, the 25 players have to be paid their compromise agreements in full, while local businesses also owed money by the club will get only a small proportion of what is outstanding to them.

Pompey went into administration twice – first in 2010 and then in 2012 – and that is what has left the club still paying the price from previous regimes.

Tal Ben Haim is among six former players who between them received £1.4m from Pompey last month.

In total the club has to pay out £6.72m to 25 ex-Blues by July 2016 in order to comply with administration rules.

Pompey started to pay that figure back from May this year.

At least £108,449.70 has to be found by Pompey each month for the next 35 months to pay its debt.

That money will come from a series of so-called parachute payments, handed to former top-flight outfits like Pompey by the Premier League.

Sources close to the club said the debt could have been much worse, had the Professional Footballers’ Association not brokered compromise deals.

The players themselves helped out, with some agreeing to walk away from lucrative contracts to help save the club from liquidation.

One source said: ‘Without that deal Pompey could not have gone ahead and bought the club, or had the money to buy the stadium and repay the council’s loan.’

Businesses owed money from the 2012 administration will get only a fraction, and the creditors from 2010 will get even less.

The football creditors’ rule has for years angered the tax man.

Lisa Billard, of HMRC’s southern region, said: ‘Our view remains that the Football Creditor Rule is unfair to all other unsecured creditors who are forced to make do with much smaller returns – if anything – on monies owed to them by Football Clubs which enter administration.’

And creditors agree.

Steve Bone, who is owed money from both periods of administration for work he did on the Pompey programmes, said: ‘As a fan and a creditor I think what angers me most is not how much we were over-spending before we went into administration, but how much we were over-spending during and after that first administration.

‘We were making the same mistakes again.

‘Pompey couldn’t even pay their small bills and they were off running up larger ones.’

Similarly, former stadium announcer Paul Bunker is still owed money by the club.

He said: ‘Without any players there isn’t a football club but without the businesses that surrounds the club it won’t exist either. It all goes hand in hand.

‘You would hope the business people who might not have much money would be treated the same as players.’