Portsmouth nearly bankrupt

(BBC) – Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie has admitted the club came close to going into administration ‘a couple of times.’

Pompey, who were bought by Sulaiman Al Fahim last week, have sold a series of star names in the last few months in an attempt to balance the books

Storrie said Pompey had been living “way outside our means”.

Asked about going into administration, he told BBC Radio 5 live: “On a couple of occasions it got very close.”

Storrie added: “It’s something I was personally fighting very heavily against but at the end of the day you can only ask people so many times to give you a little longer to pay things.

“Some of the football clubs and the Revenue and agents were being absolutely fantastic, and doing a lot of it on my name really and saying ‘OK, we’ll do it for you Peter’.

‘They were being very, very understanding, but even they, rightly so, were getting to the point of saying ‘how many more times can we do this?’

“I really do want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all those people who helped us so much to get us into this position so we’re now going forward.”

Portsmouth won the 2008 FA Cup final under previous boss Harry Redknapp and qualified for the Uefa Cup.

But the spiralling wage bill and relatively small attendances at the 20,000-capacity Fratton Park have forced the sale of the likes of Glen Johnson, Peter Crouch and Sylvain Distin, although the club made several signings before the end of the transfer window.

Storrie, who praised the “terrific job” done by manager Paul Hart under difficult circumstances, also confirmed he would be staying at Fratton Park despite failing with a takeover bid of his own, with Alexandre Gaydamak preferring to finally sell to Al Fahim at the end of August.

“I’ve enjoyed my seven-and-a-half years here and I feel there’s a job yet to be done,” said Storrie.

“I’m hoping this change of ownership will give us the funds, at long last, to do the stadium and the training ground.

“I just want to see this through now, make sure we stay in the Premiership this year and push on with these two big capital projects.”

Storrie also denied he was disappointed not to succeed with his own takeover attempt, with Al Fahim finally taking control after a drawn-out process.

“It was never a personal disappointment,” insisted Storrie. “All I was doing was the same I was doing with Sacha [Gaydamak].

“It was me that brought Sulaiman in in the first place to Sacha three months ago. All I did was bring another party in because, obviously, at that time it looked like it was dragging on and it wasn’t going to get concluded, so it wasn’t a disappointment in that way.

“My disappointment was how it was actually dealt with by Sacha at the end, but that’s gone now and it’s in the past.

“We move forward now. It was really just putting in another party so if Sulaiman couldn’t do it there was someone else that was there to do it.”