Judgement day for crisis-hit Portsmouth

Portsmouth could be liquidated on Friday after 114 years as a football club.
Portsmouth could be liquidated on Friday after 114 years as a football club. Photo: PA

Portsmouth could be liquidated on Friday after 114 years as a football club - although administrator Trevor Birch remains "cautiously optimistic" they will survive.

Birch set the deadline of August 10 to clear all the senior players off the wage bill or he would have to close the club down.

A major obstacle was removed yesterday when defender Tal Ben Haim - on a reported £36,000 a week - reached a compromise agreement and left Fratton Park.

Midfielder Liam Lawrence is therefore the only senior player left on Pompey's books and Birch hopes to make an announcement on his future soon, while talks are ongoing with former striker Kanu after he left with a year remaining on his contract.

Therefore, negotiations with former owner Balram Chainrai's company Portpin over their takeover should take place over the next few days.

"We expect to make an announcement on Liam Lawrence's future later and, whilst the situation with Kanu has not yet been resolved, we are cautiously optimistic about our prospects," said Birch.

"The progress we have made over the past 24 hours means there is now a much better prospect of meeting the conditions of the CVA (company voluntary agreement), completing the sale of the club and avoiding liquidation.

"As a result, we will now push on with our negotiations with Portpin, with a view to finalising a deal in the next few days.

"There is still more to do, and the club's future is not yet guaranteed, but we're in a stronger position and will now take some additional time to try to conclude matters."

It also emerged yesterday that Portsmouth Council have agreed to loan rival bidders, the Pompey Supporters' Trust, £1.45million towards their proposal to buy the club.

If they still exist, Portsmouth will begin the npower League One campaign next weekend on minus 10 points and are due to start their season with a Capital One Cup clash against Plymouth on Tuesday.