Pompey close to folding as Redknapp offers help


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The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp has said he will try to help save his former club Portsmouth from oblivion. The League One club have been set a deadline of 10 August by the administrator Trevor Birch to have their finances in order or face going out of business.

The former Pompey manager Redknapp intends to speak to Nwankwo Kanu, who is claiming £3m in unpaid wages, to see if he can persuade the former Arsenal and Portsmouth striker to come to a compromise.

"I will be ringing Kanu today to see if there is anything I can do," he said.

Defender Tal Ben Haim is also owed a similar amount and Redknapp said: "In the case of Tal Ben Haim, if players have a contract and are owed money, you can see why they think they should get it. But if the club closes down they won't get a penny. They need to think hard about that."

Redknapp spent five seasons at Fratton Park from 2002-08, guiding the club to an FA Cup win in 2008. "Portsmouth has got to be saved. It's a great club with great traditions," he said.

The Pompey Supporters' Trust, which is attempting to buy the stricken club, has urged Portsmouth's players to meet trust representatives and agree a deal. Just seven senior players remain at the club but Birch said on Tuesday that only three or four had not agreed to a compromise.

The players, who are treated as "football creditors" and must be paid, lose all such rights under liquidation and will be treated as ordinary unsecured creditors. If the club goes into liquidation it will also lose its league position, and its right to the £11m of parachute payments from the Premier League.

The PST has been working on its bid for four months and has raised what it calls a "substantial seven-figure sum". "We are ready and able to see this process through and buy the club. We have made a good offer and are making good progress in raising funds," said the chairman, Ashley Brown.

"The one remaining hurdle is the payment of football creditors, but if they don't shift we simply cannot do a deal outside liquidation."