Peter Storrie open to Portsmouth return

 

Portsmouth's former chief executive Peter Storrie has expressed his desire to return to the club.

Having assumed the role in 2002, when Pompey were struggling in the second tier, Storrie played a part in guiding the club to the Premier League the following year.

In 2008 came the pinnacle of Portsmouth's success as they won the FA Cup for the first time since 1939. Within two years, however, they became the first Premier League club to enter administration.

Undeterred by the travails of his previous involvement at Fratton Park, Storrie is keen to go back to the club who are sitting second-bottom of the npower Championship and once more in administration.

"My wife would say never in 100 years but my heart tells me yes," the 59-year-old told BBC Sport.

"The criticism I've received hasn't been from all the supporters. I've had a lot of support from people who understand what happened.

"At the end of the day, you can only do what the owners ask you to do.

"I brought the club a lot of success."

That success started in 2003 when Portsmouth finished top of what is now the Championship under the management of Harry Redknapp. The former West Ham boss led them to a 13th in the Premier League but left in November of the following season for south-coast rivals Southampton.

His return in December 2005 came just before the arrival of Alexandre Gaydamak, whose financial backing allowed Redknapp to strengthen the squad and guide Pompey to safety.

Gaydamak continued to plough funds into the playing staff, with the likes of Sulley Muntari, Niko Krancjar, John Utaka, Jermain Defoe and David Nugent commanding fees totalling over £30million.

The investment facilitated cup success with the 1-0 win over Cardiff at Wembley in 2008 and also enabled the club to embark on its maiden voyage into European football in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup.

But when the well ran dry and Gaydamak's support was withdrawn, the club's future was thrown into doubt as ownership changed hands three times in one tumultuous season, which ended in relegation.

Despite acting as a key protagonist in bringing in two of Portsmouth's failed owners, Al Fahim and Ali Al Faraj, Storrie distances himself from any responsibility.

"I did all the checks you can do - more checks than the league did - and it all came out that they were multimillionaires and the club would be safe," he said.

"How do you know when you can't get to the bottom of it?"

While Al Fahim's credibility as the chief executive of a high-profile business in Abu Dhabi seemed assured, the same could not be said for Al Faraj.

"I still don't know if he exists," Storrie added. "I'm told by his representatives that he exists and I dealt with them personally, as did the Premier League."

Last year Storrie was acquitted on charges of tax fraud in relation to the transfers of Amdy Faye and Eyal Berkovic to Portsmouth, but, despite all the upheaval, Storrie has fond memories of his time there.

"I had eight of the most enjoyable years of my life at Portsmouth. It's a fantastic club," he added.

"There is a potential development scheme there and the club has already proven it can hold its own in the Premier League. There's no reason it can't do that again.

"I just hope there is somebody out there to take the club forward."

PA

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