Sam Wallace: Ripples hit whole community

To read the administrator's report into the finances of Portsmouth, as revealed in
The Independent today, is to see the disaster that is this poor, benighted football club in wince-inducing detail.

Everything from the £2.074m owed to the Israeli "super-agent" Pini Zahavi and the £338,400 in unpaid wages and bonuses owed to Sylvan Distin to the £38 that Portsmouth owe the Football Association is there. It is the guts of a football club laid bare and the figures are staggering.

Inevitably, it is the smaller amounts among the £105m that catch the eye. What on earth was that unpaid bill for £14.84 owed to Trent Pottery and Furniture in Naresborough for? Who ran up the £40 bill to Pukka Pies? Why is the Ministry of Defence owed £626.92? There are similarities in Portsmouth's accounts to the great collapse of Leeds United when the bill for Peter Ridsdale's office fish tank became a matter of public record. Surely only calamitous Portsmouth could end up owing a Scout troop in Guernsey £697. The Groin and Hernia Clinic on Harley Street is owed £695. Most of these companies and individuals will be lucky if they see a quarter of their money.

There are sad stories in there too. St John Ambulance, a charity which provides a crucial first-aid service for fans on match day, is owed £2,701.91. That is money the organisation says it desperately needs. Even the local cash and carry is down £221.60.

The high-level sums make the headlines, but in every unpaid bill to a local supplier or school there is another story of how the collapse of a city's club can affect people in every walk of life. The players, clubs and agents owed money will be able to shrug and write it off. For the club's landladies, local picture framers, and Fruity Faces of Esher (Surrey's leading supplier of inflatable fruit carrying cases) the debt will be much harder to bear.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions