Fahim out as new buyer circles Pompey
Tuesday 23 February 2010
Portsmouth have accepted Sulaiman al-Fahim's resignation from the board as the club continue to battle for survival, with the chief executive, Peter Storrie, suggesting that a sale to a South African group is imminent.
Portsmouth were left mystified as to why Fahim posted his "private and confidential" resignation as non-executive chairman on a public website before informing the club of his intentions. Fahim's resignation letter was posted on the web, with the former board member claiming he had not been made aware of the club's financial situation despite repeated requests.
Storrie, meanwhile, has been meeting representatives of the South African consortium reportedly interested in buying the club. He insists talks are at an advanced stage and expects to see proof of funds shortly.
"They [the consortium] have provided proof of funds through a lawyer, but we need to see it from a bank – we need to see it, the Premier League need to see it, everyone needs to see it," he said.
While he remains hopeful a deal can be done before the club's next day in the High Court on 1 March, Storrie is less happy over insinuations that the club's cash has been misappropriated in some way. He attacked veiled allegations that something untoward has occurred at Fratton Park. TV coverage over the weekend raised questions about the money generated by the club.
All the figures have been declared to the courts and to the potential South African buyers, with a deal possible in the next 48 hours. "If you want to know where the money has gone, look at the accounts," declared Storrie. "It's no secret, we've had the report submitted to the courts. It's there for all to see. The bulk of the money has gone to the players in wages. The cost of the players' wages this year is £37m. Last season, when it was running at its height, it was £52m, and the year before it was £42m.
"It's all very well for Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson to look perplexed about where the money has gone by showing a chart of the players we've bought and looking at that £75m and adding £70m of debt and asking 'where's the £150m gone?'.
"In that period we bought £50m-plus worth of players and paid out their salaries. The list showed one player sold for £18m, but they never took off the £4m sell-on fee to Arsenal or the fact that we paid £4m for him, so in reality we were paid £10m not £18m."
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