Grant backs Portsmouth to avoid relegation
Thursday 31 December 2009
Avram Grant is convinced Portsmouth still have what it takes to survive in the Barclays Premier League, despite a resounding 4-1 home defeat to Arsenal and more financial worries.
Pompey issued a statement yesterday denying the club had been formally served with a winding up petition by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in relation to disputed VAT, PAYE and National Insurance contributions of a reported £3.5million.
While that matter may yet be resolved in a High Court hearing early next month to avoid administration, Pompey continue to operate under a transfer embargo imposed by the Premier League and face an uphill battle to save themselves from relegation.
Sections of the Fratton Park faithful chanted "Where's all our money gone?" and vented their anger towards owner Ali Al Faraj as chants of "Sack the board" and "You're not fit to run a club" rang out around the ground.
The substitution of captain Aaron Mokoena was also cheered but former Chelsea boss Grant insists all is not lost.
"When we get onto the pitch the players are trying to do their best. I know the board are trying their best," he said. "I hope to have some funds [in January].
"Even if it's a difficult situation, the team can stay in the league.
"One month ago we were seven points off safety, now we are four, but we need to do something.
"I feel the supporters are behind us and they are good for the team.
"The fans were here before any player, manager or owner, and they will stay after, so we need to do our best for the fans.
"I know there are problems off the pitch, but I cannot say anything about this.
"I have sympathy for the fans. We are trying to do our best for them. The situation is not easy."
Portsmouth are set to lose several players to the African Nations Cup, including goalscorer Nadir Belhadj, while there are reports the club could be forced to sell key men like England goalkeeper David James to stay afloat.
However, Grant said: "All the players in the team need to stay and I think the board know that.
"From the football side we need the players to stay and we need to make the team stronger.
"I know what the team needs to stay in the league and I'm sure we can do that."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had sympathy for Portsmouth's plight on a day when it was announced Roman Abramovich has all but wiped out Chelsea's £340million debt by turning an interest-free loan into shares.
Wenger said: "Professional football is about winning and balancing the budget.
"That is the basic rule and one which I fought for. All the rest is half cheating.
"I don't speak about what has happened here, but that is what I am for.
"For every club it has to be the same, for Chelsea, for everybody. I always pleaded for financial fair play."
Latest in Sport
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
Brazil vs Germany match report World Cup 2014: Utter humiliation for hosts as Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos help Germany hit seven past Selecao
Pornhub pleads with users to stop uploading videos of Brazil 'getting f**ked by Germany' in World Cup match
Netherlands vs Argentina match report World Cup 2014: Messi and Robben fail to shine as Sergio Romero breaks Dutch hearts
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: Heartbreaking photos show home fans reacting to humiliating defeat
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories