Grant backs Portsmouth to avoid relegation

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."

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor