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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine