Portsmouth hit new low as website shuts down

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The Independent Online

The extent of Portsmouth's financial difficulties were underlined today when the club confirmed their official website has been shut down.

Pompey's perilous financial position has resulted in their failure to maintain payments to Juicy, the company responsible for running www.portsmouthfc.co.uk.

A club spokesman said: "Our website is down because the club has failed to keep to the payment plan agreed with our service provider."

Supporters attempting to access www.portsmouthfc.co.uk are greeted with the message "Website Unavailable".

The website will continue to be offline until all outstanding payments have been made to Juicy, who have refused to comment on the matter.

It is a staggering development for a club that now has no direct means of communication with supporters, although the spokesman stated local media, radio and television will be used to make announcements.

The spectre of becoming the first Barclays Premier League club to enter administration looms large at Fratton Park with Portsmouth reported to be £60million in the red.

Player wages have gone unpaid, leading to fears of a walkout by disgruntled squad members, and the transfer embargo that has been in place since October has only just been lifted.

But it is the failure to maintain their financial commitments to a nuts-and-bolts part of the operation such as the website that really rams home the depth of the crisis.

Indeed, the cost of keeping the website running will pale into insignificance when compared to honouring the players' salaries yet even this minor part of the operation has suffered.

The Portsmouth Supporters Trust have reacted with dismay to the latest twist in a season of unrelenting bad news at Fratton Park.

The Trust's offer to make their website, www.pompeytrust.com, available for any announcements has been accepted by the Premier League's bottom placed club.

Spokesman Ken Malley admits it is clear the dire financial situation has deteriorated further.

"It's hard to explain how you feel as a Portsmouth supporter when it becomes apparent the website is down simply because they haven't paid the bills," he said.

"It's an ongoing tragedy and you dread to think where it will end.

"It's particularly worrying that something like the website has fallen by the wayside.

"On the scale of things one would have thought the rental on a website would cost peanuts when compared to other things that money has to be spent on.

"I'm really surprised Portsmouth's financial problems are affecting items of this nature."

Malley insists speculation over yet another takeover has failed to dispel the gloom and is disappointed by the performance of new owner Ali Al-Faraj.

"We understand there are discussions with three separate parties regarding a takeover," he said.

"But when you've been through our recent past you become sceptical about everything.

"We've had four separate owners in four years and have been promised wonderful things each time.

"The current owner has never even visited the club, so there's no optimism over the prospect of having a new owner.

"The current lack of transparency is the big disappointment for supporters.

"Promises keep being broken and we're not being kept in the picture."

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