Storrie to go as cuts begin at Portsmouth

Administrator promises to save club with range of money-saving measures

Avram Grant is staying as manager, but Peter Storrie is going, and the chief executive will not be alone. That was the immediate fall-out of Portsmouth's slide into administration yesterday with debts of £70m. The club will now incur a nine-point penalty, effectively condemning them to relegation as they will be 17 points short of safety. Nevertheless Grant, said the administrator, has promised to remain.

Not so Storrie, who as chief executive oversaw much of Portsmouth's period of excessive spending. He has talked of quitting for months but stayed, perhaps influenced by a salary which has topped £1m-a-year. He now says he will go when a new owner is found but, since his wages are likely to be one of the first targets of the administrator, Andrew Andronikou, who has pledged to cut "to the bone", he may be pushed before he jumps.

Andronikou, of insolvency firm UHY Hacker Young, told Pompey supporters, "I promise you we will save your club and take you forward" but initial comments suggested he was not entirely familiar with the peculiarities of football finance.

The administrator said he hoped to persuade the League at Thursday's board meeting not to impose the points deduction and to allow the club to sell players outside the transfer window, and hinted that player contracts could be terminated. There is, according to the League, "no chance" of the former and very little prospect of their going back on the last week's decision not to allow transfers. An exception could be allowing Portsmouth to arrange to sell players in the summer, and keep them on loan in the interim – if they can persuade buyers to agree. As for cancelling player's contracts, they are sacrosanct and can only be cancelled by mutual consent.

Since wages, along with interest repayments, are the main driver of the club's spiralling debts the administrators face a difficult task. On the credit side they will receive £5m from the League this season, and parachute payments totalling £32m in the next two years. In addition, said Andronikou, the main creditors, formner owners Alexandre Gaydamak and Balram Chainrai, want the club to remain alive which will help him achieve a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). But more problems lurk on the horizon. The Football League are reluctant to comment on their attitude to a team entering the Championship while in administration, or without a CVA in place, but the deduction of 10-15 points is possible.

The position is unclear as the case is unprecedented. Until now clubs who overreached themselves have at least had the decency to wait until they had been relegated from the Premier League to enter administration. That Portsmouth have not is something of an embarrassment for the "richest league in the world".

The League's view is that the implosion of a club which will have received more than £100m in TV payments by the end of this season is down to "rank bad management" compounded by some of those involved being more interested in what they could make from the club than in helping it. It is also confident that new measures which come into force next season will prevent a recurrence. These include an "early warning system" to flag up unsustainable expenditure, and a requirement that clubs do not roll over debts to other clubs or the taxman. It was the latter's winding-up petition, due to be heard in the High Court on Monday but now suspended, which forced Chainrai, the fourth and most reluctant owner this season, to put the 112-year-old club into administration.

Andronikou said he had "the responsibility of investigating the company's recent financial history, and if I find something untoward I will have to report it to the police," but added he was focusing on the future. To that end he will work though the list of potential buyers he has inherited but he stressed, "in view of the club's recent history I would like to make it clear we require up-front proof of funds, and references that will satisfy the Premier League and Football League's fit-and-proper person tests."

Pompey are not alone: Other crisis clubs

*Bournemouth: Eddie Mitchell, chairman, yesterday said he was confident the promotion-chasing League Two club would survive a winding-up petition to be heard on 31 March. The club owe £314,000 in tax but Mitchell said £100,000 would be paid soon.

*Chester City: The Conference yesterday expelled the bottom-placed club after it failed to fulfil its last two fixtures. Chester face a winding-up order on 10 March over a £26,125 tax bill and are currently for sale for £1.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future