Administrator refuses to give up hope on Pompey

By Gordon Tynan
Sunday 23 October 2011 05:33

Portsmouth's struggle to bring an end to their long-running financial turmoil took another peculiar twist last night, when the club released a statement claiming they were on the brink of liquidation only for the administrator to insist that they can still save the Championship strugglers.

Pompey's statement pointed the finger of blame at former owner and creditor Alexandre Gaydamak, accusing the Russian businessman of "moving the goalposts" as the club attempted to reach agreement with all creditors to move out of administration.

But within a couple of hours the saga had taken another twist, with the administrator, Andrew Andronikou, saying that the club's press release had been premature and that he expected negotiations to resume within the next 24 hours.

Andronikou said: "Contractual negotiations have stalled this afternoon but I am disappointed there has been a press release. I'm still hopeful that we can sit down over the next 24 hours and agree a way forward. This is a matter that has high emotion as the club is very close to the city, but I want to emphasise that in 24 hours we will be back on track and, hopefully, we can get this matter finally concluded.

"We are as close to coming out of administration as going into liquidation. It's a fine balance and I want to say as little as possible at the moment."

Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to enter administration in February, and the subsequent nine-point penalty left them with no hope of surviving relegation from the top flight.

Manager Avram Grant left in the summer to join West Ham, to be replaced by Steve Cotterill, while a host of players departed Fratton Park.

The team made a slow start to the season but have hit form lately, winning four of their last five matches and drawing the other. And Andronikou is frustrated that last night's events will serve as a distraction from the club's Championship fixture against Hull at the KC Stadium today.

"I need consent from all parties [to conclude a deal]. Mr Gaydamak is an integral part of this process as he is a secured creditor," he said.

"I think we have a way to go before talking about putting this club into liquidation. The last thing we wanted was for this was to come out before a game and I am on the radio to dispel the belief that we are going to go into liquidation.

"We're here to safeguard the club, to realise as much money as we can for our creditors, and liquidation is our very last position on the matter. We have to get around the table again."

However, Andronikou revealed that if a resolution to the current impasse cannot be reached by the early stages of next week, then liquidation could become a real possibility.

"We need to get closure by Monday or Tuesday," he said. "We have been running with this for the last week or two. The foundations have been laid, we have the agreement of generally all parties and we have one final obstacle to clear.

"At some point we have to make a decision as to whether there is a way forward. We have to deal with the problem at hand. But I am fully confident that we will get a solution on this matter."

A Football League spokesman last night insisted that today's Championship match at Hull will go ahead. He said: "The league is continuing to monitor the situation."

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