Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Who do you think you are kidding Aston Villa if you think financial results are good?

February 2012 and not for the first time Portsmouth FC find themselves in administration and not for the first time in their well documented recent troubled past. The only difference this time is they are joined by some more illustrious counterparts north of the border in the shape of Glasgow giants Rangers. I’ve been saying it for some time now that the football bubble is going to burst, that the current levels of spending cannot be maintained. The worrying sign is that no one really seems to be heeding the warning signs and clubs are like the blind following the blind with only a few showing any signs of financial negligence if any at all. At a time where income into the English Premier League is at an all time high, how is it that only Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal have anything coming close to a business model that seems sustainable over the long term?

An equally worrying sign is that despite being in poor financial health, some clubs genuinely don’t see it as a problem. Take for example Aston Villa who today posted annual losses of £53.9 million. Their bosses insist they are satisfied with the club’s financial position. Whilst that figure doesn’t include the money raised from the sales of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing it does come at a time where Villa’s income had actually increased by 1.3% to a record £92 million. So not taking into account the sums received for the two players, the operating costs for the financial year would stand at £145.9 million. No offence to the staff and followers of Aston Villa, but you would from a neutral point of view state the opinion that this is a club looking to secure mid table security at best, certainly aiming to avoid a relegation dog fight and certainly not a side that look capable of kicking on and securing a European birth anytime soon under the new stewardship of Alex McLeish. Remember Martin O’Neill walked away from the manager’s job over the issue of finance and if huge strides are not made soon to curb their spending then that figure of debt will be maintained and surely cannot be sustained when income levels are at a record high already.

What makes interesting reading are the comments of Chief financial officer Robin Russell who was quoted as saying; "Given the challenging economic environment we're pleased with positive trends in our financial performance." 

“The board of Aston Villa are confident that the actions taken since the end of the 2010-11 financial year have galvanised the long-term sustainability of the club.”

Reading that from a neutral’s perspective reminds me of the comments made by the ex-CEO at Portsmouth Peter Storrie who was stunned when the contracts he had drawn up for the players signed during his tenure had resulted  in the club having to pay out millions in bonuses when they won the FA Cup. He seemed genuinely bemused that a squad of highly paid internationals was capable of bringing silver wear to the club. I mean what were the chances of that? Sadly it seems there wasn’t the slightest glimmer or an inclining that this could possible happen. Some of the contracts contain such wonderful creative pieces of writing that even JK Rowling is jealous and even now the impact of such contracts is felt when you realise that despite having the smallest playing squad in the league they have one of the largest wage bills in the Championship. I’d be genuinely surprised if at least a few players didn’t receive huge bonuses for winning the Asia Cup but then again nothing would surprise me anymore after Peter Storrie received win bonuses alongside the players. I do however wonder if he’s got any goals in him because let’s face it we need someone to get on the score sheet with Kitson again firing blanks; perhaps it stems from the fact his hair if the colour akin to a jaffa?

Villa’s overall loss of £53.9 million for the year up to the 31st of May 2011 represents a 46.87% increase from £37.6 million, a rise of £16.3 million. Whilst Villa’s commercial income had increased by 15.9% year on year, the club had been impacted heavily by the change in management which cost the club £12 million and the record purchase of striker Darren Bent. No one remind the Villa fans how long he will be out injured for after being stretchered off over the weekend.

So in two years the club has managed to post a total loss of £90.6 million. Whilst I’m sure there will be no marquee signings during the summer for Aston Villa, the club really will have its work cut out as it attempts to start to begin to get its finances under control and work towards a brighter financial footing whatever the Chief Financial Officer has to say on the matter.

However it’s not all doom and gloom in the Premier League when Arsenal  reported a rise in profits to £49.5 million yesterday following on from Sunday’s on the pitch 5-2 demolition of North London rivals Tottenham.  The profit for the six months to the end of November, compares with a loss during the same period in 2010 of £6.1 million.

Player trading, including the sales of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas had helped bring in some £41.6 million and the figures saw Arsenal’s cash reserves rise to £115.2 million up from £110.4 million. Turnover from football also rose to £113.5 million from £97.6 million. Whilst supporters call for investment after a period of seven success seasons without winning a trophy in any major competition, unlike some Premier League rivals, the club is keen to point out that despite a healthy balance sheet, that not all the money is available for spending on new players; a prudent and strong financial decision even if it doesn’t help appease some of the fans in my opinion.

During the week I was posed the question by ex-Pompey player and manager turned BBC pundit Steve Claridge whether I would swap Porstmouth’s FA Cup win for financial security? My answer in a heartbeat was yes. I’m sure the large percentage of diehard fans would probably agree with me on the matter as well. So whilst I’m sure it’s hard as an Arsenal fan to want to see common sense prevailing when you’ve gone so long without winning a trophy, from our fans point of view we would largely swap in an instant to now be watching a talented young side playing attractive football with a strong financial position behind us then we would at being able to look back at one trophy win that was the pinnacle of what in reality has lead to an absolute disaster and warzone landing on our front door step for the footballing world to shake it’s head in disgust at, not just once but twice.

As a footballing fan the noises coming from inside Arsenal are refreshing and positive and other clubs should start to take note of what is being said. "It's important to understand that not all that money's available to invest in transfers," Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis was quoted as saying before adding; "We have running costs of the club, player salaries and so on, so that amount goes down during the year. We also have to keep something in reserve in case things don't go our way."
"We are proud of Arsenal's record and consistency over many seasons and have the foundations in place, at every level of the club, to ensure we remain a force in the seasons ahead," said chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

I’m sorry Mr Russell at Aston Villa, if I was a fan or either yourselves or Arsenal I know whose trust I would rather be putting my faith in over the past two days when it comes to talking about being happy with financial positions having announced two very differing sets of results. As a Pompey fan all I can do at my own club, like every other one of our great fans fan is to sit and hope and pray that we manage to survive until the end of the season at the very least and avoid relegation. Attempting to sustain Premiership costs on Championship income is one thing, trying to do the same if relegated doesn’t bare thinking about.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

If logic tells you a baby cannot be conceived by watching 3D porn what else can logic tell you?

If your faith and belief in a subject are so strong then any sense of logic can begin to disappear out of the window and any other views proposed including those with actual factual basis are readily ignored and dismissed with diminutive ease. If you want something to be true you can quite easily kid yourself with a strong sense of passion from within that what is happening is actually the case.

Unless your brain is focused and ready to deal with information on all levels to find an answer to a situation it will become your own worst enemy. If you don’t allow yourself to be moved from a path you’re taking that you believe is right then sadly you might miss a lot that’s right under your nose at that very moment in time and you might find you’ve walked too far down a path to change even when at the very last moment you see everyone else waving from afar. They’re all calling your name but you’ve become too far removed to hear or listen to what anyone else is saying.

In May 2010 the American media reported a story on a white woman who had a black baby who claimed she fell pregnant whilst watching a porn movie in 3D. According to reports, the child’s father who was white, was also serving in Iraq at the time of conception. He is quoted as saying “I see it as suspicious. The films in 3D are very real. With today’s technology, anything is possible.”

Now consider that story if you will. I am hoping that there isn’t one single person reading this that would consider the story to be true. Watching porn in 3D cannot get you pregnant. Getting drunk and having unprotected sex with a black man whilst your husband is away serving in Iraq however can.

When we are presented with information on a subject we’re not passionate about it’s a lot easier for the brain to digest and make clarity of what’s being reported. You’ll probably feel a level of pity for the poor guy for wanting to desperately believe so much that what he has been told is true. His love for his wife is obviously so strong that any logic and reason has gone out of the window. He desperately wants to believe what he is being told is the truth and that what’s presented to him is the only way it could have happened.

All it will take to change his mind is a bit of time and someone having a friendly word in his ear telling him not to be so much of an idiot. ‘3D porn cannot get you pregnant.’

The Bible teaches us of the immaculate conception; so if we know 3D porn cannot make someone pregnant then taking that logic and using it in another confine and space to look at another question would help us to see an answer to something else a lot more clearly.

If the Hebrew word almah meaning a young woman of marriageable age been mistranslated by someone into Greek as parthenos or virgin instead of the word Hebrew word bethulah which specifically means virgin, we could argue the case that a simple act of mistranslation has lead to one of the biggest faux pas’ in all of history. Because we know you cannot conceive though 3D porn we can now begin to logically claim that there is no logic to the immaculate conception other than an error in time. Its Chinese whispers gone wrong but on a Biblical scale.

So the more we actually think with a sense of rhyme and logic we can start to walk along a clearer path and chop away some of the foliage that is in our line of vision. Our friends stood behind us might become more audible to those making cries at the other end of the path saying that you need to follow. There is hope for us all that when we begin to think with more logic we will realise that there is more than one path open for us to walk along.

Propaganda is a form of communication that is solely aimed at influencing the attitude of a community towards some cause or position as to benefit oneself of one’s group. When people stop becoming impartial and start providing information from their own rhetoric then information that is displayed is used primarily to influence an audience.

Propaganda is biased and facts are selectively presented thus possibly lying by omission to encourage a particular synthesis. The use of a loaded message can produce an emotional response and the desired result is a change in an attitude toward the subject in the target audience. This can be used to further someone’s own agenda.

Two factors combine; bias and our emotions to considerably enhance our susceptibility. Fear either present of created by propaganda can be extremely important to a person’s level of susceptibility.

It will take thousands of years for water to fall on a stone and to create a hole. Sadly our own mind isn’t made up of stone although many will choose to build a concrete wall to certain things when their emotions are being played with by people with their own agenda’s. We may choose to blinker ourselves so that we are blind to anything else that we can see, happy and content in ourselves so much are we that we don’t want to look anywhere else.

But look is what you must do. You must take the logic and shout out loud that you know babies can’t come from 3D porn. So if babies can’t come from 3D porn is there only one way?

Friday, 3 February 2012

The murky characters that have blighted the name of Portsmouth FC part III

What’s the story in Balamory wouldn’t you like to know? Miss Hoolie would have locked herself in the school cupboard by now at the names that have already been mentioned. Two men banned from holding Directorships for seven years; two counts of being on the brink of bankruptcy and another one not far off; two men on trial for tax evasion, one wanted arms dealer and a son who spends the banks money faster than an F1 car in full flight who stands accused of asset stripping. If this does get turned into a TV documentary series one day I won’t be watching because it was painful enough watching the scenes unfold in public as it was but being Pompey we couldn’t let things lie there. As always as one man leaves there’s a magnetic draw pulling in another.

Sulaiman Al-Fahim

In March 2009, Al-Fahim was listed fourth in Arabian business magazine's list of "The World's most influential Arabs. In September 2008 as part of the Abu Dhabi United Group of which he was a board member he was present as they completed the purchase of Manchester City. In the Arab world he was known for being the presenter on their version of The Apprentice. Piers Morgan has done a TV interview with the man in which he bragged about his personal wealth and was pictured driving open top sports cars and flying on private business jets. So when he arrived saying he wanted to take over Portsmouth FC it seemed at first we’d somehow managed to avoid a possible financial meltdown and that the good times would continue to roll.

In May 2009 it was reported that Al-Fahim had agreed a deal with owner Sacha Gaydamak to buy the club in a deal worth £60 million once the process of due diligence had taken place and he’d passed the Fit and Proper persons Test. Three months passed with fans starting to wonder what on earth was going on. News was circulating that CEO Peter Storrie had come up with his own consortium and was trying to purchase the club. Final at the end of August 2009 Al-Fahim or the twat in the hand as many dubbed him finally took over as owner of the club.

At the start of October it was reported that the wages of the first team players hadn’t been pained. The warning lights started to flash around the footballing world. A day later it was reported that Al-Fahim was in hospital in Dubai. By the 5th of October after just 40 days in charge of the club, Al-Fahim sold 90% of his shares to Ali al-Faraj. Al-Fahim claimed that he has sold the shares for £70 million and had managed to retain all of the club’s real estate assets although it was soon alleged that he hadn’t received a penny. In February 2010 a Dubai court issued a warrant to arrest Al-Fahim over a dispute of over just £1.4 million.

Pompey fans worldwide were all asking what the hell was going on. In just 40 days we’d managed to have three owners. What had just happened? Did this new man have any money? Were the players going to get paid? Just how much financial trouble were we in?

Peter Storrie

One man that knew the answer to those questions better than any other was the CEO Peter Storrie, the man who helped steady the rudder as he anchored the ship onto the rocky shores and watched as it began to sink pointing the finger of blame at everyone whilst proclaiming he was the messiah and was doing everything he could to help save the club. To believe him you’d have thought that he only slept ten minutes a day and that the future was in his hands. As panic set around Fratton Park for a time the fans believed what he was saying to. Everyone was taken in. The man who it transpires managed to get a win / draw bonus put into his contract despite being a fat overpaid lard arse and not kicking a bin in anger let alone a ball on the pitch, had at the start of the troubles the backing of the fans and his name was sung at Fratton Park. By the end of his departure fans weren’t singing his name far from it.

Storrie was the man who managed to draw up some of the very worst footballing contracts in the history of English football but it seems he was very good at negotiating his own fairy tale contracts for himself in much the same manner as Manager Harry Redknapp had down when negotiating to receive a percentage of player sales for those players sold in profit. Somehow Storrie has managed to snag himself a bonus of £3,000 every time the club won and £1,500 for every time they drew. Impressive work if you can get it when you consider he was CEO. Storrie was the CEO who wrote into all the players contracts the win bonus for the FA Cup which ended up costing us a fortune. He said they were put in because he never expected the club to win the FA Cup. I wonder what they had written in if we were to win the league? Why would you spend millions on transfers and wages in the hope of not winning anything? It wasn’t just the players who’d been promised ridiculous bonuses to. The clubs whose players we’d purchased were also promised additional revenues if the players they’d sold achieved certain levels of success such as winning the FA Cup. ‘You want another £500,000 if we win the FA Cup? Sure why not. Just sign here.’

Because of Storrie’s naivety the FA Cup win was estimated to have cost the club an additional £3 to £4 million pounds with Chelsea and Rennes understood to have benefited to the tune of £1 million between them both.

Storrie at the height of the financial mess he’d played his part in was being paid £600,000 a year which made him the highest paid CEO in English football. He had received substantial bonuses during his time with the club including £750,000 when we won the FA Cup and £500,000 for the money he had brought into the club during January 2009 when the financial chaos had really started to kick in. Ever the hero though he didn’t take the bonus until the August of 2009.
When Sacha stopped putting money into the club Pompey owed the banks £44 million and the wage bill stood at around the £4.5 million mark every month. Players were quickly moved on trying to generate revenue but sell on clauses meant that the club wasn’t receiving all the transfer fees. Arsenal for example were owed £4.5 million from the sale of Diarra to Real Madrid and Chelsea the same from the sale of Johnson to Liverpool.

Under the FA’s football Agents regulation G15 clubs must publish how much they spent on agent’s fees. From October 1st 2008 to September 30th 2009 Pompey paid out £3,184,725 to agents.

Someone asked me the other day if we sold so much talent for so much money where did it all go? Well when you start to add it all up; £44 million to the banks, £3.1 million to agents, £9 million to Arsenal and Chelsea for Diarra and Johnson, an estimated annual wage of £54 million. Bonuses such as £750,000 being paid to Storrie for winning the FA Cup, £500,000 for overseeing the sale of players to pay off the banks and a manager whose salary was £4.2 million a year. You’ve got 18 players and 1 CEO on win bonuses of £3,000 and £1,500 for every draw. This isn’t mentioning the money we weren’t paying the Inland Revenue or the transfer fee’s we’d paid for the players in the first place.

Storrie claims that he was the innocent party and that he tried to warn people what was happening at the club. He certainly was well paid for the mess he made. Like Milan Mandaric and Harry Redknapp he has been charged with tax evasion by the HRMC in relation to a payment made to agent Willie McKay.

Ali Al-Faraj

Al-Faraj or Al-Mirage as he was subsequently nicknamed by the loyal Pompey following took over the club from the hands of Al-Fahim. The £5 million that Al-Fahim had put into the club hadn’t stretched far. It transpires that Al-Fahim wasn’t the principle investor in Portsmouth. A consortium has promised an injection or around £50 million into the club. When the accountants saw what a mess the club was in they understandably ran as fast as they could. This had left Al-Fahim holding the baby with his pants around his ankles for all the Arab world to see.

So enter Al-Faraj the supposed billionaire Arab that no one in the Arab business world knew anything about. Storrie releasing that all wasn’t well as Al-Fahim struggled to raise the finance to fund the club contacted the agent Pini Zahavi who had helped broker the deal which took Roman Abramovich to Chelsea in had pocketed £5 million in the process. He had suggested approaching Mark Jacob a property lawyer with some interesting contacts in the property world.

By this time Redknapp had scurried off to Tottenham and results on the pitch were getting worse and the players weren’t getting paid so the news of a property investor who also held a stake in Chemical firm Sabic must have been music to the ears of those still at Pompey.

A deal was struck with Al-Fahim where he was promised that he would be repaid his £5 million at a later stage at that he could keep 10% of the shares as equity and collateral. Allegedly he considered this a very good deal at the time. Good old Sir David Richards over at the Premier League rubber stamped the Fit and Proper Persons test and Al-Mirage was now in charge.

Any proper checks carried out would have shown that Al-Mirage wasn’t a share holder in Sabic as it’s owned by the Saudi Arabian government. Once more the Fit and Proper Persons test had failed and moreover it had failed Pompey.
With the outstanding wages finally paid off £1.8 million Al-Mirage never did show his face at Fratton Park. Certain other characters did however show their faces.

The murky characters that have blighted the name of Portsmouth FC part II

Show me any over football club who’ve managed to attract too many shady characters to their doors with such seemingly such effortless ease. In Part I we saw the names of Venables and Ashby who both were banned from holding Directorships in any business for a total of seven years and the latter was even jailed. The families of the Deacons and the Gregory’s who both managed to take Pompey to the brink of bankruptcy and Milan Mandaric who despite delivering the good times back to the club, stands trial as I type accused of tax evasion with old boss Harry Redknapp. If they weren’t bad enough, the list of names continues and gets steadily worse. Only at Pompey!

Harry Redknapp

Harry’s time at Pompey brought us a multitude of memories, from FA Cup wins and promotion to the English Premier League to his departure to neighbours Southampton where to his credit he did manage to get them relegated before returning to manage us for a second time. Harry was even given the freedom of Portsmouth after his FA Cup win though I suspect he probably chooses not to come within five yards of stepping foot in the city unless he has lost all leave of his senses which with Harry is always a genuine possibility. Interestingly Mandaric also had been given the same freedom and the pair remain 2 of only 32 people to have been given the honour. Other more illustrious names include Field Marshall Montgomery and Sir Winston Churchill.

In the past week or so we’ve learnt that Harry writes like a two year old or so he claims, so the fact he managed to find out so much information on players and bring a total of 88 into the club during his time is quite a mean feet and shouldn’t be under estimated. Our ex owner Milan Mandaric stated how Harry could act like a child when he wanted to buy a player. All these it seems great characteristics for paying a manager £4.2 million a year. I know I nearly fell of my chair when I read that part too.

Redknapp originally came to Pompey as Director of Football before taking over as Manager and guiding the club to promotion winning The Championship in the process. During his time as Director of football he had managed to negotiate into his contract that he would be paid 10% of any transfer fees received for any players sold in profit, this figure then dropped to 5% when he became manager. Little wonder Harry has a reputation for being a wheeler dealer at the club’s he has managed in his time. As manager of West Ham he was paid a fee of £300,000 when the club sold defender Rio Ferdinand to Leeds United for a then record British transfer fee of £18 million. It was this payment which triggered the investigation by the HMRC into Harry’s business affairs and the accusations now levelled at him that both he and Mandaric allegedly evaded paying tax on the monies paid to him into the Monaco account he set up in the name of his dog. Perhaps he wasn’t sure how to spell Harry Redknapp. Was it one p at the end or two? I know lets use the dog’s name it’s shorter and easier to remember.

Like Mandaric, Harry will lean his fate next Tuesday when the jury decides the fate of both men. Whatever the jury decide Harry successfully pocketed money from the club and did so legitimately and with no moral qualms in taking money that could have been reinvested into the club. Mandaric saw no problem or issue with it either.  Money it seems was no object at the height of success with the club. Only when Harry went scurrying like a sewer rat to Tottenham Hotspurs did we start to really work out what a mess he’d help to cause. Paying players like ex England international Sol Campbell a reported £100,000 a week was always going to end in tears let’s be honest.

Alexandre Gaydamak

In January 2006 the man more affectionately known as Sacha walked into the club to become
co-owner with Milan Mandaric. In July 2006 he became the sole owner of the club and Mandaric took on a position of Non-Executive Chairman which he held until he left the club. Sacha is son to Arcadi Gaydamak a man who in 2000 had a warrant issued for his arrest by Paris Magistrates wanting him for questioning over an alleged arms-for-oil deal with Angola in the early 1990s. Premier League officials were quick to point out that Sacha’s takeover would be subject to him passing the Fit and Proper Persons Test. Well that’s a relief then. Like the word bankruptcy this won’t be the last time in the tale that those words will crop up in the story.

With the test passed and no problems arising from being the son of a wanted arms dealer everything was looking on the up for Pompey.

The 2006-2007 season saw the arrival of so many big names it was hard to believe that any of it was real. The following arrived on free transfers but with big contracts; Sol Campbell, Nwankwo Kanu, Sylvain Distin and Hermann Hreidarsson. In the mid 1980’s Paul Mariner was rumoured to be the best paid player in the country when he was at Pompey being paid £2,000 per week. Here we were twenty years later reportedly paying Campbell £100,000 per week, fifty times more! But the player acquisition hadn’t stopped there; those were just the free transfers;

Lauren £500,000
Andy Cole £500,000
Djimi Traore £1 million
David James £1.2 million
Niko Kranjcar £3.5 million
Sulley Muntari £7 million

Seven million pounds on a single player! Who couldn’t help but not dream that the club had won the lottery around this time? In total 14 new faces were brought in for combined fee’s of around £13.7 million. Money it seemed was no object, no fee to high and no wage to large. Pompey were spending big and really making waves in the footballing world.

The 2007 – 2008 season saw the spending continue with real aplomb;

Glen Johnson £4 million
Lassana Diarra £5.5 million
David Nugent £6 million
John Utaka £7 million
Jermaine Defoe £7.5 million

In total eight players were recruited on combined fee’s of £30 million.

Into 2008 – 2009 and we were still at it;

Hayden Mullins £2 million
Angelos Basinas £3.5 million
Nadir Belhadj £4.4 million
Younes Kaboul £5 million
Peter Crouch £10 million

Now I’ve followed the club since 1986 and my father has done since the 1950s and I am sure we are not alone in saying that the notion of Pompey ever spending ten million on one player would have been utterly ridiculous. The thing is sat here in early twenty twelve it’s still as barmy looking back at how much was better spent and the wages involved. This season was interesting for who left the club though. Sure seven players had come in for £24.9 million combined, but Muntari, Mendes, Diarra and Defoe were sold for combined fees of £47.2 million.

Just to show you how far the club had come in a decade, in the 1998-1999 season we had brought seven players in for a combined total of £630,000 and the highest fee paid was a quarter of a million for Steve Claridge. Ten years later the highest fee paid was 40 times that amount.  Diarra was sold for £16.5 million! Our entire playing squad isn’t worth that now. It was shear madness to think that it could all be sustained.

Everyone now knows it couldn’t be sustained. The problem is when it’s happening and your watching Sol Campbell walk up the new Wembley steps and holding the FA Cup aloft in triumph you’re not really sat giving any thought to I wonder who’s paying for all this.

In 2006 Pompey made a loss of £912, 397 for the year which wasn’t the worst set of results for a club like Pompey. However 2007 saw a loss of £23.4 million, in 2008 £16.9 million and in 2009 £14.47 million to bring a combined total of £55.7 million. For clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City bank rolled by the personal wealth of billionaires, figures like these wouldn’t be blinked at. When the money is being funded from bank loans and the numbers land on a bank managers desk you can imagine the stench being omitted from the orifices of the Managers at Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank. They wanted their money back unsurprisingly. The salary level was 109% of the income which was the same as at Manchester City.

The club once again was again in financial meltdown only this time we’d taken the bar to an even greater height. This wasn’t £25,000 that Pompey had to find. Sacha had managed to turn the scene of chaos into one from Ben Hur; the banks were baying for blood.

CEO Peter Storrie was charged with finding a new owner for the club and fast and the stories that follow just get worse and all the more unbelievable. Gaydamak stands allegedly accused of asset stripping the club for good measure. Remarkably Sacha is still owed money by the club.

Arcadi Gaydamak

When the club was once more put up for sale by Sacha, reports starting circulating in September 2008 that Arcadi Gaydamak was laying claim to being the real owner of Portsmouth. The Jerusalem-based Russian-Israeli businessman listed all his assets to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, including Portsmouth which he valued at £300million. He made the claims to counter any accusation that financial difficulties were threatening his £1 billion personal fortune.

In March 2010 CEO Peter Storrie gave an interview with Daily Telegraph journalist Henry Winter suggesting Sacha had run into problems because as he put it “Everything got frozen in Israel.”

Much has already been written about Arcadi Gaydamak over the years and as I previously mentioned at that time he had a warrant out for his arrest. One thing I can suggest is that even the English Premier League’s Fit or Proper person’s test would have seen that Arcadi Gaydamak wouldn’t have been deemed fit and proper to run a football club. But then again Thaksin Shinawatra was allowed to gain control of Manchester City so perhaps I could be wrong. Surely lessons would be learnt and the same mistakes couldn’t be made again? Surely one of the fundamental basics for passing a test to own a football club would be to prove you have the financial capability to do so.