Portsmouth live to fight another day

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Portsmouth live to fight another day
Portsmouth fans will be breathing a huge sigh of relief this morning after HM Revenue & Customs failed in their attempt to block the club’s Company Voluntary Agreement.
The cash-strapped club were in danger of going out of business yesterday after a High Court hearing, but the HMRC’s argument that they were favouring certain football creditors over others was dismissed.
The HMRC claimed that it is owed £37million in total by the south-coast club and stated their disappointment at the court’s ruling. However, they confirmed that there will be no appeal.
Portsmouth’s administrators were delighted with the outcome, and will now attempt to find new owners and settle the club’s debts.
With the 2010/11 Championship season kicking off this evening, Pompey can now concentrate on rebuilding, free from the looming threat of extinction. Things aren’t exactly rosy at Fratton Park right now, but the club were due some good news after such a troubled year.
Portsmouth’s chief executive David Lampitt confirmed that the club are still “under significant financial constraints”, and with a threadbare squad and the new season imminent, it’s hard not to think that things will get worse before they get better.
A transfer embargo is still in force for the time being and Pompey remain in administration; while new manager Steve Cotterill has voiced his concerns ahead of the team’s first match of the campaign against Coventry tomorrow afternoon.
Cotterill, who left recently promoted Notts County at the end of last season, claims that only eight of his current squad have the ability to play in the Championship; while concerns also persist over inexperienced goalkeeper Liam O’Brien.
It’s no surprise that the markets recognise Portsmouth as relegation candidates rather than promotion. Despite reaching the FA Cup Final last May, the 2008 FA Cup winners have lost a number of key players over the summer months and are left with a first-team squad of just 13 players.
Several high-profile names including John Utaka, David Nugent and Kevin-Prince Boateng are still at the club, which gives them a fighting chance in every match they enter. However, the transfer window isn’t closed just yet, and the possibility of further departures is still a very realistic one.
It’s been a tumultuous 12 months for Portsmouth, but yesterday’s ruling was the first sign that there may be light at the end of the tunnel after all.
The supporters won’t care about the prospect of beginning life in the Championship, or even the fact that they have the smallest squad in the league: they’ll just be happy that they still have their club.



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