Storrie seeks to allay Pompey fears

The club head into 2010 rooted to the bottom of the Premier League

following the 4-1 home defeat by title-chasers Arsenal on Wednesday

night. Earlier in the day, Pompey had issued a statement to deny

the club had been formally served with a winding-up petition by Her

Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in relation to disputed VAT, PAYE and

National Insurance contributions of a reported £3.5million. A

High Court date has been set for early next year, but Portsmouth –

who continue to operate under a transfer embargo imposed by the

Premier League over unpaid transfer debts – are expecting to have

the matter resolved before then and the threat of possible

administration lifted, while it is hoped players’ outstanding wages

will also be paid off later today. Nevertheless, the Fratton Park

faithful are becoming increasingly frustrated at the dire financial

plight of their club, which in May 2008 were celebrating a famous

FA Cup win at Wembley under former boss Harry Redknapp. Chants of

“Where’s all our money gone?”, “Sack the board” and “You’re not fit

to run a club” rang out around the ground during Wednesday night’s

match, as fans sent a clear message to Saudi Arabian owner Ali Al

Faraj. However, Storrie – himself charged with tax evasion by HMRC,

accused of concealing a signing-on fee for Amdy Faye by paying it

via the midfielder’s agent William McKay – used last night’s

programme notes to try to allay fears Pompey were set for imminent

liquidation. “Off the field, the financial issues of the club have

been prominent in the media once again,” he said. “While we would

prefer to keep this in-house and deal with the situation, third

parties are ensuring that certain issues are played out in public.

“The majority of the reports are ill-informed, but such is the

confidential nature of finance that we are not at liberty to put

the record straight all of the time.” Storrie continued: “It has

been a very difficult year, but one thing you must believe is that

Ali Al Faraj and his associates are doing their very best to

refinance the club so we can once again operate the business as we

all want to. “At Ali’s request I have also been in discussions

regarding further investment with various parties, and these are

ongoing. “The priority, of course, is to get the transfer ban

lifted – especially with four of our players away at the African

Nations Cup. “The current squad have already shown they have what

it takes to compete with any side in this league, and if we can add

even more quality, we will have every chance of surviving.”