Redknapp stunned by Pompey plight

BY foxsports • February 23, 2010

Harry Redknapp insists he never believed Portsmouth would be crippled by £70million debts - and claims recent chairmen have been "a disaster".

Pompey are close to going into administration, with Balram Chainrai - the fourth owner of the club this season - yet to achieve a breakthrough in talks with three consortiums about a possible takeover.

Some fans have blamed club chief executive Peter Storrie and Redknapp for overspending on players and wages, but the current Tottenham boss claims it is "extraordinary" that Portsmouth are in such debt.

Redknapp said: "It never entered my mind when I was there, that there would be problems. The club was run well.

"When Sacha [Gaydamak] came in, all I knew about him was him and his family were mega-rich people from Russia. It never enters your mind the club could end up in debt.

"As I have said many times, to make something like £60million from players and end up in the debt they are in, I find it extraordinary really."

He added: "The key is finding an owner, someone who is going to come in, buy and save the club and take the club forwards again.

"The last three or four they have come up with have been a disaster.

"Hopefully they can find somebody know who will have the club's interest at heart and do the job for them, that is the main thing."

Portsmouth would almost certainly go into administration voluntarily rather than risk a winding-up order by the High Court on Monday over £7.5million owed to HM Revenue and Customs. That would seal relegation because of the nine-point penalty that accompanies top-flight clubs going into administration.

Redknapp believes that Portsmouth could yet manage to escape relegation if there is no points deduction.

"It is going to be tough - but they are not out of it," he said.

"Pompey have to play Burnley, Hull, Bolton in the next couple of games, and they are playing well, and were unfortunate against Stoke. If they can pick up a result or two, they can put themselves back in the picture."

Storrie has admitted that most of the club's spending has gone on players' wages - £131million over the last three years - and transfer fees.

Storrie said: "The bulk of the money has gone to the players in wages. The cost of the players' wages this year is £37million. Last season, when it was running at its height, it was £52million, and the year before it was £42million.

"The vast majority of the money over the last two to three years has gone on players' wages, and also on their transfer fees."

Meanwhile, a training ground clash between Jamie O'Hara and Michael Brown has been dismissed as a minor altercation.

A Portsmouth source said: "It was just handbags, the sort of thing that happens regularly at training grounds."

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