Website woe leaves Pompey red-faced
Portsmouth's precarious financial position was laid bare on
Thursday when their official website was temporarily shut down due
to an unpaid bill.
The crisis at Fratton Park deepened when the club confirmed on Thursday morning that their failure to honour their financial commitments to Juicy, the company responsible for running the site, resulted in it being taken off-line.
Supporters attempting to access www.portsmouthfc.co.uk were greeted with the message "Website Unavailable" until mid-afternoon when it was restored.
A Portsmouth spokesman said: "Our website was down because the club failed to keep to the payment plan agreed with our service provider.
"However, the bill was paid and the website is now running again."
The Portsmouth Supporters Trust moved swiftly to make their website, www.pompeytrust.com, available for any official announcements.
The Premier League's bottom club accepted the offer before making the outstanding payment, but this latest development in a season of unrelenting misery at Fratton Park has been greeted with dismay by the trust.
Spokesman Ken Malley believes it is a sign the dire financial situation at Fratton Park has deteriorated further.
"It's hard to explain how you feel as a Portsmouth supporter when it becomes apparent the website is down simply because they haven't paid the bills," said Malley.
"It's an ongoing tragedy and you dread to think where it will end.
"It's particularly worrying that something like the website fell by the wayside.
"On the scale of things one would have thought the rental on a website would cost peanuts when compared to other things that money has to be spent on.
"I'm really surprised Portsmouth's financial problems are affecting items of this nature."
The spectre of becoming the first Barclays Premier League club to enter administration looms large at Fratton Park with Portsmouth reported to be £60million in the red.
Even if they manage to limp across the finishing line, their position four points adrift at the foot of the table and needing to sell their best players to stay afloat all but dooms them to relegation.
Wages have regularly gone unpaid, leading to fears of a walkout by disgruntled players, and the transfer embargo in place since October has only just been lifted.
But it is the failure to meet the financial demands of a nuts-and-bolts part of the operation such as the website that really rams home the depth of the crisis.
Indeed, the cost of keeping the website running pales into insignificance when compared to honouring the players' salaries yet even this minor part of the operation has suffered.
Needing to sell players to pay their creditors, Portsmouth should raise substantial funds from the impending departure of Younes Kaboul to Tottenham.
Kaboul's proposed return to White Hart Lane is reported to cost £11million, though as much as £2million of that may be retained by Spurs who were not paid in full during his transfer to the south coast in 2008.
Nadir Belhadj is also likely to depart before the transfer window closes on Monday while Egyptian striker Mido has been linked with a move to Pompey.
Juicy later released a statement confirming a new payment plan had been agreed with the south-coast club.
It read: "Juicy has been in continual communication with the finance team in recent months about managing the costs of the website but were forced, due to payment plan breaches, to take the site down earlier today.
"A new payment plan with the club has now been agreed and the site will be made live with immediate effect."
Juicy director Pete Holliday said: "We understand how passionate fans are about Portsmouth and want to see the site live just as much as they do.
"We even had a supporter contact us today to offer to pay to get the site live again.
"We're proud of the work we have done with Portsmouth, and are pleased to be working through these issues with the club so that the site can remain live and continue to serve the needs of the club and its community."