Portsmouth have a chance to come back fighting fit
Every football fan should be delighted that Portsmouth Football Club are all set to go into administration on Friday — for all the right reasons.
Anything that will save Portsmouth from a High Court appearance when they face being wound-up by the British taxman, should be welcomed by fans not only of Portsmouth, but of every other club.
Of course, going into administration is not exactly the most desirable thing for any business, football club or otherwise, to have to endure.
But if it means Portsmouth survive, then it is by far the lesser of two evils and must be relatively speaking, welcomed.
It has been well documented how Portsmouth’s various owners have contributed to the club’s downfall. Yes, they “lived the dream” and paid unrealistic wages based on their income streams. Yes, they were unlucky in being hit by the global financial crisis.
But … we all know that while professional football clubs are in fact businesses, they are not businesses like a supermarket or a factory that makes cuddly toys.
Football clubs do not even need to turn a profit to survive. No-one ever started a club to make money. They started a club to win matches and trophies.
Even the turnover of the biggest clubs in the world, be they Manchester United, Real Madrid or Barcelona, are tiny when compared to the turnover of most major supermarket chains, or other multi-national companies.
But unlike a supermarket chain, the football club is, usually, the emotional, focal point of the town or city they are located in, big or small.
In Portsmouth’s case it has been estimated that more than 2,000 local people, including taxi drivers, publicans, stewards, restaraunt workers, part-time policemen and women etc etc rely on their home matches to help their own livelihoods.
Tens of thousands of people, some of whom never go to a match, “support” the club either in their heads or in their hearts. The death of the club would hit thousands as much as a death in the family.
Administration will hit Portsmouth hard. They will lose nine points and definitely be relegated, probably lose all their best players in the summer and forever be tarnished as the first Premier League club to experience such a humiliation.
But if anything good comes out of their sorry tale, it is that every other club in the land, has seen what CAN happen.
Portsmouth do not need to die to give the soccer industry the reality check it needs.