Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't Take this Personally Portsmouth Fans...

But I don't believe you should be in a Cup Final. As a club, you're 140 million in debt. Portsmouth FC represents the very worst in Premier league financial skulduggery and excess. Rightly the club was docked 9 points by the Premier League and relegated. It should also have been removed from the Cup and your place given to the last club you beat before your shocking financial problems came to light (probably a better-run club that wasn't willing to spend irresponsibly to beat you).

Now I hate Chelsea as much as the next person. But I hope they win today - and by a wide margin. For Portsmouth to win the Cup is a triumph not of courage over adversity or heroism but a triumph of everything that is bad about football in this country. And Portsmouth were still at, even when their debts were in the public domain, scrabbling around to pay money to sign bonus agreements and god knows what to highly talented players they have no right to have playing for them.

I support a boring but well run club that struggles every year to stay in the Prem. We don't buy flash players and we develop the ones we have got. We're about the size of Portsmouth. We don't get into Finals nor will we ever win the League. That is sad and says important things about the way football in England has gone. But it doesn't excuse what Portsmouth have done and their victory today would, for me, be the wrong outcome, not the David versus Goliath that we are being sold by the media.


Andy Brady said...

And yet, and yet, I can't sit and want Chelsea to win, however morally correct it is.

Rob Fountain said...

All valid points and I do ultimately agree - I guess the only alternative telling of the story is one of a gamble that doesn't come off; of deciding you can strive for midtable obscurity or buy all the eggs and throw them in a basket in pursuit of breaking into a horribly dull top tier of English clubs.

I could never justify playing games with people's passions on the scale that various Portsmouth owners have; or defend management as bad as that which sees John Utaka reportedly earning more money than Cesc Fabregas... but maybe some of it was driven by a desire to twist, not stick; to try and do something to break down the narrow power structures in our game.

Any sympathy for an ambitious, risk-taker who is not satisfied with taking a minor role in a world dominated by a few disproportionately powerful bodies???

Rob 'Arris said...

Well Chelsea did win, and it should have been a wide margin (as a City fan i am glad they did the double, if only to encourage more Londoners to support a team from their own city).

I agree with you Rob, i like the fact they had a go; but the execution failed miserably and they exposed themselves to too much risk. Deserving of the punishment and sad for the ordinary punters who live and breathe Portsmouth FC whether they are successful or not.

My final point (and its a bit of a quantum leap considering Premier League football is entirely different to public service) is about financial management, exposure to risk and penalties for massive over expenditure. Sounds familiar to LA / NHS doesnt it? Even during the boom they failed to do what any good business does - prepare for the following slump. The deficits we see at the moment are not because of government cuts in public expenditure (they havent hit yet). Its because the policy has been spend spend spend in public services; sure there has been some good bits and my own business grew more easily during this time but our financial custodians simply got lazy and as ever didnt plan effectively. Leaving billions of pounds with some of these organisations is as risky as giving your child a knife and just hoping they dont cut themselves. The policy for "third sector partnership working" at the moment?...... "share the pain dear friend, share the pain".