It can't be too often that having just four registered players on your books at the end of July can be seen as good news. But this is the world of Portsmouth Football Club, whose primary objective is to remove all of last season's senior players off their books, so they can sort out their crippling wage bill.
Earlier this week, Pompey administrator Trevor Birch set a deadline for the club to remove eight players from their books, that were dependencies upon new owners to take over the club. Balram Chainrai (via his Portpin company) and the Portsmouth Supporters Trust have bids lined up, and a CVA agreed, but neither part can proceed whilst Pompey's unsustainable wage bill stays in place.
The good news for them is that Leeds United have bought two of their players, with Luke Varney and David Norris having moved to Elland Road earlier in the week. Defender Greg Halford has moved to Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee, whilst striker Erik Huseklepp has returned to his former club SK Brann in Norway.
That leaves the target of removing Liam Lawrence, Tal Ben Haim, Dave Kitson and Kanu from their books before the deadline of August 10th. In theory seeing half of those eight depart should make the administrator's task a lot simpler, but the two problem cases seem to be Tal Ben Haim and Kanu, who have both reacted angrily to the way that Birch has handled their remaining contractual issues, accusing him - with some justification - of conducting negotiations through the national media, and questioning if Birch plans to give up a similar proportion of the fees that he is charging the club.
At present, Pompey will only be allowed to sign players by the Football League once the remaining quartet come off their books and one of Portpin or the PST commit to the CVA arrangements. Unless the Ben Haim and Kanu rows can be diffused, then this could still have a few more twists and turns to run.
Comment on this News Item on Facebook
or Go back to Top of Page