Birch: Pompey will be liquidated unless players leave soon

Pompey administrator Trevor Birch
Pompey administrator Trevor Birch

Trevor Birch has reiterated his warning Pompey won’t start the season if the senior players don’t lower their money demands.

In addition, in a statement released by the club this afternoon, Pompey’s administrator also revealed that staff have been told today of the threat of more redundancies.

The Blues’ wage bill has been reduced to £8m following the departures of Hayden Mullins and Aaron Mokoena.

However, their exits came nine days ago – with Birch now at stalemate with the remaining eight.

Even Luke Varney’s long-anticipated switch to Leeds has been delayed, the deal having stalled at Pompey’s end over compromise wrangling.

Meanwhile, Kanu has given a 14-day notice to quit the club, yet is still owed money, including deferrals.

Birch claims he is also struggling to reach agreement with Tal Ben Haim and Dave Kitson, who are not attracting interest from other clubs so do not represent saleable assets.

Those other senior players include Erik Huseklepp, Liam Lawrence, Greg Halford and David Norris.

Compromise agreements take into account deferrals owed to the players and a percentage of future contracted salary.

Pompey’s season kicks off on Tuesday, August 14, at Plymouth in the Capital One Cup.

Yet the joint-administrator fears they may not even get that far unless the players are more flexible in discussions.

Birch today told The News: ‘We are just not making quick progress and at this moment in time I am doubtful we will start the season.

‘We had signed off two last week and I thought more would be done this week. They have proven to be difficult, however.

‘There’s intransience when it comes to getting them moving out or compromising. We are at a stalemate and that is why the start of the season has to be in jeopardy.

‘We are having trouble with more or less all the players. A lot of them are not prepared to take any compromise deal over a period of time.

‘They want it straight up and not over the time period I am suggesting which is four years and written into the CVA.

‘With Luke Varney, he has agreed matters with Leeds but we are not agreed on a compromise.

‘We are talking with Ben Haim and an agreement cannot be reached because of his demands. While with Kitson and his agent there is no compromise and no wish to come to an agreement.

‘I think there is an element of putting their head in the sand believing all of it will go away.

‘Portpin will not complete a deal while the players are still there – neither will the Trust. If nothing can be done liquidation starts to loom again very strongly.’

Meanwhile, a club statement from Birch today also read: ‘The administrators of Portsmouth Football Club (2010) Ltd have this afternoon commenced consultation with staff at the club about possible redundancies.

‘We have spoken to all of the club’s staff and players and started a redundancy consultation period.

‘I sincerely hope that we can complete the sale of the club and avoid the need for redundancies – and I will continue to do all I can to safeguard the future of the club - but I believe that staff need to be aware of the situation so that they have as much of an opportunity as possible to explore other options.

‘This has been an incredibly difficult time for the staff, many of whom have loyally served the club for a number of years, and I recognise that it is extremely upsetting for them. Today’s announcement is not in any way a reflection on them – in fact, I’m sure that we would not have got this far without their support.’