McInnes’ budget boost

Pompey chairman Iain McInnes
Pompey chairman Iain McInnes

Iain McInnes has admitted Pompey’s playing budget has been ‘inadequate’ during the first season of community ownership.

Now the Blues chairman has pledged an increase next term to boost chances of being more competitive In League Two.

Pompey began the campaign with a mid-table £1.2m budget as they adopted a conservative financial approach during their opening year out of administration.

Subsequently, they have found themselves embroiled in a relegation battle since November – a fight, only recently under Andy Awford, they have looked like winning.

However, average Fratton Park crowds of 15,218 and considerably better-than-anticipated commercial results have bolstered club coffers during the course of the campaign.

That has enabled Pompey’s board to several times raise the budget under both Guy Whittingham and Richie Barker.

And the chairman has promised next season’s manager will be handed a bigger players’ wages war chest.

McInnes said: ‘The first thing that happened was we undercut our original playing budget, which put ourselves under pressure from day one.

‘The reality of life is we wanted to save our club from the trapdoor, and my goodness haven’t we found out just recently how close that trapdoor can be and how uncomfortable it feels.

‘With hindsight, the budget was inadequate in my opinion.

‘We had to rely on the people that were actually spending that budget to tell us whether it was fine or not and in all areas most people thought – for what our expectations were – that it was adequate, including the manager.

‘Why wouldn’t we believe what most people that had been involved in football for a long time, both in a managerial and playing sense – and from outside financially – said would be good enough to do what we wanted to do?

‘I think £1.2m was mid-table and we should have come mid-table with that.

‘With the budget we ended up with, which has increased several times by small increments, we are not anywhere near the largest budget in the league.

‘But it still should have had us playing above where we are today.

‘Next year, what we have learnt, is if you don’t give people reason to come and watch then it doesn’t matter how generous presidents want to be or how much commercial income you want to sustain

‘Any prospective manager worth his salt is going to come and say: “Well, what have I got with a budget to play with?”

‘Well, the answer is a better one than this year and good enough to be competitive.’

The Dagenham & Redbridge victory lifted Pompey into 16th in the table.

They remain five points above the relegation zone with four games to play.