...and they're about to go belly up
Portsmouth on the brink of liquidation
Portsmouth have announced they are on the brink of being closed down, unless they can strike a deal with former owner Alexandre Gaydamak and prospective buyer Balram Chainrai.
A club statement, published on the Portsmouth website ahead of the Championship match at Hull, said the Football League plus Chainrai's proposed new company, administrators and legal advisers have made "extensive efforts" to keep the club in business.
However the club said Gaydamak had requested a "very significant" cash payment to be made on Friday, and that was refused. Portsmouth called it "a ransom payment".
Portsmouth were relegated from the Premier League amid financial strife last season, during which they were docked nine points for falling into administration. It was revealed in April that Portsmouth owed a combined total of £38.2 million to previous owners including Gaydamak and Sulaiman al Fahim, out of a total debt of £119 million.
The statement said: "The process has been extremely complicated and there has been a team of people working night and day to get the deal done. The most difficult aspect has been trying to achieve agreement with Alexandre Gaydamak after the remaining parties have agreed the deal and executed the necessary documents, namely the new owners, the administrators, the Football League and the creditors.
"Unfortunately, despite the new owners fulfilling all the requirements of the Football League and the creditors, and agreeing and signing up to the required terms of the purchase of the club, at the 11th hour the goalposts have been moved by Mr Gaydamak and this has now made the deal impossible to complete.
"Put simply, despite being offered full payment for the secured part of his debt in accordance with the financial plan approved by the Football League, this morning Mr Gaydamak has demanded a very significant up front cash payment in order to allow the deal to proceed by releasing his security.
"All this is in spite of his lawyers going to Paris this morning specifically for the purpose of witnessing his signature to the document agreed yesterday. It is neither in the interests of the club nor its unsecured creditors for such a ransom payment to be made, particularly where the payment is being demanded by one of the authors of the club's current circumstances.
"In addition, and equally importantly, all of the business plans submitted and approved by the Football League would be fundamentally damaged by such a requirement placed on the club by Mr Gaydamak."
The statement added: "It appears likely that the club will now be closed down and liquidated by the administrators as they are unable to support the continued trading of the club."
The club statement attacked Gaydamak, accusing him of failing to take into consideration those involved with the club he bought in 2006.
''We would like to thank the Football League in particular for their support and assistance through this difficult process,'' the statement read. ''All other parties had managed to reach agreement.
''This has now been undermined by the self-interested actions of one individual. Mr Gaydamak has provided confirmation several times that terms were agreed. However, he has continually changed his position in an attempt to exploit the goodwill of the other parties to the transaction.
''By now doing this he has shown complete disregard for the supporters, the club and the City of Portsmouth, who had granted him freedom of the city in 2008. His earlier comments when the club went into administration about doing everything possible to save the club's future do not appear to reflect his current actions.''
Should the worst-case scenario unfold, Portsmouth would become the first Football League club since Maidstone United in 1992 to go out of business. In the same year Aldershot were also closed down.