Portsmouth: Sol Campbell, The Straw That Broke Pompey's Back

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IJanuary 20, 2010

PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 24:  Darren Pratley of Swansea and and Sol Campbell of Portsmouth clash during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 4th Round match between Portsmouth and Swansea City at Fratton Park on January 24, 2009 in Portsmouth, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The financial plight of Portsmouth F.C. is all at sea. The club is sitting bottom of the Premiership, four points behind 19th placed Bolton, with a huge majority of the clubs first XI away at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

They are struggling to pay their players wages for a third straight month and chief executive Peter Storrie is about to appeal before Southwark Crown Court, accused of  cheating the public revenue between July 1, 2003 and Nov. 28, 2007.

Storrie's charge, claims that he "defrauded public revenue" over a signing-on fee during midfielder Amdy Faye's move from Auxerre to Portsmouth in 2003.

The famous old Hampshire club are also set to have a hearing into their winding-up petition. The club had tried to appeal the amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) that the club owed but the High Court dismissed the claim and Portsmouth will hear their fate on Feb. 10.

Only last month the Premier League diverted £7m in television revenue payments to clubs that Portsmouth owed for transfer payments, but Pompey's executive director Mark Jacob's claimed the club had only directed the Premier league to pay £5m toward transfers. This would mean the Premiership would still owe Portsmouth approximately £2m in television monies.

The Premier league had banned the club from operating in the transfer window because of previous misdealings. On top of everything, the club were forced into selling many first team members just to remain solvent during the summer.

Now with the winding-up order on the horizon, ex-defender and F.A. Cup winner with the club, Sol Campbell, has chosen to sue Portsmouth for £1.7m. He claims that the club owes him the money in unpaid fees, bonus and imaging rights.

Is Campbell's action going to be the straw that broke the club's back and make Portsmouth the first Premiership club to fold. Whatever happens in the next few weeks for Pompey's beleaguered fans, the chances are that even if they do survive there is a very great possibility of a nine point penalty for going into administration.

If that happens then the South Coast club will be sailing off into the Championship or maybe even worse.