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Costly Clauses Mount Up For Pompey


Life President
May 29, 2005
It must be difficult supporting Portsmouth. It wasn’t so long ago you were walking Wembley Way triumphantly. Of course, it wasn’t so long ago that Portsmouth main goal was surviving in the Premier League… Now, you’re flinging England’s number 1 around like a QPR caretaker manager because financial constraints forbid him to play another second.

Since he signed for the south coast club in 2006, David James has amassed 141 appearances in all competitions. Should he reach 150, in whichever way, shape or form, he is entitled to another year on his contract, thought to cost the club around £2m. It’s by the pure grace of luck that the young Asmir Begovic has proven himself to be quite the shot stopper, but he alone isn’t capable of leading Pompey to salvation.

Stoke looked to have offered a beacon of hope to the cause by taking James on loan for the rest of the season, but pulled out of such a deal after failing to agree what percentage of his wage to pay. This only begs one question, what kind of salary is James on if Stoke City, who are just about to lose their number one to Bayern Munich, are sniffing at paying 50% of it?

For a Premiership club to find themselves in such a predicament is a travesty and a damning indictment of the “fit and proper persons test” that has engrossed many a Notts County fan this season. There has been an endless supply of excuses and scapegoats lauded around by Peter Storie. First of all it was a simple clerical error that delayed the transfer of funds from Al-Fahim. Then it was a Muslim holiday that had backdated payments. What next? The train carrying the £60m needed for survival has been hijacked by a rejuvenated Ronnie Biggs? I wouldn’t put it past them.

More exits will follow in this window. Tottenham have forbid Jamie O’Hara to return, Younes Kaboul is, rather bizarrely, highly sought after those in power at Fratton Park have slapped a hefty price tag on Begovic following his recent performances. Add on to this withdrawal of £7m of TV income from the Premier League and it all adds up to a sorry state of affairs on the south coast, and one all too familiar to their bitter rivals Southampton.

And just look how far they’ve fallen…