Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Relief for Portsmouth as second takeover is completed

Portsmouth's off pitch worries look to be rescinding after Saudi business tycoon Ali Al Faraj completed his takeover of the club.

This is the second time in six weeks that Portsmouth have been the subject of a takeover by foreign investors. After the last bid was plagued by problems from start to finish, fans will be hoping that their new owner does a considerably better job than former incumbent Sulaiman Al Fahim.

The club was previously taken over at the end of August but due to a series of cash flow problems, Al Fahim has decided to sell a 90% stake in the club to Al Faraj.

Al Fahim retains a 10% stake and will become the non-executive chairman until at least the end of the 2010/11 season.

During the former owner's troubled reign there was persistent talk of administration and last week it was revealed that the players had not been paid. However, this latest takeover appears to have resolved those issues.

“The takeover will ensure Portsmouth's future is safe and will bring financial stability,” read a club statement.

“Contracts have been signed between the parties to enable funds to be released to pay the players and executive board on Tuesday.”

Recent events had almost led to chief executive Peter Storrie resigning but he will now continue in his post, alongside Al Faraj and associate Mark Jacob.

In an interview with BBC Radio Four, Storrie said: “He is very similar to [former owner] Alexandre Gaydamak in many ways in that he owns the club but he wants to sit in the background and let the officials of the club run it.

“He is not going to be one of those that's going to be out front.”

At the weekend Portsmouth picked up their first points of their Premier League season with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Wolves. Boss Paul Hart expressed relief at the result and he will now be hoping that with more stability off the pitch, the players can start performing to their potential on it and gradually improve their odds of Premier League survival.

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