Street fighter Appy gets set for next scrap

Mustapha Dumbaye is training with Pompey.  Picture: Steve Reid (122393-693)
Mustapha Dumbaye is training with Pompey. Picture: Steve Reid (122393-693)

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The best news to come out of Fratton Park in recent days is that Pompey’s points deduction has not broken Michael Appleton’s will to continue as manager.

The fear was that the latest hit to Appleton’s ambitions to rebuild the Blues could have been one kick in the nether regions too far for the 36-year-old.

You half expected to see Appy take flight with the torch as the Olympic jamboree left town from Fratton Park on Monday morning.

Instead, the latest sanctions placed on the club by the Football League seemed to have simply stiffened his resolve.

The moves by those in power at FL HQ in Preston are largely in place to help the club secure a brighter future.

That’s certainly the case in the key ruling where only a limited proportion of the secured debt in the club can be carried forward into a new company.

That, for Portpin, would mean the value of Fratton Park which they have a charge over – thought to be worth £3m-£5m.

With their secured debt currently at £18.6m, that removes the millstone they have placed around the club’s neck – so a significantly-greater issue even than a points loss.

Does that also mean Balram Chainrai’s motivation to return to the club has been significantly reduced? Quite possibly.

All well and good then, you would think, as long as there is someone else to fill the void if his cast-iron grip over Pompey is finally loosened.

That’s where, it is hoped by many, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and their ‘ongoing’ bid to assume control comes into the equation.

Or could it be that the reduction of secured debt which has sent prospective buyers running for the hills may now see a new name come to the table?

One of those options simply has to come to fruition if liquidation is to be avoided.

The suspicion is more drama awaits behind the scenes in the comings days and weeks.

On the main stage, Appleton is scrambling around trying to put his production together.

The points loss, a legacy of the unfulfilled Company Voluntary Arrangement in 2010, looked like a significant blow to those plans.

The Pompey boss has spent his summer delivering a sales pitch to prospective signings based around the visit to League One being fleeting.

Convincing them that’s still the case when the Blues begin the campaign with a points deduction is something different entirely.

Yet, players still want to play for Portsmouth Football Club. Good players for the English game’s third tier.

The likes of Brian Howard, Mustapha Dumbuya, Simon Gillett, Jon Harley and Izale McLeod are happy enough to join Pompey in Spain on their pre-season tour.

That’s despite Appleton not being able to give them assurances of what lies ahead.

The word is there are a host of players back in Blighty waiting for the green light to link up with the club, too.

Appleton has been given budgets to work to for next season, presumably based upon Portpin returning.

He simply wants to get on with his job, and the sooner he can do that the better, with the season looming.

Appleton is a football manager who hasn’t been able to do something pretty fundamental to his job since arriving last November: Manage a football club.

There has to be questions about how events of recent days will impact on the takeover battle and his hopes of doing that anytime soon.

The Pompey boss remains bullish and has the looks and demeanour of a street fighter.

But there is a limit to how many punches even the most granite-like chins can take.