Birch hopeful of top earners leaving Pompey

DISCUSSIONS Administrator Trevor Birch with Bob Beech, from SOS Pompey, and Mick Williams, from the Pompey Supporters' Trust. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120615-517)
DISCUSSIONS Administrator Trevor Birch with Bob Beech, from SOS Pompey, and Mick Williams, from the Pompey Supporters' Trust. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120615-517)
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin, left, with club owner Michael Eisner with five Pompey badge designs in the background

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POMPEY administrator Trevor Birch says he is hopeful of ‘two or three’ of the club’s top earners leaving in the next 48 hours.

It comes as administrators PKF reiterated Pompey is in a ‘critical’ condition as liquidation looms.

Mr Birch, who was appointed Pompey joint-administrator on February 17, warned this week the club will be forced to close on August 10 unless the high earners come to a payment compromise or leave the club.

He told The News: ‘Hopefully we will get two or three more players out in the next 48 hours and get it down to the two or three others, then we might just get over the line.’

Joint-administrator Bryan Jackson added the players ‘have the power to keep the club going’.

Mr Jackson oversaw the successful conclusion of the administration of four Scottish clubs – Clyde, Clydebank, Motherwell and Dundee – of which the Dundee Supporters’ Society is now the majority shareholder.

He said: ‘We are making good progress with three or four players but despite many conversations and offers over the past few weeks, some players and agents still don’t understand what’s at stake here.

‘If the club is liquidated, players will not be protected by the football creditor provisions.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt says she will be doing everything she can to ensure the club survives in its current form ahead of the liquidation deadline.

She said: ‘I think it would be an extremely poor thing to have to happen for everyone concerned that there were two options on the table and neither were taken. We are in the few days left where we have a guillotine over the club and we have to do everything we can to save it. I will be doing everything I can with the administrators, the Football League and the Premier League to enable that to happen. If that’s not the outcome and, if this club is left to fold, those responsible will have an awful lot to answer for.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said the supporters needed to be ready for any eventuality if the club is forced to fold.

He said: ‘It’s hard if the players are determined to stick it out as they know their money is safe. Both ideas of Portpin or the supporters’ trust is conditional on getting rid of all those player and I think it’s now at the point of no return.’