Birch not encouraged by early Football League talks

Pompey administrator Trevor Birch
Pompey administrator Trevor Birch
Fan-funder Steve McLenaghan cuts the ribbon to officially open the Tifosy pitches at Pompeys Copnor Road training base. Also included are, from left, James Pollock, Tifosy, Blues chief executive Mark Catlin, manager Kenny Jackett, academy boss Mark Kelly and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Ken Ellcome. Fans were also present at the opening ceremony

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Trevor Birch has described talks with the Football League as ‘not totally encouraging’ as he seeks permission to bring more players to Pompey.

The Blues’ administrator approached League chiefs yesterday in an attempt to bolster Michael Appleton’s paper-thin squad.

Pompey currently have just 14 fit first-team players with one of those – Dave Kitson – suspended for this weekend’s visit of Leeds.

More discussions are planned today as Birch strives to persuade the Football League to give the green light to the arrival of several emergency loan arrivals.

Yet, as it stands, he fears Pompey’s pleas may fall on deaf ears, with West Brom loanee George Thorne the only addition in recent weeks.

Birch said: ‘It is not totally encouraging, I have to say, just at the moment.

‘They say that because of continuing outstanding debts they have to withhold money.

‘What they don’t want to see is other clubs saying “hang on, we are still owed money by that club, therefore why are you allowing them to bring in more players”.

‘So you have got that problem to deal with.

‘I will speak to them again today and put forward the case there are only 14 players. You have got to be sensible here.

‘Cut us a bit of slack, as it were.

‘It’s the first salvo in the exchanges between us, really.

‘I don’t think they are going to say “yes” immediately but we’ve just got to keep working.

‘We have opened the talks and need to keep knocking on the door.

‘It’s such a unique situation and the authorities are searching the rule books on these things and how they should deal with them.’