Chainrai is right to say last stars must leave

Surely, holding a door open for a member of either sex is just good manners?

LESLEY KEATING: Would you dare hold a door open for a woman?

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Balram Chainrai was never the most garrulous of football club owners during his previous tenures in charge of Portsmouth Football Club.

So it is interesting to hear his opinions on the potential fate of the club as it prepares to enter the most critical week in its long and distinguished history.

It was predictable, of course, but Mr Chainrai, who is waiting to take over at Fratton Park, is absolutely right to say that if Pompey’s top earners don’t soon strike a deal to leave, there simply won’t be a club at all.

Neither he nor the Pompey Supporters’ Trust – the other contender for ownership – would take the reins if still saddled with stars on inflated contracts.

Not so long ago, there were many who were owed a pretty penny by the club that stretched beyond its means in pursuit of FA Cup glory and Premiership longevity. One by one they have left and, in doing so, have earned the applause and admiration of Pompey fans for writing off monies to which they were legally entitled but which the club clearly was unable to pay.

Now, just three remain and of those the perceived wisdom is that club captain Liam Lawrence is likely to find another club before the August 10 deadline set by administrator Trevor Birch for players to leave or Pompey to go into liquidation.

Which leaves us with Tal Ben Haim and Dave Kitson.

In a very real way, they hold Pompey’s future in their hands.

We would expect the matter to go to the wire next week, but we hope that these players will not force a liquidation which would actually leave them with no preferential claim on the considerable amount of cash they are owed.

This Saturday, Pompey fans will march through the city before the home friendly against Bolton. None of those who turn out will have earned anything like the two stars who hold the key to survival or disaster. Those players can afford to reach a compromise with the club and we have to believe that this will be achieved before Friday of next week.

Anything else is too painful to contemplate.