Here we go again

Many Pompey fans would not welcome back Balram Chainrai to Pompey
Many Pompey fans would not welcome back Balram Chainrai to Pompey

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Some reacted with stunned anger, others with a gallows humour that is well rehearsed by now.

And then there were the large number of followers of the star and crescent who responded simply with the weary and knowing acceptance that this is how it works around these parts.

Those Pompey employees who could be affected most by events of recent days cracked smiles and shrugged shoulders, as they began their slide back towards the precipice once again.

For just a few months, there had been the hope of brighter times to come. That optimism shone simply because the dream of stability looked to be within Pompey’s grasp again.

It was a simple wish. How daft we all were to think it was achievable.

The trepidation and concern which emerged with the news that Vladimir Antonov’s AB Snoras Bank had been placed into temporary administration earlier this month was, of course, well founded.

We tried to reserve judgement. We tried to resist that well-versed cynicism boiling to the surface once again.

That notion went out of the window when Convers Sports Initiatives’ promise of it being ‘business as usual’ at Pompey was rendered irrelevant, with the news an arrest warrant had been issued for the club’s joint-owner Antonov.

Followers noted there was a modicum of truth to the CSI (not Crime Scene Investigation) statement still. Such events are the norm around PO4, after all.

Any idea Pompey would remain unaffected had already been laughed out of town by the time Roman Dubov’s comments arrived last Friday.

‘I am trying to save the business and save a lot of people in employment.’ said Dubov.

‘Antonov’s arrest – we are all very much affected.’

It was an admission from Dubov of what we already knew, as Antonov’s name disappeared from the club programme and CSI website. Pompey were right back in the smelly stuff once more.

That was first underlined by reports bank guarantees at the club are through Snoras, which will now be liquidated.

And now this. The news of CSI’s move into administration, with our old friend Andrew Andronikou’s UHY Hacker Young appointed to manage that process.

Pompey have stated the club will continue to trade and the budget is in place to do that in the ‘short term’.

The money, like before, has dried up. Yet, there are bills to pay and CVA payments to make, and the harsh reality is the club does not stand on its own two feet.

And then there is the spectre of a points deduction looming large – the same fate Southampton were dealt when their parent company slipped into administration.

No wonder Michael Appleton looked bewildered as he spoke with honesty and candidness after the draw with Leicester.

And that was before yesterday’s head-spinning events.

The Blues boss admits he doesn’t quite know what is happening and is right to be fearful about what lies ahead. Welcome to Pompey, Appy.

One immensely-worrying and hugely likely scenario is the club ending up back in the hands of Balram Chainrai once again.

Apparently, some fans would welcome him back once again.

I doubt the small creditors who are still waiting for their cash from Chainrai are among them. I doubt those who feel he saw Pompey as a tool to make a quick buck are among them. I doubt those who believe he used the club as a pawn in his battle with previous owners are among them.

In fact, the wag on Twitter who vowed he would welcome the Luftwaffe back in town before the Hong Kong businessman seems to have captured the mood among the more knowledgeable elements of the Fratton faithful.

We now have to ask who is to blame as this proud football club is once more besmirched and left on the brink.

The fans will again have to mobilise in their search for answers.

People have questioned the role of the Pompey Trust and its effective influence, along with the Fans’ Conference.

Their ability to provide an organised and united voice will prove key, however. The more militant SOS Pompey have stirred, too. Questions need to be answered.

The blue army have never shirked a fight. The call-to-arms for their next battle has arrived.