Pompey ‘heroes’ hold club’s future in palm of hands

Tal Ben Haim
Tal Ben Haim

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So the fight for Pompey goes on.

But the reality is it’s the players who now hold the club’s future in the palm of their hands.

Balram Chainrai and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust continue to vie for position in the race for power at the end of Frogmore Road.

There is little doubt Chainrai’s Portpin continue to hold the nap hand, however.

Unless our familiar friend from Hong Kong is satiated with the £19m or so he is owed, he is going nowhere.

Chainrai, putting it mildly, remains a divisive figure among supporters.

Those who have done their homework make no apologies for showing their disdain of him, and the debt which is the heaviest of millstones around the club’s neck.

Maybe, however, the spleen-venting in his direction from those who continue to fight for their club’s existence should, perhaps, be focused elsewhere. Just for the moment.

It may be an alien concept for the Fratton faithful so adept at backing their players to the hilt.

But there are more than one or two of their heroes who are now holding their club over a barrel.

And when they are people who profess their love for the star and crescent it leaves a horribly bitter taste in the mouth.

Take our old chum Tal Ben Haim, for example.

The suggestion emerged last week Ben Haim had taken a £30,000-a-week wage cut.

For clarity, it’s not a wage cut – it’s a wage deferral. He will see all that money.

Unless his insistence on demanding £2m for the final year of his contract forces the club into liquidation, of course.

Ben Haim’s insistence he ‘likes’ Pompey fans is galling considering his recent conduct.

This is a man who manoeuvred himself back into the picture at Fratton Park at the start of last year, when his move to West Ham broke down, but spent the second-half of the season in dispute with the club.

It was during that time he threatened to kick balls into training sessions to wreck them, according to well-placed sources at Eastleigh.

It’s a similar story for Aaron Mokoena, who wants £600,000 for the last year of his deal.

Perhaps worst of all, though, is the ongoing impasse between the club and Kanu.

This man is a Pompey icon – the hero of 2008, the King of Wembley on that glorious May afternoon.

Kanu is looking for the full £300,000 he would be due to receive for the final year on his contract.

The reality is he has long been ready to be put out to pasture after arriving in 2007.

Kanu, of course, would have been remunerated handsomely in his time here.

How much he would have earned in his time at Pompey is open to speculation. £8m? £10m? If only his agent would answer his phone to The News.

Kanu memorably described his relationship with the club he serves as a ‘match made in heaven’ when picking up a lifetime achievement award at The News Sports Awards last year.

That is looking increasingly like empty rhetoric in the wake of recent events.

There are many of the ten remaining senior players looking for a compromise, players looking for an outcome that will allow Pompey to stay alive and them to further their careers, as Luke Varney intimated last week.

Administrator Trevor Birch does, though, find himself is an unenviable negotiating position, with many players knowing full well they will not get contracts anything like those recklessly handed to them by past regimes.

Michael Appleton welcomes his squad back to training next week ahead of the opening friendly against the Hawks on July 14.

Those who preach their love for the royal blue shirt but practice an approach that could yet kill the club should be there.

It might be worth supporters letting them know what they think of those who threaten Pompey’s existence.

To paraphrase Michael Parkinson, footballers are in a multi-million pound industry with the aroma of a blocked toilet and the principles of a house of ill repute. Don’t we just know it, Parkie.