Tainted memories

Kanu. Picture: Barry Zee
Kanu. Picture: Barry Zee

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He was the King of Wembley.

Now Pompey’s hero of 2008 leaves Fratton Park under a cloud, four years on from that moment of all moments.

It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see the unsightly squabble that has developed ahead of Kanu’s exit from the club where he was once feted by supporters.

Football is a terrain which, at times, is an open market for greed and has long seen arrogance and selfishness go hand in hand with pay packets vulgarly out of kilter with the real world.

But Kanu seemed different.

Yes, he is well paid for his job, but the Nigerian has always been a keen charity worker through his Kanu Heart Foundation and appeared to have the common touch.

And there certainly seemed to be an appreciation towards the Fratton faithful.

Those present at The News Sports Awards last year when Kanu was given his lifetime achievement award, will not forget his emotional response when asked about his relationship with Pompey fans.

‘A match made in heaven,’ was the striker’s memorable reply. That now looks nothing more than empty rhetoric in the wake of his £3m claim against Pompey.

Kanu is now set to go head to head with the club he made 167 appearances for at a Football League tribunal, after papers were lodged by administrator Trevor Birch.

There is confidence from within Fratton Park that the claim has no grounds, with much of it relating to a contract signed in August 2010, which settled a dispute over a verbal agreement for a new 12-month £35,000-a-week contract.

That, of course, was before Pompey’s Football League golden share was transferred to a new company and the old one was liquidated.

But some of the major players at PO4 are certainly of the mind a successful claim from Kanu would be enough to finish Pompey.

Kanu’s barrister lays the blame for the saga at the feet of Birch.

He says he would be willing to defer or waive his entitlements like we have seen Greg Halford, Erik Huseklepp, Luke Varney and David Norris impressively do.

If that’s the case, you would think Kanu could simply do it.

If the striker truly cared about Pompey, the petty bickering should be able to end to find a solution.

Any suggestion of taking a moral position or gaining the upper hand in negotiations with Birch, would surely fall into insignificance against the greater importance of his club having a future and his own legacy.

As it stands, we find ourselves in a position where years of magic and memories are being tainted by the most unmajestic of departures from the King.