They were looking after the club and let it down

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Trevor Birch had warned there were ‘sacrifices’ on the way.

For once, somebody in authority at Pompey was as good as his word.

Within 36 hours the Fratton Park changes began.

From the boardroom right the way to the Academy, it was brutal.

The actions were also highly necessary.

Firstly, let’s not shed tears for the exit of those in power who have overseen the latest demise.

You were looking after this football club and you let it down.

That goes for Vladimir Antonov, too, who suddenly has gone on a Facebook charm offensive.

Regardless of whether guilty or innocent of fraud charges, your high-deficit approach to running a football club has sunk it to its knees.

It was a gamble and ultimately others are paying the price for such a flagrant miscalculation.

No to worry, of course, it is the club which picks up the £10.5m bill.

Still, on Wednesday, David Lampitt, John Redgate and Nick Byrom left Fratton Park.

Otherwise known as the board and those who had largely steered the ship towards the waterfall.

Granted, Lampitt’s heart is in the right place and he did care about the club.

There can also be no doubting his efforts in one of the toughest jobs in football since arriving in June 2010.

Yet he was in charge of a club which spiralled into administration just two years after the previous occasion.

Sorry, but the chief executive has to be made culpable for such a demise. It happened on his watch, under his jurisdiction and during his regime.

Lampitt was accountable for a wage bill which continues to be one of the biggest in the Championship.

That process began long before CSI appeared on the scene, too.

He is certainly more responsible for Pompey’s plight than other staff who departed on the same day.

Yet on that bloody Wednesday those made redundant included somebody from the ticket office, somebody from the media department, somebody from the training ground.

In addition, Linvoy Primus was made part time, while there were Academy coaches and scouts let go.

A total of 33 redundancies among full-time staff may have been inevitable.

Yet it is a scenario that was allowed to reach such a heart-breaking conclusion.

Amid it all, Antonov has emerged on Facebook this week attempting to set all wrongs right.

He can, of course, bleat all he likes, Pompey fans have heard such protestations before.

You see, it’s never anyone’s fault, certainly nobody is ever willing to step forward and accept responsibility.

Sacha Gaydamak, Peter Storrie, Sulaiman Al Fahim, Ali Al Faraj, Balram Chainrai and now the latest group – all pointing fingers in other directions.

They have frequently portrayed themselves as hard-done by innocents, hapless victims of circumstances.

The world isn’t fair, they claim, it wasn’t me Guv, try him over there.

Yet all have played a part in the implosion of a football club whose name continues to be destroyed.

On his official Facebook account on Tuesday it was Antonov’s turn.

He wrote: ‘We never were a problem! We did our best to perform better!

‘If you all think that we were a problem then my apologise (sic) to all and we are fully ready to convert our debt to an equity with ZERO financial interest!’

All very commendable. However, under their charge the club was lumbered with £10.5m of debt.

In addition, they defaulted on payments scheduled to Chainrai, allowing him to seize back control in the first place.

The approach to running a football club was unsustainable should the benefactor drop out.

It is a car-crash scenario already witnessed in Gaydamak’s era.

Well, lightening really can strike twice – and here we are.

Still, don’t worry, there is good news from Antonov.

He added: ‘This people just robbed me and my family! And I’m going to prove it! If I’ll get a compensation from them after legal battle I’ll invest to Pompey again!

‘One way or another! Anyway Pompey in my heart forever! PUP.’

Well, that’s okay then, Antonov still cares.

As ever, though, this mess is always somebody else’s fault.

As ever, others have to pick up the pieces.

Aside from widespread redundancies in every department this week, the Pompey players have also been doing their bit.

Liam Lawrence has spoken of the ‘significant cut, not a tiny one’ they have taken following talks with the administrators and the PFA.

Such savings are deferred until the end of the season, when in theory the players would be then entitled to receive them.

It is a crucial agreement which will buy Pompey precious time as they continue to exist in the hope of finding an owner to sweep in.

Meanwhile, the fans, as ever, will play their part by providing unwavering support from the terraces.

As the chant goes, ‘We will never die’.

Except such an outcome is out of their hands and down to others.

The owners, the administrators, the chief executives – all have let Pompey fans down over the past few years.

All must take their share of the blame, every single one of them having played some part in getting Pompey to this low, low point.

The way the club has been run has cost people their jobs, lost local businesses money, provided heartbreak among supporters and taken Pompey to the brink of extinction.

And now, once again, it is left to the supporters to rally round and try to resuscitate the club.

The real worry, however, is that, this time, the damage is irreparable.