Appleton: No club has ever had it so bad

Pompey manager Michael Appleton during yesterday's press conference  Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey manager Michael Appleton during yesterday's press conference Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey chairman Michael Eisner Pictures: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton painted a bleak Pompey future and insisted: No club has ever had it so bad.

The Blues have been warned they could cease to exist before the end of April as their money anguish deepens.

Appleton was delivered the damning message face to face by administrator Trevor Birch following training yesterday afternoon.

The Football League and Premier League are currently withholding scheduled payments in order to fund football creditors.

In addition, former administrators UHY Hacker Young are keeping £300,000 they claim they are owed for services.

They are crucial funds Pompey desperately need as they struggle to remain alive.

Pompey face Middlesbrough tomorrow, hoping for a financial boost from the fans packing Fratton Park.

Yet, for a grimly-realistic Appleton, the worst-case scenario is looming ever closer.

He said: ‘We are in as difficult position, I am guessing, as any football club has ever been.

‘I can’t make it more straight than that.

‘I will be very surprised if there has ever been a football club in the country that has ever been in the position we are in right now.

‘It is not about being bleak, it is about being straight.

‘When he (Trevor Birch) walked through the door I asked him to be completely honest with me however bad.

‘Somewhere between now and the end of April something needs to be done, sooner rather than later.

‘Trevor finding out about where the parachute payments were going has made it clear to everyone.

‘That is money that would have got us to the end of the season – but that is not the case now, it’s a different scenario.

‘We are not trying to scare people into making a quick decision, these are the facts.

‘We have got a small pot of cash and it’s running out very, very quickly.

‘If we don’t do anything about it then the worst-case scenario will happen.

‘It is the situation where if something doesn’t get done very quickly we won’t have a football club, it is as simple as that.’

The precarious situation emphasises the urgent need for a new owner.

Brian Howe and Vince Wolanin have already voiced their interest.

Howe yesterday met Appleton and Birch at Pompey’s Eastleigh training base. And Appleton is remaining hopeful a new owner will soon arrive.

He added: ‘I will try to paint a bright picture if you want – but that is just how it is.

‘I like people telling me how it is because that is how I tend to deal with people.

‘I would rather him (Birch) tell me that than say “everything is fine, it’s hunky-dory, no problems”.

‘At least we know where we are, at least we know we need an injection of money from somewhere from an owner.

‘Hopefully, there is someone out there on the outside looking in thinking “maybe it is my time to have a little look at that”.’