Pompey administrators are owed over £1m

MONEY MAN Trevor Birch
MONEY MAN Trevor Birch
Christian Burgess

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WORK carried out by administrator Trevor Birch to save Pompey has cost an average of £509 an hour.

It means whoever takes over the club will be faced with a bill of more than £1m to pay off administrators PKF since the firm was appointed in February.

SUPPORT Pompey fans are bidding to buy the club

SUPPORT Pompey fans are bidding to buy the club

The figures have been revealed in PKF’s joint administrators’ proposals report summarising what the firm has undertaken during the first six months of administration.

The document has to be published under 1986 insolvency rules.

It comes as Pompey Supporters’ Trust submitted its finalised bid for the club to Mr Birch.

Figures broken down in the document include costs accumulated over time spent with the creditors’ committee, hours detailing with secured creditors, planning the administration process, and negotiations with prospective buyers.

The document shows PKF partners or directors, which includes Mr Birch, charged an average of £509 an hour, while managers were paid an average of £322 for duties.

On average, supervisors or senior administrators have been paid £201 an hour, and administrators and assistants charged £163 an hour.

Administration with PKF cost Pompey £299 an hour, on average, from February 17 to August 16.

The creditors’ committee has already agreed PKF can withdraw funds of £425,000, but it will be down to the committee to approve if the administrators can take out what they have accumulated.

Total administrators’ costs, as of August 16, stand at £1.3m.

According to the final progress report compiled by previous administrators UHY Hacker Young, administrator Andrew Andronikou was paid an average £341.67 an hour and total costs came to £1,094,858 from the period of February 2010 to February 2011.

A spokesman for PKF said: ‘The total figure reflects all of the work done during the first six months of administration – including restructuring the business, negotiating compromise agreements and settlements with players, supporting the interested parties in developing their bids for the club, renegotiation sponsorship arrangements and continuous liaison with all of the other stakeholders, including the Premier League, Football League and the PFA.

‘We need approval from the creditors’ committee to draw down any of the funds beyond the £425,000 that it has already agreed – and there currently isn’t a creditors’ committee meeting scheduled.’

He added there is unlikely to be another creditors’ committee meeting scheduled until there is ‘substantial progress on an offer’.

Pompey fan Bill Gillon, owner of fans’ website Pompey Online, said: ‘You could say if you don’t want to pay these fees, don’t go into administration.

‘You pay this amount because it’s a complex situation.

‘It’s not a quick turn around and there’s a lot of things we need to consider, such as former owners and the ground – there’s a lot of aspects to take care of.

‘It’s a lot of money and it would be nice, considering the players are having to bring down the amount of money they are going to get, if the administrators got a bit less as well.’

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust declined to comment on the administrators’ fees.

Fees depend on complexity - finance expert

ADMINISTRATORS are usually paid based on how complex the task at hand is, finance expert Steve Godwin says.

Mr Godwin, a director at Whiteley-based business recovery firm Portland, said fees are generally worked out following insolvency guidelines.

He added fees charged by administrators differ, with high-end firms in London charging more than those in other cities.

He said: ‘It’s all about the complexity of the task and the type of work staff carries out in terms of negotiations with parties.

‘It’s about looking at the point of view of the amount of hours put in for the scenarios that come up.

‘Football has these complexities and needs about it. Administrators take calls from interested parties and then there’s dealing with the Football League and the charge holders to consider.

‘There are issues with player contracts and deadlines extending.

‘So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the hours clock up.

‘Creditors can ask for more information behind the report as there’s a provision to challenge fees within the Insolvency Act.

‘If the administrator doesn’t like the fees set by the creditors’ committee, he is able to go to court if the thinks they are being unfair.

‘Fees can change on different cases.’

168 hours spent holding negotiations over club

POMPEY administrator Trevor Birch and PKF partners have spent 168 hours holding negotiations and discussions with prospective buyers since February, the report reveals.

As of August 16, the hours put in by Mr Birch and senior staff at administrators PKF talking to potential investors has accumulated more than £85,000 in fees, according to the joint-administrators’ progress document released by the firm this week.

The document shows general administrators and assistants spent just over four hours with the interested parties at a cost of £784.40. It details the hours spent on 28 separate tasks carried out by PKF staff at Pompey since being appointed administrators on February 17.

The most hours clocked by the firm has been in ‘post appointment trading’ – the general running of the club.

All at PKF have worked on this task for a total of 1,875 hours, running up a total cost of £453,410.70.

A member of PKF management carried out three hours and 40 minutes-worth of work on compiling time summaries and billing, at a cost of £1,205.05.

In total, partners/directors are owed £523,669.55, managers £422,811.15, supervisors/senior administrators £163,422.70, and administrators/assistants £202,528.15.

Partners and directors spent 1,028 hours working on tasks such as general administration, working with secured creditors, planning and monitoring the administration, and legal correspondence and litigation.

Other stand-out costs include £6,539.35 generated by managers in investigations and £123 for 50 minutes’ work giving general advice.

MP ‘staggered’ by administrators’ costs

PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock said he was ‘staggered’ by the amount charged by PKF during Pompey’s administration.

The £1.3m bill – along with the £1.09m from the previous administrators – means Pompey has run up administration costs of around £2.4m in just two years.

Mr Hancock said that was a ‘horrendous’ figure.

He told The News: ‘For the money Trevor Birch is on, he ought to be playing.

‘I think it’s an astronomical fee.

‘It would be interesting to know how many hours they have been clocking a day. It’s a nice earner if you can get it.

‘There’s a big question over whether it is value for money.

‘It’s money that’s coming out of the club. A total of £2.4m over two administrations coming out of the club is horrendous.

‘There’s money to be made by everyone in football apart from the fans.

‘I am staggered by the amounts of money that has gone out of this football club.

‘I am staggered by the amount of money that’s involved in administration.’