Redundancy threat remains for Pompey staff

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ADMINISTRATORS have warned Pompey staff that the threat of redundancy still looms over Fratton Park.

Joint Pompey administrator Trevor Birch, of accountancy firm PKF, made the announcement to staff yesterday and advised them of further ‘cost reductions’.

These cutbacks could involve redundancies but PKF could not put a figure on how many people could lose their jobs, nor a timescale of when the redundancies could be made.

The News understands potential lengthy and costly court action over the valuation of Fratton Park with Portpin could be a factor in the need to trim back the budget.

It comes as the Pompey Supporters’ Trust is putting the finishing touches to its takeover bid three weeks after being named as preferred bidders by Mr Birch.

Mr Birch said last night: ‘We met staff to advise them of potential further cost reductions, which might involve redundancies at Fratton Park, as part our ongoing review of the club’s cost base. Employees were originally put on notice in July and the meeting is a continuation of that process.

‘We recognise that this continues to be an extremely difficult period for everyone involved at the club but these measures are essential for the club’s survival. 

‘Although we are making progress with the sale of the club to the trust, it is vital that we continue to review and manage the club’s overhead cost base in the light of its current financial position.’

Colin Farmery, spokesman for the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, said the group was not told of yesterday’s announcement.

He said: ‘The administrator is the one that’s in charge of the club and we haven’t been part of this particular process or consulted on this process.

‘As far as the statement makes clear, it’s part of the ongoing administration of the club. We are looking forward to being in a position to make future announcements soon.

‘As a trust we feel for the situation the staff at the club have been in. It’s the second time they have been in an administration and the uncertainty must be dreadful for them.

‘We are working to get this signed off as quickly as possible and get the deal done, but it’s an extraordinarily complex and complicated process.’

But Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said the announcement was ‘unfair’ on the staff.

He said: ‘Why should they be left in this position? One minute they are saying there is a new horizon for Pompey with the trust and then told by the administrator that things look imminent that we are going to have more problems.’