Portsmouth chief Andy Cullen hails Michael Eisner's 'significant' financial commitment in battle against £4m losses during coronavirus

Andy Cullen has praised Tornante’s ongoing financial commitment amid Pompey posting £3.86m losses.

Thursday, 31st March 2022, 4:55 am

Match-day income dropped by around £6.5m, with turnover falling from £11.28m to £7.38m, although coffers were boosted by a Premier League grant of £1.82m.

Crucially, an injection of £6m from Tornante helped bridge losses, while enabling the purchase of Roko.

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It leaves Pompey debt free – a strong position Cullen believes is testament to Tornante’s continuing dedication to the club.

The Blues’ chief executive told The News: ‘The level of the losses are sobering and reflect the stresses that the football club – and indeed the industry – were under during the course of the pandemic, with no crowds coming in and other traditional sources of revenue cut off.

‘With Pompey, that’s particularly significant because the loss of gate revenue for one of the bigger clubs impacts even more than perhaps clubs at the other end of the scale which average 3-5,000 crowds.

‘We’re grateful for the support from the Premier League in terms of the bail-out money, and the support from the government furlough scheme which, in Pompey’s case, meant there weren’t staff redundancies during furlough.

Andy Cullen has praised Pompey chairman Michael Eisner and Tornante for their ongoing financial backing during coronavirus. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘But, most importantly, the underwriting of those losses from the owners is significant.

‘It has been a further injection of funds into the club in times of stress – while still committing to the future and pressing on with the investment into (redeveloping) Fratton Park,

‘The clubs remain debt free, despite all the pressures that came in, with fresh equity into the club to leave it in a really, really good position.

‘It’s recognising and being grateful for the owners continuing to not only support the business through the pandemic, but support us coming out of it as well. Without it, we’d be in a very, very difficult position.

‘It was remarkable that 72 Football League clubs were kept intact during the pandemic, but a number still remain under stress and a number have changed ownership during the last 12 months to gain that greater injection to survive.

‘If you’re a club which relies significantly on match-day income, and that income is then cut off, you cannot operate without the benevolence, the investment and the confidence of the owners.’

Cullen added: ‘In the last few years prior to the pandemic, the club had been run pretty much on a break-even model.

‘So there are two ways of underpinning the finance you need.

‘The typical way would be to secure loans off institutions, which is extremely difficult in the current environment, so you are heavily reliant on owners.

‘If you were to do a forensic exercise on what owners have done across football clubs during and post-pandemic, probably a lot of it has been loans going in to secure the clubs.

‘Whereas ours has been all equity, so there’s no debt from the club to the owners in the future.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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