Portsmouth chief’s response to questions of club's Championship sustainability against Sunderland, West Brom, Norwich City & Co

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Andy Cullen believes it’s virtually impossible for Pompey to be sustainable in the Championship at present.

But the chief executive can see shifting sands within the game to ‘broken’ finances in the second tier changing that picture.

And Cullen is adamant the Blues are well placed to compete as and when they arrive in the second tier without debt, as they apply their new player trading model.

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How finances are distributed at that level is under increasing focus, with the last set of financial results for 2021-22 seeing clubs lose a combined £290m and wage-turnover ratio an average 125 per cent.

Cullen said: ‘People ask how can you be sustainable as a Championship club?

Sustainability in the Championship, if you look at it as a break-even model which some people will, it doesn’t really happen. You are reliant on investment to come in - and we know our owners will continue to support and invest in us in the Championship.

‘There are other areas you can work hard at, the recruitment model being an important part of that.

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‘The other thing which is happening which will create a more even playing field is the Championship, at the moment, is distorted by clubs who have parachute payments. That gives them a £45m start - and you have clubs trying to play catch up. They are very, very quickly getting themselves into an awful muddle.

Andy Cullen.Andy Cullen.
Andy Cullen.

‘We saw that with Derby County, where the owner loses interest, and you get to stage are in peril. That’s not just with Derby, but a number of clubs.

‘We don’t want to be one of those clubs - Portsmouth have been there before and everyone has lived and breathed it. We have to make sure we never ever put the club in such a precarious position again.

‘The league are really trying to get to terms with a fairer redistribution of monies, which is a discussion with the Premier League which links back into parachute payments.’

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With a new football regulator set to arrive, potentially by the 2024-25 season, English football appears to stand on the brink of a watershed moment when it comes to the game’s finances.

With Michael Eisner ploughing £28m into the club since his arrival in 2017 - all as equity - Cullen believes Pompey are well placed for that development unlike some.

He added: ‘I think we are in a good position.

‘We carry no debt as a football club, all the money Michael and his family have put into the club has come in as equity.

‘We’re not saddled with debt, whether that is hard debt at significant interest rates, as one Midlands-based Championship club is currently having to contend with - without the benefit of parachute payments next year.

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‘Or it’s soft loans, which is more the model owners will put in. They will put loans in at a low rate of interest or zero interest - but that still burdens some things on the club and the club have to make sure they can service those debts.

'There’s nothing wrong with debt, as long as you can service it, but the servicing of that debt will still come out of your trading operations. So we’re in a fortunate position.’

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