Keep Playing Up…

22 04 2010

So I’ve not written anything on here for a couple of weeks due largely to the ever-increasing amount of work I seem to have, as well as my continued political apathy. However, today I’ve hit a brick wall in terms of the essay I’m trying to write, and instead of sitting there getting more and more frustrated with it, I have instead decided to voice my thoughts on one recurring news story. Namely Portsmouth football club.

Today the club have been denied the right to play in Europe next season for playing in the FA Cup final. As they are playing Chelsea, who are guaranteed European football next term, Pompey would normally therefore qualify for the Europa League. Except that, because they are in administration, they didn’t/couldn’t file the necessary paperwork to allow them to compete in the Europa League by the deadline. When they got to the final, they then appealed this decision to not allow them to compete in Europe, which has, today, been rejected.

Which is good news. Portsmouth are £120 million in debt. They have problems falling out of every orifice they have going. They have been docked points by the Premier League for going into administration. They are the perfect example of how not to run a football club. And, the most annoying part is that they have moaned about it every step of the way. They haven’t simply accepted their plight and got on with it.

Avram Grant complained that it was unfair to dock points for going into administration earlier in the year. Except that those are the rules. The same rules that every team in the football leagues has to play to. Today Andrew Andronikou has complained that it’s “wrong” that supporters are denied the right to watch their team play in the Europa League. Except that those are the rules, there was a deadline, and Pompey missed it. Simple as. Andronikou shouldn’t blame the league, he should blame the club.

Portsmouth are in trouble, yes. But they should take their punishment properly, accept their lot and get on with it. The club really doesn’t have anyone to blame but themselves. They deserve to go down (they were, after all, bottom even before they had their points deduction). They do not deserve to have their situation rewarded with European football. This isn’t about the fans as much as it is about the club. Blaming other people is not the answer. The frustration is that you continually hear from people associated with the club that they are the victims. Which they aren’t. The club is in the position it’s in due to poor financial management, and if the news about Asmir Begovich is anything to go by, this mismanagement is continuing despite the problems.

Portsmouth should be held to account for all their debt. They should be held up as a footballing beacon to every other club living beyond it’s means (today it’s Hull City). Tomorrow it will be someone else. They should not be rewarded for their faults, nor should exceptions be made for them. They should be necessarily punished for the outrageous mismanagement of their finances. No exceptions made. Not for them, not for anyone.

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