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Pompey uncertainty worries James

David James
The irony of Pompey's new shirt sponsors is not lost on James

David James revealed that Portsmouth's summer of uncertainty had taken its toll on the players following their opening day 1-0 home defeat to Fulham.

Pompey have sold several key players, including Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch, because of financial worries.

The drawn-out takeover by United Arab Emirates businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim has hung over the club all summer.

And James said: "As we began to sell our players we couldn't help but look around and wonder 'who's next?'".

Portsmouth have accumulated almost £80m from transfers in the last calendar year with Lassana Diarra moving to Real Madrid in the January transfer window for £20m.

One week later Jermain Defoe returned to Tottenham for about £15m while Johnson's £17.5m move to Liverpool and Crouch's £10m switch to Spurs followed this summer.

"You can't help but start wondering whose fault is this," the England keeper continued in his column for the Observer.

"Where has all that income gone?

"As players and staff queried the security of their employment, it was an uncomfortable irony that were our new shirt sponsors when Canterbury, who make the kit, went into administration last month."

We have been told we have a new owner lined up and the future is bright, but until everything is signed, sealed and delivered we are all - fans, players and staff - prone to worry

David James

Rumours of Portsmouth going into administration have also been bandied about this summer and that too did not help the mood at Fratton Park.

"Hearing that dreaded word - administration - attached to a Premier League club, albeit speculatively, is unprecedented in this division," James said.

"Hearing it in association with your own club is much worse.

"Premier League clubs have always maintained this untouchable aura, and yet suddenly even millions of pounds in television revenue and sponsorship may not be enough to keep you financially afloat.

"It is a difficult situation to get your head round."

Portsmouth won the FA Cup in 2008 after achieving their highest Premier League finish, but later that year owner Alexandre Gaydamak, who had invested more than £50m to gain control of the club and spent as much again on players, announced he was to sell the club.

Gaydamark made no money available for the 2009 January transfer window and the club was forced to allow players to leave instead.

Although with Sulaiman Al Fahim's protracted takeover edging closer to completion, James is trying to remain positive.


"We have been told we have a new owner lined up and the future is bright, but until everything is signed, sealed and delivered we are all - fans, players and staff - prone to worry," he said.

"We have reason to keep the faith. The worst case doomsday scenario has not happened.

"We haven't gone into administration and having that opening game to focus on has been a real positive.

"Looking forward to seeing the fans at Fratton Park and playing football has kept us all going this summer."

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see also
Portsmouth 0-1 Fulham
15 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Storrie sure of Pompey survival
14 Aug 09 |  Portsmouth
Kanu signs short-term Pompey deal
14 Aug 09 |  Portsmouth
Chimes of uncertainty for Pompey
13 Aug 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth seek stability
10 Aug 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth and Kidd part company
10 Aug 09 |  Portsmouth
Pompey pay for chasing the dream
11 Feb 09 |  Portsmouth
Gaydamak ready to sell Portsmouth
07 Dec 08 |  Portsmouth
Gaydamak buys out Pompey chairman
19 Jul 06 |  Portsmouth

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