Terry Pierce - Portsmouth deserve to be punished
Published: 09 Aug 2010 - 09:12:24
On Saturday afternoon, the majority of Football League sides kicked off another new season, all on an even keel, starting on zero, but one club can count themselves very lucky.
24 hours earlier, every sports hack and news camera was focused on the High Court, awaiting the ruling of the HMRC’'s claim that Portsmouth's Company Voluntary Agreement unfairly favoured footballing creditors. And shock, the football club won.
So all of the other debt-ridden, over-spending clubs that Pompey owed money to will get all of their cash, but the small businesses in and around Portsmouth - the window cleaners and the caterers and everyone else - had to settle for a tiny proportion of their owed monies.
The injustice doesn't stop there though. Pompey have started the season on zero points, like everyone else. Exactly what was their punishment for years of financial miss-management, greed and over-spending? A nine-point deduction when they were already destined for relegation.
And all of this after the Chief Executive had the audacity to call on the Football League to give his club a 'sporting chance' to compete with their Championship peers. Exactly what have they done to deserve a 'sporting chance'?
They had an unfair advantage for a long time, by building a team they couldn't even dream of affording and winning an FA Cup in the progress, and should now be paying the price.
Bournemouth, Luton and Rotherham owed far less between them than Pompey, and the sanctions brought against those smaller sides have set them back years, but yet again a big boy gets off lightly.
Pompey should have at least had last year's points deduction applied this season, and should have felt very lucky if that was the extent of their punishment.
Instead they've got away with everything, with a couple of jolly days out at Wembley chucked into the bargain and I for one hope they suffer a year of struggle on the pitch.
Despite being gifted a 'sporting chance', it’s the least they deserve for years of depriving their competitors of just that.
It's good to be back
New players, new kits and new hope. But very quickly it all becomes rather familiar.
The same flat beer in the pub that's so rough you wouldn't go in there any other day of the week. The same half-cooked burgers served from the back of an M-reg transit van. The same moaners and whingers - the guy who thinks he knows everything and the guy who really does know nothing.
And the same excuses - the referee, the new boy, the old scapegoat, the pantomime villain, the pitch, the fans.
I could go on. But I won't, because we love it.
READ TERRY PIERCE'S FOOTBALL LEAGUE BLOG EVERY MONDAY EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
- Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.
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