The Portsmouth Situation’s Unseen Angle

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So, I decided to check out the website for Portsmouth’s sponsor, It is a UK based job-search website. On a whim, I  looked for jobs involving “football” in Portsmouth. And that’s when the problems began…

I entered in the key term “football” and selected Portsmouth as my location.

My rationale was simple – Portsmouth FC was in dire straits, so surely a few job listings would show up for, say, owner, CFO, center back, etc. However, Portsmouth has to compete with misclicks that lead to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a city in the United States of America. This is the obvious first barrier to recruiting talent to Pompey.

If the job candidate has mastered Googlemaps or graduated from highschool with a passing grade in geography, she or he should clear that hurdle. However, to my surprise, despite the serious problems at Pompey, only a handful of football results showed up.


Among those results, one sticks out like a swollen and sore centerback’s thumb. One result screams like a scary film female victim locked in a mortician’s basement. This result explains why Portsmouth is about to go under….it is competition. You see, if a random viewer is watching Portsmouth decides to click on the site on their t-shirt and look for a footy job, he will not be directed to the desperate Pompey, but rather to that mammoth of mammoths…Burnley. Buuuuurnley.


The obvious and pertinent question: is Burnley committing an intentional and debilitating braindrain by advertising on the sponsor of Portsmouth? Is Burnley the potent magnet in a fiercely competitive employment market, forcing Pompey to settle for Israeli ex-felons?

Of course, few people look at a sad reality in football – Portsmouth won the FA Cup, but success has a severe price in the wage inflated land of European soccer. While in the States the players cry foul over post-contract rights, across the pond clubs drown in debt to former players and past transactions.

Also, a chicken and egg situation has emerged. Portsmouth relies on executive talent from the Middle East, yet even the most naive of international businessmen knows the risks and cutthroat reputation of that region of the world. Arrest warrants, tax evasion,  those are considered costs of business, not harbingers of insolvency. Did Portsmouth’s mismanagement lead them to rely on executives with a rap sheet? Or vice versa?

Let’s not forget this is an institution that hired and employed Harry Redknapp. Who worked closely with Peter Storrie.

We also should acknowledge the Portsmouth fans’ choice of dissent – the death threat. Jermaine Defoe has a strong season and top clubs want to sign him. Happy for his services and best of luck? No. Death Threat. The CEO is working tirelessly to manage a miracle. Thanks? No. Death Threat. At what point does a supporters’ group become a drunk militia?

So let’s recap – you saw Portsmouth play, clicked on the sponsor website, and now you do a little research on your prospective employer. Tax evasion pops up. The other employees, recruits from countries with cut throat business practices, have arrest warrants or have served time. What do you do? Well, if you have an IQ over 30, then… scroll down and come back to BURNLEY. Yes, it all comes back to Burnley.

We shan’t forget the snake in the grass in all this, the sly and stealthy cheetah, the BURNLEY.

Despite the bigger business (read boring) context, I am sorry for Portsmouth.

However, I am also worried about Burnley. I’m not worried about Burnley for Burnley’s sake. No, I’m worried about Burnley for other clubs’ safety. My mind wanders…did Burnley, the Goldman Sachs of soccer, shortsell AIG stock a year and a half ago? The possibilities are endless for Burnley’s brilliantly devilish plan to tortuously interfere with other club’s business while ruthlessly climbing to the top. Portsmouth was an inviting and decaying carcass, but Burnley swooped like a vulture of its own sinister volition.

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