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Projecting MLS Cup semis, title winner

Major League Soccer

Al Faraj speaks out for the first time

New Portsmouth owner Ali Al Faraj has spoken for the first time since taking over the club and outlined that stability is vitally important.

• Avram Grant set for new role

The Saudi Arabian businessman, of whom little is known, has made it clear what he believes to be the key to success for the Premier League's worst club.

"Our aim is to put a stable foundation in place in all aspects of the business, beginning with the financial restructuring of the club,'' he told the club's official website. "Once this is in place we can assess our approach to building a much-needed new training ground and redeveloping Fratton Park.

"In order to do this we need the full co-operation and understanding of various parties while we come to terms with the ongoing issues of the club's business and financial commitments.

"We are appointing a professional team to review all aspects of the club, working alongside chief executive officer Peter Storrie. There will also be a restructuring of the board. It is well-documented that we initially wanted to take over the running of the club two months ago. This would have enabled us to capitalise on the summer transfer window and help provide finance to strengthen the squad. Unfortunately we were unable to do so and that was a wasted opportunity.

"However, the players brought in at the eleventh hour, along with those already at the club, have been tremendous and shown a great spirit and unity. And that is great credit to them and Paul Hart and his coaching team.''

Al Faraj also paid tribute to the fans of the club, whose faith has already helped persuade Storrie to stay on in his role.

''We have a very loyal fan base who have shown remarkable support,'' he said. ''It is important for us to work with them and keep them aware of our plans. Both the community and council have a major role to play in the future of the club and we look forward to discussions with them on a number of issues to enhance Portsmouth Football Club."


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