Grant: focus on football not money
Portsmouth manager Avram Grant claims his players remain focused on beating Burnley on Saturday despite the renewed saga over their November wages.
The club's players are normally paid by the last working day of the month, but the cash did not arrive in their bank accounts last Monday. Club chief executive Peter Storries has now confirmed the players have been paid in full and said the delay was down to problems following the recent takeover of the south coast outfit by Ali Al Faraj.
Chief executive Peter Storrie said: "Ali and his advisers have sorted out the small problem there was and the players have been paid in full, I am pleased to say.''
This was the second time this season Portsmouth's players have had their monthly salaries delayed, after they were forced to wait for their September cash when former owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim failed to pay.
Current owner Ali Al-Faraj stepped in, promising to refinance the club but director of communications Gary Double confirmed Pompey were taking out a bank loan to cover the outstanding wages. Double also revealed the club's refinancing should be complete by the end of the month.
But despite the off-pitch distractions, the Israeli has called on his players to remain professional and focus their attention on beating Burnley at Fratton Park on Saturday.
"Even if they are not happy about this situation, they are professional," said Grant. "They know we need to win and they don't want to stay at the bottom of the league. They are proud players and no sportsman would want to be in this position - with money or without.''
Grant added: "Everybody isn't happy about this - not us, not the owner and not the players. But we have a game tomorrow and we need to concentrate on the game. When the players were informed about this, they were not happy. But they were very focused on the game in training and they know what is important. That's winning the games and we are thinking about this.''
Pompey's latest crisis raises serious questions over the club's hopes of strengthening their side in the January transfer window. The Premier League's bottom club remain under a transfer embargo, as they still owe money for the signings of Glen Johnson and Lassana Diarra from Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
However, club chief executive Peter Storrie is confident that stability at Fratton Park under new owner Ali Al Faraj will soon be restored.
"The refinancing they have been putting together is actually going very well," said Storrie. "They want a bit of understanding from fans because they have had a lot of debt to deal with and they have put a lot of money in.
"It is a difficult market in the financial world at the moment. They took the club over with little or no due diligence because of the situation with Sulaiman. The new refinancing is very close now. They have put a considerable amount of money in.''
With the squad apparently needing to be strengthened, Storrie is anxious for the transfer embargo to be lifted before the January window.
"Avram has got some ideas in terms of players he wants to bring in and the owners are aware of that," said Storrie. "Obviously this refinancing arm will allow us to bring everything up to date and we hope then this embargo will be lifted, well in time for January.''