Cutting Pompey to the bone

The Premier League’s first club to land in administration is in the hands of
UHY Hacker Young after Portsmouth went through the courts looking for a rescue
option. The man in charge from the firm is Andrew Andronikou.

What’s happened

After much speculation, toing and froing with the courts as well as intense
media interest, Portsmouth Football Club was placed in the hands of

Once in charge, Andronikou held a press conference and set out his rather
brutal stall. He’d be doing everything he could to cut costs and said that every
aspect of the club’s finances would be subject to review and scrutiny. He seemed
to hold nothing back. “I will be cutting to the bone, I can assure you.
Restructuring starts today. There will be significant cost cuts at all levels.
We have a huge job to deal with.”

Portsmouth’s difficulties had been well documented in advance but
Andronikou’s press conference painted a picture of worse times to come.

What happens next?

One can only assume Andronikou gets on with the job and cuts through the
morass that is Portsmouth’s finances like Kanu scything through a poorly
organised defence.

Andronikou has been with Hacker Young since 1999 and has chalked up some
high-profile administrations. The year he joined he took on the rescue of
the British Boxing Board of Control, the sport’s regulator, mired in controversy
because it couldn’t afford the £1m it was ordered to pay to brain-damaged boxer
Michael Watson.

Other colourful assignments followed, including the corporate rescue of the
London Mardi Gras, at the time the UK’s biggest gay and lesbian festival.
Further contact with sport came when he took on the Sportsman newspaper after
its collapse. However, creditors dis­lodged him from that role.

Andronikou’s stated aim is to save Portsmouth Football Club. Without tempting
fate it’s entirely feasible that’s what will happen. The big question will be
about the state of the club when he has finished. Premier League survival is
beyond hope but will the club be in a position to compete properly next season
in the Championship?

Already, Andronikou has his detractors (an occupational hazard for insolvency
experts). One blogger wrote: “He seems to be loving it, almost like he’s just
won the final of Big Brother when it first aired.”

So his PR style didn’t instantly win over the fans. It is debatable whether
the “cutting to the bone” statements was wise as an opening gambit for such an
emotive administration. He may not have made his job easier.

Having said that he has certainly succeeded in bottoming out the bad news
early. If he keeps on that message, however much opprobrium it might receive, he
would have made sure expectations are low meaning any likely outcome will look
like bonus points.

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