DCSIMG

The Berkeley Square date which continues to set Pompey destiny

aya Toure, left and Edin Dzeko were players former boss Tony Adams had at the top of his Pompey shopping list before former owner Sacha Gaydamak revealed he was putting no more money into the club

aya Toure, left and Edin Dzeko were players former boss Tony Adams had at the top of his Pompey shopping list before former owner Sacha Gaydamak revealed he was putting no more money into the club

 

Berkeley Square – where it ended and started for Portsmouth Football Club.

Tony Adams had his suspicions, the whispers had been audible enough ahead of the summons by then club owner Sacha Gaydamak.

Flanked by executive chairman Peter Storrie, the pair headed to London on that fateful day in December 2008 as figureheads of an ambitious Premier League club, FA Cup holders and Community Shield finallists.

When they left, Adams’ doubts were confirmed – the journey was over.

Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Per Mertesacker and Darijo Srna occupied his January shopping list as he made his way to that appointment.

The noose fixed around Pompey’s neck, weeks later he signed Hayden Mullins, Angelos Basinas, Theofanis Gekas and Pele.

There was no more money, Adams was informed, £6m had to be raked in during the next month’s transfer window, players had to go.

Today the ramifications of that Gaydamak bombshell can still be felt around Fratton Park as the club battle liquidation yet again.

Adams was sacked as manager four years ago on this very day over the phone while attending the fifth birthday party of his son, Atticus.

As for the Blues, they have represented one of the most dramatic fall from graces in the history of football in this country.

To date, they have suffered two administrations, wracked up 29 points in deductions, had four owners and are facing a third relegation.

And having been present at Berkeley Square, Adams knows he witnessed the moment Pompey began to unravel.

He said: ‘It was in December, just before the transfer window opened, and I went to Sacha’s London office at Berkeley Square.

‘Peter Storrie was with me and we were told Sacha was not putting any more money into the club and things were pretty bad.

‘We needed to refinance and £6m had to be brought in by the end of January.

‘Apparently, he had put something in the region of £180m into the club. I think we all know the reason why he suddenly cut the supply off.

‘We needed someone to leave to raise money and keep things going. Ironically, the club wanted everyone out but the players were all on big money and quite happy where they were.

‘I had to ruffle a few feathers and started a few arguments to try to get them out.

‘Jermain Defoe, who I liked, came to me and said he wanted to go back to Spurs and we got to live another day. Great.

‘Just two months earlier, after the Fulham game when I was told I was going to be manager, I went up to the boardroom and plans for the new stadium were on the table. Sol Campbell was also milling around having a look.

‘There was going to be a ground on the outskirts of the city, a £9-10m training ground in Titchfield, players like Dzeko and Toure discussed.

‘I took over the club from a high and suddenly there had to be a restructure and the future was having relegation after relegation after relegation.

‘To be fair to Storrie, I am not a big fan but I don’t think he knew the funding was going to be stopped.

‘We all thought Gaydamak was still on board and willing to put money in.

‘There were mumblings that he was not 100-per-cent committed – little did we know he was going to stop the money two months afterwards.

‘When Harry kept going to Sacha for money he was good for it, and when I was around it was cut off and we were left with a club in financial trouble.

‘But that day in London, I knew it was kind of all over – now the club is slipping and sliding towards League Two.’

When Harry Redknapp left for Spurs in October 2008, Adams took over as manager. It was a reign which lasted just three months and 14 days, during which time he won four of his 22 matches in charge.

After a late, late 3-2 defeat to Liverpool at Fratton Park, he was sacked by Storrie on February 7, 2009, and replaced by Paul Hart. A blow, but according to Adams, also a relief.

He added: ‘People often sack their manager to disguise where their club is going. That was the same with me.

‘I am certain we never ever went into the bottom three, but results weren’t great.

‘I have got to be honest, I was kind of relieved to be out of it.

‘I would have got on with it to the best of my abilities.

‘I would have tolerated it and persevered and made the stabilising for the Championship, but I was between a rock and a hard place.

‘You have got to cut your cloth accordingly.

‘But when you are coming from such high expectations and had been in the FA Cup final and Uefa Cup it is difficult.

‘The player exodus was going to continue, it was going to get worse – and it still is.’

 

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