Birch reflects on '˜encouraging' week

Kanu has become the latest player to quit Pompey, bringing down the number of senior players to three.

Monday, 30th July 2012, 2:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 7:34 pm

But the Blues still face a fight to fend off his barrister’s £3m claim which could finish the club.

The veteran striker’s 14-day notice expired at the end of last week, effectively seeing him walk out on the remaining 12 months of his contract.

Regardless, there remains the problem of his claim to the Football League over money he believes he is owed since joining in the summer of 2006.

It’s a figure Trevor Birch disputes – and today the club have lodged papers with the Football League asking for a tribunal to resolve matters.

The Kanu situation comes at the end of a week when four of his former team-mates left Fratton Park.

Erik Huseklepp’s switch to SK Brann on Saturday saw him write off around £200,000 in deferrals and money owed, The News understands.

He has followed Luke Varney, David Norris and Greg Halford out of the exit – the quartet all walking away from ‘substantial sums’, according to Birch.

That leaves Liam Lawrence, Tal Ben Haim and Dave Kitson on the wage bill.

But Birch knows they must also go before either Portpin or the Trust can take the club over and prevent liquidation before the August 10 deadline.

He said: ‘It has been encouraging in terms of players leaving – a good week.

‘Varney, Norris, Halford and Huseklepp have all effectively walked away from what they are owed.

‘There are substantial sums in there but they have made compromises to leave the club with years left on their deals.

‘They have also agreed for their deferrals to be paid over a certain period of time. It’s a terrible time for everybody but they have helped the club and I’m sure fans will thank them.

‘That means there are now three players left because Kanu effectively walked away at the end of last week after submitting his 14-day letter.

‘He is still claiming, however, so we will today file a submission to the Football League, with it going to a tribunal hearing to decide on the issue.

‘Hopefully they can hear it as quickly as possible.

‘There’s still Championship interest in Liam. I’d hope that gets through early this week.

‘The other two (Kitson and Ben Haim) are still the same – no progress is being made.’

Huseklepp wrote off all money owed to him by Pompey in a remarkable gesture.

In addition, Bari have agreed for the outstanding £1m in the transfer of Huseklepp last August to be paid back from next year – over 24 months.

It is understood the other three recent departures also walked away from money owed – in addition to receiving their deferrals over four years.

Nottingham Forest paid £200,000 for Halford – wiping out Pompey’s debt to Wolves, while Leeds gave £200,000 for Varney, cancelling out the Blues’ Derby debt.

Meanwhile, Norris left for Elland Road on a free after agreeing to cancel the remaining two years of his contract at no cost.

Michael Appleton is still unable to make signings, though.

Birch said: ‘Until Portpin’s conditions are met then players won’t be coming in.

‘It cannot happen.’