Portsmouth down as West Ham win

Hammers beat Sunderland 1-0 to seal Pompey's fate after points deduction for debts.

    Portsmouth played sides like AC Milan in the Uefa Cup two years ago [GALLO/GETTY]

    Debt-ravaged Portsmouth bowed to the inevitable when they were relegated from the EnglishPremier League on the eve of their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.

    The south coast club went down without kicking a ball on Saturday, their slim hopes of survival snuffed out by West Ham beating Sunderland 1-0.

    In truth, their chances had already been effectively killed off when they were docked nine points for going into administration in February.

    With West Ham moving four points clear of the drop zone, Portsmouth are mathematically unable to escape with five matches remaining.

    Trounced

    In the only other Premier League game of the day, Burnley trounced Hull City 4-1 in a battle between the two sides most likely to follow Portsmouth down to the second division.

    "Had we not won the Cup it probably would have done us a lot better...we would have been able to build on two decent years of progression"

    David James, Portsmouth and England keeper

    Both have 27 points with Wigan Athletic and West Ham on 31.

    Portsmouth have 14.

    On the flip side, West Bromwich Albion secured their promotion back to the top flight, joining Newcastle United, after beating Doncaster Rovers 3-2.

    After ending a 58-year wait for a major trophy in 2008, when they won the FA Cup, the club has lurched from crisis to crisis.

    Since their last appearance at Wembley, the 112-year-old club have been through four owners and as many managers.

    The club's status as the first Premier League side to go into administration resulted from a winding-up order presented by the government's customs and revenue department for tax debts totalling at least $11.47 million.

    Buckling

    Now buckling under a massive debt burden, Portsmouth were put up for sale by Alexandre Gaydamak last August when the global economic crisis started to bite.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday April 10

     
    Hull City 1-4 Burnley
     West Ham 1-0 Sunderland

    Sunday April 11

     
    Wolves v Stoke City
     Blackburn v Man Utd
     Liverpool v Fulham
     Man City v Birmingham

    United Arab Emirates businessman Sulaiman al-Fahim stepped in and then sold 90 per cent of his shares to Saudi businessman Ali al Faraj.

    Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai became the fourth owner in less than a year, saying he had "zero interest" in running the club and hoped to offload it as soon as he could find another buyer.

    On the pitch, the situation was equally troubled with Portsmouth losing their opening seven matches of the season and struggling to pay players' salaries.

    Manager Paul Hart was sacked in November and Israeli Avram Grant, a former Chelsea boss, brought in to try and work an unlikely miracle.

    Goalkeeper David James, one of only a handful of survivors from two years ago, suspected the club's unexpected Cup success in 2008 might also have sowed the seeds of Portsmouth's downfall because of the lavish bonuses paid out.

    "I think to offer people the opportunity of big bonuses to qualify for Europe seemed like quite a safe bet because you don't anticipate winning the Cup," he told The Guardian newspaper.

    "Bizarrely, had we not won the Cup it probably would have done us a lot better because we wouldn't have qualified for Europe and we would have been able to build on two decent years of progression."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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