Pay up Pompey, Pompey, pay up

30th April 2010 at 01:00
(Apologies to Portsmouth FC) but this could be the chant from the terraces of schools owed money by the beleaguered club

Hampshire schools are among the organisations having to write off thousands of pounds in the financial chaos surrounding Portsmouth Football Club, which went into administration in February 2010.

At the time it was believed its debts were around #163;70 million, but when the administrator's report was published last week, it revealed debts of #163;119 million.

David Rowlinson, head of Cowplain Community School in Waterlooville, hired out the school's artificial football pitch to the club for use by its academy. The school is owed #163;14,743.54 and has little expectation of seeing any cash from the club.

Mr Rowlinson said: "We are owed a year's hire fees. It's from our community budget so it will slow down our development next year.

"If you've got the foresight and work on the basis of a worst-case scenario then you can manage that sum in a school of our size, but there are people who are less able to do that."

The administrator's report revealed how football clubs were large economic players in their communities. It details debts to smaller creditors, including #163;697 owed to the Scout Asssociation and #163;2,701.91 to St John's Ambulance.

But despite the shock, Mr Rowlinson acknowledged that the overall feeling in the school and city was one of sadness.

The club was docked nine points by the Premier League as a result of going into administration, making relegation a certainty. But it has also won a place in the FA Cup Final - for the second time in three years. The match, against Chelsea FC, will be played on May 15 at Wembley Stadium.

Mr Rowlinson said: "Portsmouth is a close-knit community and it has always been a well supported club. People are very proud of Portsmouth FC and its history which goes back a long way, to events such as winning the FA Cup in 1939. So to see it in such a mess is very disappointing; it has been very sad for the community as a whole."

King Edward VI in Southampton, an independent school founded in 1553, is also owed money - #163;41,714.01. The school owns grounds on the outskirts of the city which were rented as a training ground by Portsmouth FC, known to fans as Pompey.

The school's accounts for the year ending August 2008 note that the club had invested in new playing surfaces at the grounds, and congratulates them on their very successful season.

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