Belfast Telegraph

Fresh investigations pose big questions over Portadown Football Club future

By Stuart McKinley

The latest fiasco engulfing Portadown Football Club has raised concerns at the top level of the game over the Shamrock Park outfit's future.

The Ports have had their suspension from all football activity - imposed following the non-payment of a fine - lifted by the Irish Football Association after the club launched an appeal against the ban.

More: Can defiant Portadown bounce back from latest turmoil?

Manager Pat McGibbon won't, however, be able to lead his team into battle against Coleraine on the opening day of the new Danske Bank Premiership season tomorrow after the Northern Ireland Football League upheld their decision to postpone the game.

The Belfast Telegraph has learned that NIFL chiefs are now poised to investigate the club's financial situation after a cheque lodged for payment of a £5,000 fine was refused at the bank.

There are concerns that the bounced cheque is just the tip of the iceberg and that Portadown's problems run so deep that they may not be able to see out the season.

A Portadown source, however, claimed that there are no money problems at the club and that historic debt has been whittled down to such an extent that their balance sheet is now as healthy as any other Premiership side.

That is despite the fact that a Receivers report on Ports sponsor, MET Steel, revealed an amount of £239,000 owed to the firm placed in administration earlier this year but lists the book value of the debt at only £23,720.

Experts say the difference between the two amounts suggest the Receivers consider that the total owed by Portadown to be a bad debt and expect to only recover about 10 per cent.

NIFL have now also flagged up new issues over player registrations at Portadown in the wake of a 12-month ban on signing professionals with queries over amateur contracts signed by two players, Stephen Hughes and Niall Henderson.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph