Former Portsmouth chief Peter Storrie would relish return to club

By Matt SlaterBBC sports news reporter

The man who presided over the spending spree that took Portsmouth to FA Cup success and financial ruin would like a second chance at Fratton Park.

Peter Storrie was chief executive of Pompey for eight years until the club became the first Premier League team to enter administration in 2010, only two years after that cup triumph.

Despite this chequered past, Storrie told the BBC he would love to return.

"My wife would say never in 100 years but my heart tells me 'yes'," he said.

"The criticism I've received hasn't been from all the supporters. I've had a lot of support from people who understand what happened.

"At the end of the day, you can only do what the owners ask you to do. I brought the club a lot of success."

Storrie's tenure did include some huge highs.

With Harry Redknapp managing the team and owner Milan Mandaric providing the money, the club were promoted to the top flight as champions in 2003.

Redknapp then led them to 13th in their first Premier League campaign only to leave for Southampton a year later.

But the current Spurs boss returned in 2006 just in time to rescue Pompey from relegation and take advantage of new owner Sacha Gaydamak's wallet.

High-profile signings such as Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, David James and Glen Johnson took the club to new heights, including a memorable Uefa Cup campaign.

But then Gaydamak's money ran out and Storrie was forced to search for another wealthy benefactor to keep the heavily indebted club afloat.

That search resulted in a season that saw Pompey change hands three times and fail to pay staff or taxes on time.

That they were relegated almost goes without saying, although they did reach an unlikely second FA Cup final.

It was Storrie who found two of Portsmouth's four owners that season, Sulaiman Al Fahim and Ali Al Faraj, but he does not feel responsible for their failures.

"I did all the checks you can do - more checks than the league did - and it all came out that they were multimillionaires and the club would be safe," said Storrie, speaking at the Soccerex business forum in Manchester. "How do you know when you can't get to the bottom of it?"

Storrie explained that Al Fahim's wealth seemed secure as he was the chief executive of a well-known business in Abu Dhabi and the star of a TV reality show.

The millions, however, failed to materialise as Al Fahim was soon unable to stay on top of Pompey's bills.

But at least Al Fahim was real, something that nobody can say with any certainty about Al Faraj.

"I still don't know if he exists," admitted Storrie. "I'm told by his representatives that he exists and I dealt with them personally, as did the Premier League."

The Saudi businessman was never spotted at Fratton Park, however, and nothing has been seen or heard of him since his brief spell at Portsmouth.

Storrie, however, is eager to return to football after a difficult period outside the game.

The 59-year-old was acquitted of tax fraud charges last year but this only came to light when Mandaric and Redknapp were cleared of a similar offence earlier this year.

Storrie, who has also held senior positions at West Ham, Southend and Notts County, would love that return to be at Pompey, despite them being in administration again and staring relegation in the face.

"I had eight of the most enjoyable years of my life at Portsmouth. It's a fantastic club," he said.

"I just think there must be somebody out there who will listen to what I and other people have said about the benefits of the club.

"There is a potential development scheme there and the club has already proven it can hold its own in the Premier League. There's no reason it can't do that again.

"I just hope there is somebody out there to take the club forward."

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