Pompey executive unimpressed by fan protests

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Portsmouth's executive director Mark Jacob has called for fans to lay off owner Ali Al Faraj as the club look to get themselves back onto a sound financial footing.

Portsmouth are challenging the winding-up petition served on them by HM Revenue and Customs before Christmas, and are to go to court to argue the VAT portion of their massive tax debt is too high by some £7.5million. The club are also currently subject to a transfer embargo because of unpaid fees.

Some sections of the Pompey faithful have vented their frustrations directly at the Saudi businessman, who took charge in October but has still to visit Fratton Park in person to watch the club's battle to get off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

"At the Arsenal game, there were chants which left Ahmed Al Faraj (the brother of Ali Al Faraj) - who watched the game on the Internet - most upset," Jacob said in the Portsmouth News.

He added: "Mr Al Faraj feels supporters do not see - or haven't been told perhaps - what has happened since October and it was like a pressure cooker that had suddenly exploded. Then there was the protest after the Coventry game.

"Quite clearly that is the supporters' prerogative, but I was most upset and disappointed. I sincerely hope that does not happen again given the strides this club has achieved over the last few months."

Jacob insists Pompey are making progress towards a more sound financial base. "I can sympathise with supporters and I can understand their frustrations, but they have to realise the perilous state the club was in October 2009," he said.

"They have got to appreciate the huge strides we have made since to stabilise the club, to get us into the position now where we have a fighting chance to survive in the Premier League and to move on.

"Quite clearly, had Mr Al Faraj not taken over when he did, the club would have suffered a points reduction because administration would have been on the cards.

"With a points deduction - given the points we have got at the moment - I defy anyone to believe the club would then have survived.

"Altogether, if you look at the funds that have been generated into the club since October, you are looking at approximately £40million.What we are doing now at the club is something positive and for the long-term future. We are very, very positive that we will be out of this predicament very, very shortly."

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