PORTSMOUTH’S new owner Ali Al-Faraj has pledged to dig deep to drag the club from the foot of the Premier League.
The Saudi oil and property tycoon saved Pompey from administration on Monday by acquiring a 90 per cent stake from short-lived owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim.
And having averted financial disaster, Al-Faraj has promised to fund the January transfer business needed to keep Portsmouth in the top flight.
“Ali is a passionate follower of the Premier League and wants Portsmouth to remain in the best league in world football,” said chief executive Peter Storrie. “There will be money to spend in January to make sure we do not lose our coveted place in the top flight.”
Al-Faraj’s lawyer Mark Jacob, who has also joined the club’s board, also reassured supporters that manager Paul Hart would once again be able to buy players rather than be forced to sell England stars such as Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch.
“There is going to be substantial investment,” said Jacob. “We were ready to invest and push things forward six weeks ago. There will be funds available in January to ensure we are not at the wrong end of the table come the end of the season.”
Al-Faraj’s takeover has allowed Portsmouth to finally pay staff their September wages, which were due last week. Storrie had initially lined up Al-Faraj as a buyer in August, before the club’s then-owner Alexandre Gaydamak sold to Al-Fahim instead. But following Al-Fahim’s failure to raise the necessary funds to keep the club afloat, Storrie tempted Al-Faraj back to the table and a deal was thrashed out on Monday.