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Not everyone is a Redknapp fan; Mr PORTSMOUTH STILL FUMING ABOUT HARRY AS BOSS.

Byline: MIKE WALTERS

AS Harry Redknapp's bandwagon pickets the gates of Wembley, the paradox could scarcely be more poignant.

While Redknapp is measured up for a Three Lions blazer, his old club Portsmouth is staring down the barrel at financial apocalypse again.

The latest ransom note to drop on the doormat at Fratton Park, from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, was a demand for pounds 1.9million in unpaid taxes. That has a familiar ring to it.

And unless they discover a petty cash tin under the floorboards with enough loose change to settle the invoice - not to mention paying the players' wages for last month - Pompey are heading for administration for the second time in as many years. By now, Portsmouth's loyal fan base has learned to absorb economic armageddon, and at 6am this morning the owner of a Petersfield bookstore was setting out in his minibus on the 330-mile long haul to Blackpool.

In opening hours, John Westwood minds the shop in a librarian hush as his customers search for ancient fly-fishing manuals or first editions of novels.

But in his stovepipe hat, blue wig, chequered chef's trousers and his one-man band kit of bell, drum and bugle, John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood - to use his full name - is better-known for his other incarnation as the face of Pompey's voluble support.

And Pompey John, tattooed talisman of the Hornpipe tendency, does not share the nation's euphoria about Redknapp's accession to English football's throne.

"Harry has come up smelling of roses this week, but the club he left behind in 2008 is back in the mire yet again," scoffed Westwood, who has a broken marriage and a vulnerable bank balance to show for his devotion to Pompey.

"We are still picking up the tab from his time as our manager - and wondering if these setbacks will ever stop.

"We've all had our gripes about Harry, and from a personal point of view I don't dislike him any more. It's gone past that stage - as far as I'm concerned, he's a nonentity.

"But if he gets the England job, as I'm sure he will, I will have to cheer through gritted teeth because I'm proud of my country and I go to every game at Wembley as well as following Pompey home and away. The memory of him winning the FA Cup will never fade among Pompey fans, and the pride will never diminish, but he said it himself in court the other day: he's a great manager of football teams - but he's no businessman."

After Pompey's fiscal madness was unravelled, they unearthed a unique species as their false messiah: a penniless sheikh.

Westwood, 48, sighed: "Over the last few years we've been let down, we've been had over a barrel, we've been raped and pillaged and we've been taken for a ride.

"A lot of Portsmouth fans are at the end of their tether because there are only so many times you can hit a club with winding-up orders, going into administration or coming within a whisker of liquidation.

"We've had chancers, frozen accounts, invisible owners... and what really makes us angry is that the Premier League and Football League have taken no responsibility for it."

CAPTION(S):

YES, I'M UP IN ARMS Tattooed talisman Westwood is still licking the wounds at Pompey
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2012
Words:555
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