NoNE of the football fraternity wants to see Portsmouth go out of business but if there were any club standing to gain considerably from such a drastic scenario, it would be Middlesbrough.
Fears on the south coast that financially-stricken Pompey will go out of business unless investment is forthcoming appear well founded.
Were that to happen, the knock-on effect for the Championship is that any failure to fulfil fixtures on the part of Portsmouth would mean their results this season would be expunged.
Such an outcome would mean a minimal re-positioning in English football’s second tier, with the odd team dropping a place and a few points here, and some fortunate club gaining a place there.
But Boro would benefit more than anyone from that scenario.
Tony Mowbray’s side were eighth prior to last night’s battle of their promotion rivals, Blackpool and Hull.
Pompey’s extinction would move Middlesbrough up three places from eighth to fifth, and back into the play-offs. All this with a point coming off their tally for the 2-2 draw with Portsmouth on the opening day.
Any brief joy at the Riverside would be overshadowed by empathy, Boro having stared into the abyss of liquidation 26 years ago.
But there is no debating they would be the biggest beneficiary.
For every big winner there has to be a big loser, and other than Portsmouth, that would be West Ham, who would drop from the second automatic promotion spot into third, and the play-off places, with their 4-3 and 1-0 wins wiped from the record books.
Should Portsmouth fail to make it to the end of the season, Leeds United would be one place and four points worse off; Hull City would lose three points.
Doncaster Rovers are bottom in whichever table is considered, their one defeat to Portsmouth this season affecting neither outcome, other than Pompey’s demise would result in two teams being relegated from the 23-team division, not three from 24.
Barnsley would stay 14th but lose six points they earned from twice beating Portsmouth, which would significantly extend their quest to reach the safety mark.
Trevor Birch – the former Leeds and Sheffield United chief executive – revealed there is “a real possibility” Portsmouth will not be able to complete the Championship season unless somebody invests soon.
He further warned it would take “a major investment” to take Pompey into next season as their financial problems continue to mount.
Pompey were deducted 10 points last month after going into administration for the second time in two years. To trim the wage bill, Birch has announced 30 redundancies at the club.