Is Push Turning To Shove At Fratton Park?

By on Aug 15, 2012 in Finance, Latest | 18 comments

At Home Park last night, Plymouth Argyle comfortably beat a scratch Portsmouth side made up largely of youth team players by three goals to nil in the First Round of this years League Cup. Seldom could such a result have seemed more trivial in comparison with events going on elsewhere at a football club than they did in Devon last night. Portsmouth Football Club has been teetering on the brink for several years now, a story quite brilliantly recanted for us on this site by SJ Maskell, but this morning, with the news that Balram Chainrai and his Portpin company are finally to withdraw their interest in the club, comes the moment at which push comes to shove at Fratton Park.

The story of the summer at Portsmouth FC has been one of a desperate battle to off-load the club of high earning players that were irresponsibly signed after the clubs previous spell in administration. One by one, this has been chipped away at, with the clubs administrator Trevor Birch making frequent dire warnings concerning the fact that the clubs immediate future. The last deadline to pass came at the end of last week, when Liam Lawrence, the last remaining senior player on the books at Fratton Park, finally agreed to leave the club. This was supposed to open the door for Chainrai to buy the club from the administrator, but this morning Chainrai announced – with a statement of near startling petulance – that he would be withdrawing his interest in Portsmouth FC as well. The full statement, which was released to Sky Sports this morning, reads as follows.

Portpin Ltd regrets to announce that it is withdrawing its bid for Portsmouth Football Club. Unfortunately, our efforts to save the club once more from extinction have hit a wall of rejection and lacking co-operation from the administrator and other interested parties. We are not the ones who have caused the club to collapse and we are not the ones to choose PKF as administrators. As history has recorded, we sold the club over a year ago after saving it from liquidation and unfortunately found ourselves again fighting to try and save the club from another liquidation.

Through this administration process over the last six months we have always had the club’s best interest in mind – unlike many parties who were involved in the process. We repeatedly encouraged the administrator to find a new, willing and able buyer to take over the club – unfortunately he was unsuccessful in this job and couldn’t find a buyer despite his promises. Later he approached us to be his safety net to save the club as he couldn’t find a buyer. We agreed in the effort to avoid liquidation of the club. We welcome and will assist anyone, including the supporters trust to try and save the club in the coming days.

At this moment in time, we feel that:

- the negative criticism and lack of support for our takeover by the fans of this club.

- the fact that the administrators do not want to compromise on their unrealistic fees.

- the fact that suddenly the club has received additional huge football creditors’ claims from former players and management such as Hughes, Brown, Kanu, and Lampitt and more.

- the fact that all the money from the parachute payment which were supposed to carry the club for the next two seasons was spent and committed by the administrator on players’ compromises and fees : total £12million.

- the fact that the Football League has decided to deduct 10 points for no reasonable reason and by its decisions didn’t show any willingness to help in saving this troubled club.

- the fact that the supporters’ trust which we met and we voiced our support for their takeover bid could not raise the funds to satisfy the administrator or the Football League and the loan that was promised them by the council had unrealistic terms.

- the fact that the club did not get any  real support from any official they were all very good at creating headlines.

- and finally the last straw yesterday afternoon the manager told the press before the season starts that he is sure of another relegation.

All of these facts have left us in a position that we no longer want to fight this battle, we have zero support to save the club therefore we formally withdraw our bid and our honest attempt at saving the club. We will sleep well knowing we did our utmost to save the club. We welcome and will assist anyone, including the supporters trust to try and save the club in the coming days.”

Nothing ever seems to be anybody’s fault these days, does it? There has never been any belief amongst Portsmouth supporters that Portpin has been involved at Fratton Park for any reason other than its own gain and their departure from the club will be regretted by few. This decision does, however, now very much change the situation with regard to saving the club. The Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) is now the only bid on the table for it and, while the news website headlines screaming that Portsmouth FC is “ON THE BRINK” may be saying what they are saying in the way that they are saying in order to lure readers to click through to their sites, it is true to say that this could turn out to be a game-changer for the future of the club. The Trust has raised £3m in pledges from supporters with £1m on deposit already but had to request a bridging loan from  Portsmouth City Council for £1.45m, which was approved last week.

The pressure group SOS Pompey, meanwhile, has already issued a response to the Portpin statement:

We have today been advised that Balram Chainrai and his company Portpin have withdrawn their offer to purchase Portsmouth Football Club for a third time, leaving the way clear for the Pompey Supporters Trust to be able to take control of our club.

We call on Mr Chainrai to do the decent thing, and accept the PST offer to purchase his charge on the club, and therefore walk away from Pompey, regaining some of the money he has lost, and leaving the club in the hands of the people who will truly cherish it and ensure that it continues as both a business and a legacy for the future.

SOS Pompey has campaigned for Mr Chainrai to finally leave Pompey, and we hope that this latest news could be the light at the end of the tunnel, which ultimately returns the club to the fans.

Portsmouth FC is the lifeblood of the fans and the city, and we ask all supporters of the club, the people of Portsmouth and football as a whole, to support the work of the Pompey Supporters Trust, in their continued efforts to secure its future. Pledges are still wanted, and both these and donations can be made via www.pompeytrust.com.

SOS Pompey intend to hold a peaceful demonstration of our pride in our manager and players before this Saturday’s game against Bournemouth at 2.15pm at the gates of Fratton Park, and we ask all fans to join us in showing how much we appreciate the work of the manager and staff of our magnificent club.

So this, then is PSTs moment to take control of the destiny of this club. SJ Maskell will be back later with a little more detail with regard to this story but for now, while we wait for the dust to settle and those involved to make their next move, the only thing that we can say is to reiterate the advice that we would give to the supporters of any club in the position in which Portsmouth finds itself today. At a moment in the clubs history which is a now or never moment unlike any seen at even this club before, all supporters must join the PST and pledge whatever they can to it. We are arriving at the make or break moment for this club, and frightening though that may seem, it is also a massive opportunity for the supporters of the club. It is time for all concerned to, as it were, step up to the plate and save Portsmouth Football Club.
SJ Maskell will be back shortly with a little more detail on the last few days and what this mornings announcement means for the club.

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    18 Comments

  1. calling all 2 bit business men… free money being given away….

    its for charity…and we will all pay ourselves £100k per anum for your trust..

    wind the club up – start again – using volunteers and build again pompey.

    its the same old chavs in cheap suits and free tickets on the ponce again….

    football is dead in the uk – like most industries RIP UK….

    old wag

    August 15, 2012

  2. I think what ‘Old Wag’ is saying is: Support the PST bid for the club.

    You can still pledge your support – details here: http://www.communitypompey.co.uk/

    SJMaskell

    August 15, 2012

  3. no he is not….

    why are they ‘accepting donations’ instead of allocating shares ?

    so ‘they’ can dissapear all the money and say ‘they’ saved the club….

    same old crooks running and ruining football

    ‘they’ will pay themselves ‘salaeies comensurate with ‘their’ market value’

    £100k part time will do for a start….

    old wag

    August 15, 2012

  4. SJM, i had no idea you were fluent in jibberish, thanks for translating ‘Old Wag’.

    hillstent

    August 15, 2012

  5. Somewhat libellous that Old Wag. They are doing both. Taking donations and taking pledges for shares. Trusts are too tightly tied up financially to do what you suggest. (see here: http://www.pompeytrust.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92&Itemid=89) as are CICs, which is the model the Trust plans to buy under.

    Trusts are run by volunteers, there will be no salaries paid to them.

    Think you need to read up a bit more.

    SJMaskell

    August 15, 2012

  6. same old ‘storie’

    i suppose the councils loan will become a donation in a few years time…..

    time to shut the club and start again at the bottom , like Chester and Darlington

    badly run clubs who had to cut out the cancer……

    old wag

    August 15, 2012

  7. ”too tightly tied up financially”
    sjm

    thats why Pompey owe £ 150million and never pay anyone…

    they dont pay charities / local businesses / tax / police etc.

    3 admins in fifteen years – and the council still lends them money !

    old wag

    August 15, 2012

  8. It seems SJMaskell was not so good at translating gibberish after all. I think the advice given to “Old Wag” is probably wasted. Let’s celebrate the light at the end of the Hong Kong tunnel anyway!

    Joe in Vancouver

    August 15, 2012

  9. Old Wag is yet another of the financial expert leeches that have attached themselves to our club since our FL approved owners went bust. These experts go on and on about things without having the faintest idea what has been happening to us for the last 3 years. THey go on and on about charities not being payed when in fact the supporters collected funds and paid the charities back more than they were owed. THe football League have allowed us to be owned by someone who didn’t exist but still passed their fit and proper test.There are so many other things that have happened that you have no knowledge of unless you are a pompey fan. At the end of the day we did nothing different to all the other clubs with rich owners except ours lost all his money. If you are all sitting there gloating thinking we will be the last then hear what our administrator told us. There are 37 clubs in England who are on the brinn
    k, so the same problems could be coming to a club near you soon.

    60 years pompey

    August 15, 2012

  10. And when they do, we’ll have to suck it up instead of telling everyone how badly done to we’ve been. I speak as a supporter of a club for whom admin is something “the Chairman would never let happen”, which means if events take the normal course following his proclaimations translates as “its inevitable”

    mick

    August 16, 2012

  11. “a bridging loan from Portsmouth City Council for £1.45m, which was approved last week.”

    That is a disgrace. That’s our money chasing their bad debts.

    Does every other League club get such a loan?

    They should pop down to Sandbanks and ask Redknapp for it.

    Nathan Jones

    August 16, 2012

  12. the FL have decided not to deduct 10 points until they exit admin…..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19286219

    the FL making rules up as they go along…

    a bit like pompey and paying their debts…

    and stealing honest suppliers money….

    old wag

    August 16, 2012

  13. If Portsmouth manage to get away without any points deduction, they should accept just how lucky they’ve been and show a bit of humility because I can’t for the life of me see why they shouldn’t be punished as severely if not more so than the likes of Luton, Bournemouth and Rotherham.

    Dermot O'Dreary

    August 16, 2012

  14. Right – let’s dispel some myths shall we?

    1. The PCC bridging loan does not come out of council tax payers money. It will be borrowed by PCC at a low rate of interest and paid back by the Pompey Trust at a higher rate of interest. The council will actually MAKE money on the deal. The club already does a great deal for the community of Portsmouth through its Sports and Education arm. It will do even more if run by the Trust.

    2. This season’s -10 was applied because the 2012 CVA agreed under Portpin’s offer did not consult the unsecured creditors from the 2010 CVA that was not paid. That 2012 CVA offer no longer exists as Portpin have withdrawn. That means a new CVA will be put in place. Maybe, if it is from the Trust, it will be negotiated properly and the penalty will not be needed.

    We don’t make the rules at Pompey, the FL do. Perhaps remarks regarding humility should be addressed to them as they approved the owners who put us where we are. But I do agree about the honest suppliers, perhaps you would like to address your remarks to our many long gone owners as well as Portpin on that one?

    As 60 years Pompey says – it is time for all football fans to realise that the weak regulation of the game has allowed this to happen. IT COULD HAPPEN TO ANY CLUB. Perhaps those it doesn’t happen to are better called the lucky ones.

    SJMaskell

    August 16, 2012

  15. Well done SJMaskell – that very well expressed reply seems to have subdued Dermot O’Dreary. It also gives us hope that maybe a well structured CVA offer from the Trust may mean that we don’t suffer a further points deduction. Maybe the FL should try deducting any points from Chainrai, CSI etc. ?

    Joe in Vancouver

    August 16, 2012

  16. Well all it’s done for me is ensured Fratton Park is crossed off the list of away games this season.

    Perhaps everyone else stunned at the lack of anything approaching contrition for serial cheating (oh, yes, it’s not your fault is it)and either taking your clubs players or beating your club to the signing of a player with the lure of big money payable only by washing away all other legal and moral obligations will do so too.

    mick

    August 17, 2012

  17. I can’t believe this is the third time… They should be chucked out of the league.
    Thy are a basket case. The Conference wouldn’t take them.
    Chuck them in Southern League, although if I supported a club in that league I wouldn’t want them.

    Let’s hope the fans, and only the fans take over but if it it happens again they should lose all sympathy.

    They lost mine after the second one.

    notacheat

    August 17, 2012

  18. “The PCC bridging loan does not come out of council tax payers money. It will be borrowed by PCC at a low rate of interest and PAID BACK by the Pompey Trust at a higher rate of interest.”

    Forgive my cynicism but people respresenting Portsmouth’s miserable football team have promised to pay back things in the past and failed.

    “The council will actually MAKE money on the deal.”

    Do you have a crystal ball?

    I am all in favour of supporter-owned clubs (and help set-up and run one) but our national game is so broken that only the complete liquidation of more clubs like Portsmouth will make enough ignorant fans and administrators force through the obvious changes required to save the sport.

    Nathan

    August 17, 2012

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