Tag: Pompey

The Blogger, the Defamation Case and the Hefty Legal Bill

There is a fine and risky line walked by football bloggers in exposing the more erratic behaviours of the owners of certain football clubs. Whilst the national press glory in the circus that is the Premier League, unpaid and unsung bloggers dig lower down the pyramid into the financial morass that the English Leagues have become. Discovering, as the pages of this site have  demonstrated, some bizarre behaviours, financial and otherwise. Back in February and March this year I described one such case. Pompey blogger Micah Hall received a letter before action from solicitors Mishcon de Reya on behalf of their clients the Najadi family and Capital Finance Holding Group (Suiss) SA. It alleged a series of defamatory statements had been made against their clients in a blog written about the investors behind the failed Keith Harris bid for Portsmouth Football Club. Pascal Najadi was one of Harris’ named backers, along with the vet Alan Hitchins. The blog had already been removed from the website owned by Fansnetwork and was one of three on the Harris consortium. (The other two, on Hitchins and Harris, remain live.) Despite this, Mishcon were persuing the blogger for apologies, costs and damages. Given the seemingly convoluted rationale for the alleged defamation it was difficult to see this particular action as anything other than a classic SLAPP ( Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Suit, designed...

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White Knight Syndrome Conflicts Pompey

What have the following all got in common? Suliaman Al Fahim, Laurence Bassini, Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir? Apart from the fact they all seem intent on bringing joy to the hearts of the Fratton Faithful by throwing money at Portsmouth Football Club? For it seems there has been a virulent outbreak of ‘white knight syndrome’ among aspiring football-club owners down Pompey way. If the 100 controversial owners series currently running on this site doesn’t contain five Pompey owners at the top of the list already – what’s the betting that by the time Ian gets to it, that top five will have all had a go at buying the club? Serial fantasists, insolvent property developers, invisible men, Mafia targets, fraudsters, de-frocked lawyers and human rights abusers have all had a finger in Pompey history since August 2009, along with a wide range of inept businessmen. Pause to fight the wave of despair induced by the constant underestimating of football fans that such characters seem to indulge in. Ten days ago Ian King outlined the new bids for the club. Today, the unlikely advent of either Fahim (no proof of funds, not deemed Fit and Proper) or Laurence Bassini (ditto – reported to have put in a bid, described as ‘not a game-changer’ by the administrator, on Tuesday) taking over the club raises a number of suspicions. It needs...

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Signore Pantalone and the Pompey Comedy of Errors

It is often the last resort of the villain in a pantomime to curse his conquerors with his dying breath. Which thought leads me directly to  the vainglorious attacks of  Pompey’s chief creditor, Balram Chainrai, on the Pompey Supporters’ Trust. Indeed, not only the Pompey Trust but the entire Trust movement. For the edification of Sky Chainrai declares, ‘Supporters Trusts’ have a poor record of passing successful rescue packages and unfortunately the PST shows no reason why they would do any better.’ Swansea fans might like to contemplate their lack of success at this point. Despite this, the Pompey Supporters Trust edge ever closer to the biggest coup of the Trust movement to date. Their only obstacle is the villain of the piece himself. Meantime, Chainrai appears to be bidding for the role as Pantalone, a rich and miserly old merchant, driven to protect his money, whilst enjoying keeping those that belong together apart; one who is the perennially bitter butt of many jokes in the Commedia Del’Arte. His character lies at the root of many a pantomime villain. The more he doth protest the more risible his actions become. Surely a stranger to reality, the Football League cannot seriously be contemplating passing such a character as ‘fit and proper’ without facing accusations of bringing the game into disrepute. For it would seem that Chainrai is now becoming the very...

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Pompey’s Spider Trap: Chainrai Walks But His Web remains

It appears us Pompey fans have upset Mr Chainrai and he no longer wants to own our club. In an spate of dummy spitting of some awe-inspiring magnitude on Wednesday he withdrew his bid to be our ‘reluctant saviour’ for a third time. Firing a tirade of self-exposing blame-shifting Mr Chainrai has taken up Portpin’s bid and walked. A Freudian psychoanalyst would have a field day with this little list of beefs. As one of those that has clearly contributed to beef number one, ‘the negative criticism and lack of support for our takeover by the fans of this club,’  I feel it incumbent on me to return the compliment.  It has to be said though, that my blogging colleagues and I would like it known that we are happy to take this beef squarely on the chin. We feel the negative effect Mr Chainrai has had on the club since October 2009, wittingly or unwittingly, warrants such criticism. Chainrai walking, however, does not completely free the club from his web. Whilst he remains the creditor-in-chief with a charge over Fratton Park, he still retains some influence over its future. He is still the chief negotiating force to be encountered by anyone wishing to take over ownership of the club. This appears to be something of a one horse race currently as the Pompey Supporters Trust seem to be the...

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Pompey Fans Rattle Some Cages

Stark reality bites. Portsmouth Football Club 5 April 1898 – 10 August 2012. R.I.P. Yet nothing is ever as it seems at Pompey. Beneath the choppy waters a constant storm wages on the ocean bed. Whilst Pompey Supporters Trust holds itself ready to do a deal with players, charge holders and creditors, the strange PR spin emanating from Fratton Park seems to be creating a web of misconception and deception. As Ian King has said already on this site, Administrator Trevor Birch has issued an ultimatum. Pompey will cease to exist on 10 August if certain senior players, as football creditors, do not come to a compromise agreement with potential new owners on what they are owed. There simply is not enough money in the club, or available in the two bids (from Balram Chainrai’s Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust), to repay them what they are owed under their current contracts. Nor is there money to sustain those contracts in League 1 next season. Over the weekend negotiations had come to resemble a Mexican stand-off. Portpin has a deal on the table, voted on by the club’s creditors and representing a CVA agreement. That deal is conditional on the high wage earners leaving the club. Birch has been working in the 28 days since the creditors meeting to that end, succeeding only in removing Hayden Mullins to Birmingham...

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