Gruelling work so close to fruition for Trust

Iain McInnes, proposed chairman of Pompey, and Mick Williams of the Pompey Supporters' Trust, during Thursday's press conference''''Picture: Sarah Standing

Iain McInnes, proposed chairman of Pompey, and Mick Williams of the Pompey Supporters' Trust, during Thursday's press conference''''Picture: Sarah Standing

The Great South Run

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At 2.57pm on Thursday, Pam Wilkins wiped several tears from her eyes.

An outpouring amid a packed Montgomery Lounge at Fratton Park.

There was no sense of embarrassment at such a very public show.

After all, she was among friends.

Friends she had stood shoulder to shoulder with in the battle to save her football club.

Friends she had accompanied to the pits of despair and were now scaling the heights of delight.

Friends who have helped lay the foundations for creating footballing history.

And every single one of those friends were Pompey fans.

Of course, in a room crackling with emotion, Pam, who serves on the Trust board, wasn’t the only one choked.

Pompey Supporters’ Trust supporters were present to witness tangible proof to the world and its doubters they have achieved the unthinkable.

Those who have long resided above the parapet have, at times, endured disgusting abuse.

Bafflingly, many coming from their own, people who join them in those Fratton Park cheers.

Bile spat out by faceless figures on social media and message boards with rabid regularity.

Hatred gropingly justified under the guise of freedom of speech and entitlement of opinions.

Whispering campaigns, unfathomable agendas, secret saboteurs – dirty games have been conducted.

Don’t mistake it with the genuine need for analysis, either.

Yet on Thursday afternoon, the city rose to its feet and applauded this oft-much maligned band.

Earlier that day came confirmation the Trust had signed a conditional agreement of sale with PKF.

They had proven to the administrators they had the financial clout and business plan to match their passion and drive.

Crucially, they also convinced the Football League of their legitimacy to pass the ownership test.

As Portpin found to their cost, the regulations are rather more stringent these days.

It has long been a Trust-or-bust scenario.

And, thankfully, Portsmouth Football Club were not let down as fans rallied to their rescue.

Never has a supporters’ trust succeeded in capturing a club of this size, on this scale, dealing with such massive financial figures. Thursday’s announcement was nothing short of miraculous.

Not that Portpin have sportingly raised the Trust’s arm at the end of the bout.

With inevitability they delivered their latest statement on the day of the ceremony, dripping with contradictions as ever.

Standing up in church, they did their best to hereby declare why the wedding should not take place.

They failed. Once again.

Let no-one be fooled, however, the upcoming court case over Pompey’s home will be the final act.

This dead man has not stopped twitching yet and the finger is still very much on the trigger.

PKF are in the process of lodging the papers with the High Court to adjudicate.

They will be expected to decree a ‘fair’ price for Fratton Park.

The Trust will head there with five independent valuations of which the highest is £2.6m.

They had offered Portpin £2.75m – a figure met with disbelief by Balram Chainrai, followed by his rent demands of £1.2m a year.

The theory is that Portpin will use Laurence Bassini’s bid and, possibly, Sulaiman Al Fahim’s to back their claims Fratton Park is worth £11m.

Pompey chairman-elect Iain McInnes has already declared the Trust will walk away and the club will be liquidated should Portpin win the legal challenge.

It’s a case which is likely to be heard in the middle of next month, lasting for, potentially, a day.

Should the Trust receive the outcome they desire, they can then approach the Football League for the ‘golden share’, which effectively gives Pompey back their membership as a Football League club.

That has been denied to them while they’ve been in administration.

At that point, Pompey will also be told whether they will still receive a 10-point deduction.

It adds up to a timeframe of coming out of administration at the very end of this year or early in January.

In the meantime, the Trust prospectus will be published on Monday as the push for more pledges gathers pace.

Pompey fans have already done their club proud by promising more than £2m so far.

In addition, those high-net-worth individuals have lifted that figure way beyond £3m.

Of course, many more Blues followers who would love to contribute find themselves unable to.

Their support is no less crucial, their backing unwavering.

That’s why people like Pam Wilkins this week shed a tear.

They care.

That’s something many fans can’t say about Chainrai and Co.

They persistently let this club down – so Pompey fans decided to do something about it.

Unfortunately, good men like Tony Goodall and Jim Riordan fell along the way.

How they would have savoured Thursday’s developments.

Their comrades, colleagues and friends were all present in the Montgomery Lounge, though.

And if the Trust can complete their remarkable efforts they’ll be plenty more tears of joy to come.

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