Pompey cannot just wait for a knight in shining armour

Pompey fans could be the future owners of the club
Pompey fans could be the future owners of the club
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In the past 772 days, Pompey have attracted two owners who have satisfied those in authority.

One was Balram Chainrai, the preferred choice of UHY Hacker Young, having initially put the club into administration.

The second was Convers Sports Initiatives, accepted by Chainrai and then rubber-stamped by the Football League.

For all the supposed interested parties, all those who publicly declared their desire to step in, all those rumoured to be residing in that fabled data room – a mere two have seen it through. That is it.

Yet still there are fans who believe if the club waits long enough, a new owner is bound to emerge.

Nothing wrong with optimism, yet in the current climate it is essential the Fratton faithful retain a sense of realism.

This is not a time for cheerful fancy or wishful thinking. Action is required.

Trevor Birch has stated the club could run out of money before the end of May. If you can’t hear the alarm bells ringing, turn up your hearing aid.

That is why the pro-active stance currently adopted by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust should be listened to.

Their proposals to take control of the club are tangible in the here and now, not something which may occur in the future.

Of course, there may well be queues of well-intentioned individuals whose curiosity has long centred on the Blues’ finances.

Characters such as Rob Lloyd, Tom Lever, Brian Howe, Paul Duffen, Keith Gregory and Vince Wolanin need no introduction.

Others have also sniffed the air, electing to do so under cover of darkness so not to reveal their identity, as is their right.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, recently described it as an endless ‘procession of people’ who have come to his door claiming they want to buy the club.

Unquestionably, English football’s favourite crisis club has attracted plenty of suitors during the past two years.

However, how many have actually followed it up to seize control?

That’s right – two.

Regardless of whether such exits have been dictated by a lack of suitable finances or that the club is too expensively priced, the end result has been the same.

All have thrown in their hands to leave the card table early.

Well, enough is enough. There isn’t time to sit there rapping the fingers on the table in anticipation of the telephone ringing.

Portsmouth Football Club cannot continue waiting in the hope somebody is going to pop up and keep it in existence.

History has shown owners are few and far between.

Even then, those who have come along to Fratton Park have hardly built an enticing new world dripping with accomplishments.

As a club in administration, funds are running down as it careers towards the barren summer months.

Football teams do not make money post-season unless it is through season ticket sales or player transfers.

As it stands, Pompey season tickets have yet to go on sale, with their future still very much in the balance.

As for player sales, one quarter of the squad are loanees, while another three are out of contract in June. The collective worth of those remaining is clearly not enough to keep paying the bills up to the start of the new season on August 18.

It means the clock is ticking. Unless a cash injection a new owner would bring occurs very soon, liquidation will be the outcome.

So enter the Trust and their vision of fan ownership.

The pre-share offer was launched a week today, asking supporters to donate an initial £100.

If the level of interest is there, those contributors could be asked to stump up a total of £1,000.

Should a formal Trust bid for the club not be submitted, funds will be returned, subject to a 2.5 per cent administration fee.

Effectively, it could cost a supporter just £2.50 for trying to save their club – less than a bottle of Carlsberg at Fratton Park.

The pricing has already had its critics, yet this is a constructive move designed to keep Pompey alive.

This Trust scheme has been instigated following a survey of more than 6,000 Blues fans earlier this year.

Results revealed supporters want to be formally involved in any new ownership structure and are willing to invest money in a credible and financially sustainable community buyout of the club.

In the first week of trading, the response has been described as ‘pretty good’ by Trust board members.

That has enabled them to step up their due diligence and display to administrators PKF, they now at least have something to serve as a proof of funds.

The fabled data room has now been entered.

Once that process is completed it will be assessed whether a full offer to purchase Portsmouth Football Club can be made, including outlining exactly what the fans will get in return for their investment stake.

Fans may clamour for more precise figures surrounding money pledged so far, yet they face a long wait. After all, prospective buyers are hardly going to reveal the exact money in their pockets to sellers.

Bad business practice – and there has been enough of that for too long at Fratton Park.

The pre-share offer is a method employed by Wrexham’s Trust ahead of successfully completing a deal in December 2011.

Back to Pompey, the Trust is putting together payment methods to ensure fans are not excluded from the potential to invest.

This process is very much in its infancy. Nonetheless, it is driven by the necessity to solve the long-standing problem as swiftly as possible.

It is clearly a complex issue as the Trust dips its toe into the water.

Yet it is a start and shows the inclination is there to install the fans at the helm of their club.

Those at the forefront are not rank amateurs, they are local businessmen with outstanding knowledge and expertise.

They are also Pompey supporters.

Can the club really afford to wait for an alternative?