THE man tasked with finding Pompey a new owner has urged fans not to panic -– but admitted there is only a matter of weeks to save the club.
Andrew Andronikou, joint administrator of Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), the firm that owns Pompey, moved to reassure fans by insisting that short-term funding is available at the club.
But in an interview with The News, he admitted a ‘suitable’ investor needs to be in place by January or February.
That leaves a matter of just weeks, including the Christmas and New Year period.
Mr Andronikou, who works for accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young alongside fellow joint administrator Peter Kubik, said: ‘It’s really early days but there is enough money there for the short term until the new year.
‘It’s disappointing for everyone to be in this position again. We are here trying to find someone to take over the club as soon as possible and are looking at moving forward.
‘The message to the fans is that we will do our utmost to safeguard the club. It is very much under the control of the board of directors with David Lampitt at the helm and we are here to give them as much support and guidance as we can.’
Mr Andronikou and Mr Kubik are no strangers to the club having been appointed Pompey’s administrators in February 2010.
‘Pompey is one asset out of nine within CSI, so we are in a different position than the one we entered at the club a year and a half ago’, added Mr Andronikou.
‘We need to secure its medium to long-term future.
‘The Football League has been very supportive of us and has been discussing the situation.
‘Bear with us, we are getting to grips with it all.’
Vladimir Antonov, co-owner of CSI, stepped down as Pompey chairman on Tuesday.
He was arrested last week for an alleged £250m fraud at Lithuanian bank AB Bankas Snoras, of which he is the main shareholder with 68.1 per cent of shares.
The Russian, who appeared at an extradition hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court last Friday, was given a £75,000 bail to reappear on December 16.
Mr Andronikou said he was ‘astonished by the situation’, adding: ‘In terms of CSI, we will have to sit back and look at what really happened at the bank.’
Pompey itself is not in administration but the Football League said the matter of whether points will be deducted would be considered by the Board of the Football League ‘when all the facts surrounding the administration of the club’s parent company become available.’
Pompey’s rivals Southampton FC were docked 10 points when parent company Southampton Leisure Holdings (SLH) went into administration in 2009.
But the deduction came after a Football League investigation found the club and SLH were ‘inextricably linked as one economic entity’ – a finding that may not apply to Pompey.