Appleton encouraged by ‘positive’ Trust talks

Pompey manager Michael Appleton  Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey manager Michael Appleton Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Michael Appleton doesn’t believe Pompey will come out of administration before Christmas.

But the Blues boss has described talks with leading figures of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust as ‘positive’ following a meeting last week.

Appleton and his agent, Ben Mansford, sat down with Iain McInnes and Ashley Brown at a restaurant on Friday night following the Academy’s FA Youth Cup match at Fratton.

He had sought clarification of their plans for the club as they near a takeover from their position as administrators’ PKF’s preferred bidders.

During the two-hour meeting, Pompey’s manager was reassured he will be given the Trust’s proposed £2.65m playing budget.

He was also told it would be a minimum of six weeks before the ownership situation would be settled.

That would mean continuing to work with an FA-imposed 20-man squad.

Yet Appleton remains encouraged.

He said: ‘I’ve had a good chat with the Trust. It was positive.

‘It is still early days and the first conversation I’ve had with them. I’m sure once one or two things have been settled in the courts we can sit down again.

‘I just wanted to get a feel for them. It was important to sit down in front of them, look them in the eye and see where they think the club is going to go and what they can do in a short period of time.

‘They have given me an outline of where they think the next steps are going to go.

‘They have explained how there are going to be discussions between them and Portpin over the ground, the car park and other matters.

‘I pretty much knew all those things anyway but it gives you confidence they think they’ve the money to go ahead and get things finalised.

‘It’s a vote of confidence more than anything. It’s them saying “okay, if you are worried about this don’t be because we feel we can do it”.

‘I understand there is a process going to happen. The likelihood is it’s probably going to be a minimum of six weeks before that is done.

‘If I am being honest, I can’t see us being out of administration before Christmas.

‘That will be a big, big, big bonus for everyone at the football club if that happened but I am not expecting it.’

Inevitably, the playing budget remains a crucial factor for Appleton’s plans.

Portpin had offered £4.5m in May when it appeared they were in the box seat to return – only to slash that to £1.5m come August.

But Appleton believes the Trust will come good on their pledge of £2.65m.

He added: ‘They didn’t give me the budget in writing but I didn’t expect them to do that.

‘They gave the idea things certainly wouldn’t be any worse than they are at the minute, so that was positive.

‘The impression I get is they are still very confident they can come up with the original budget they talked about.’