Bids are flying in as Pompey get to their ‘end game’

WAITING GAME Future of Fratton Park is in the balance
WAITING GAME Future of Fratton Park is in the balance
Pompey midfielder Danny Rose. Picture: Joe Pepler

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THE bids are coming in thick and fast as Pompey moves closer to coming out of administration.

The News is aware of six bids which have been made to buy the cash-strapped League One outfit.

But, of those six, it is understood that only the bid from Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir’s Portpin and that made by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust have any real merit.

This would rule out the bid fronted by former owner Sulaiman Al Fahim, who has yet to deposit his proof of funds in a British bank account.

It was also rule out the Portco bid, which involves Pompey fan Terry Pritchard.

And it would mean little chance for the bid fronted by ex-Watford owner Laurence Bassini.

The sixth bid has only just been made, but the unnamed consortium behind it would have to make a high offer in order to move in front of either Portpin or the PST at this late stage.

Rumours flying around the Fratton Park terraces name a seventh bid – a consortium which tried to buy Newcastle United in 2007 – but those whispers have been quashed.

A spokesman for PKF, which is handling the club’s administration, said that there were a number of possible reasons for the late bids.

He said: ‘One of the biggest obstacles we had during the early days was the fact that the squad wage bill was unsustainable.

‘Since then it has been negotiated down to the compromise agreements, with our wage bill now around 80 per cent lower than it was when we took over.

‘The strip of land alongside the ground has also become available and could now be reunited with the rest of the Fratton Park site.

‘Plus it’s clear we’re getting to the end game now, which is drawing people out of the woodwork.

‘With a bit of work someone could potentially make a real go of the club.’

Meanwhile, administrator Trevor Birch is scrutinising bids from both Portpin and the PST, with a view to making his choice.

The spokesman added: ‘I don’t think we’re very far away.

‘But it’s a complicated situation and a hugely important decision so we need to make sure that we get it right.’

THE BIDDERS

Portpin

PORTPIN is playing both an attacking and defensive game, and made its bid 10 days before the PKF final deadline.

The holding company, run by Balram Chainrai, pictured, his brother Deepak and Levi Kushnir, says the offer is in line with CVA proposals agreed at June’s creditors’ meeting and includes a ‘robust’ three-year business plan to run the club, put together based on feedback from PKF and the Football League. It states the firm has been approached by property developers but refused to deal with them.

It also states all income will be spent paying debts.

Portco

AS The News reported yesterday, one of the most recent consortiums to throw its hat into the ring is Portco.

It is fronted by Scottish-born Harry Kerr, a Hibernian and Arsenal fan who owns an investment firm called Avalon.

It also involves Pompey fan Terry Pritchard, who has been following the Blues since he was four and who was involved in a takeover bid the last time Pompey was in administration.

The News understands the Portco bid does not have the legs it would need to slide past The Portpin and PST defences to get to its goal.

Al Fahim

FORMER Pompey owner Sulaiman Al Fahim has also entered the game.

His people say his bid offers £4m for Fratton Park and Mr Chainrai’s debenture, £3m to former owner Sacha Gaydamak for the surrounding land, around £1m to pay off PKF’s administrators’ costs and £4.5m to go into club funds.

He says he’s put the money into a posh bank in Knightsbridge, but PKF administrator Trevor Birch wants it moved to a solicitor’s client account, where it will have to stay in order to prove the money is viable and not simply funds being moved from place to place.

Laurence Bassini

EX-WATFORD owner Laurence Bassini says his offer trumps any that Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust can make.

But with Pompey in injury time and the clock running down, there’s not much time for him to prove it.

Mr Bassini has not revealed any details of his bid, only that he is offering more than what Pompey, including Fratton Park, is worth.

He took control of Watford in 2011 before selling it to the Pozzo family in June this year – a sale advised by former Pompey administrator Andrew Andronikou, of UHY Hacker Young.

Pompey Supporters Trust

THE Pompey Supporters Trust bid has been a lesson in dedication.

Not only did the trust manage to get fans to pledge their own money to take the club over, but they’ve been locked away with experts for months, working on the bid.

The trust may be seen as the underdog, but it’s more like the 2008 FA Cup Havant and Waterlooville side playing the game of their lives against Swansea City – you never know what might happen.

What is clear, though, is that PKF is taking the trust’s bid very seriously, and is going over both it and the Portpin bid with a fine-tooth comb, looking to find out which one will give the best deal to creditors.

The PST bid has won support from football fans up and down the country, as well as Portsmouth City Council, the city’s MPs, and a number of high-profile fans.