Birch braced for takeover developments

Trevor Birch expects Pompey's takeover bid to be hit by their points deduction
Trevor Birch expects Pompey's takeover bid to be hit by their points deduction
Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 1 Southend 0: They said what

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Trevor Birch is braced for the Football League’s Pompey sanctions to hit the ongoing takeover process.

But the Blues administrator remains upbeat over the future of the club.

At a Football League meeting attended by Birch yesterday, chiefs hit Pompey with a 10-point deduction this season – in addition to three other conditions.

These included carrying over only a limited proportion of secured debt and for five-year restrictions to be in place on playing budgets and future borrowing.

The secured debt stipulation affects potential owners Portpin, who now stand to receive only the market value of Fratton Park, which they have a charge over.

Birch estimates Pompey’s home ground is worth £3m to £5m – while Portpin’s secured debt stands at £18.6m.

It represents a massive blow to Portpin, run by Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir, who will effectively take a big loss on their debt, raising the possibility they may now opt to walk away from any takeover.

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust have already reiterated their intention to buy the club, despite the Football League sanctions.

Meanwhile, Birch is hopeful the reduction in secured debt may attract new interest elsewhere, with the CVA having already been voted on.

Now he is awaiting the aftermath following another disappointing day for Pompey fans.

Birch said: ‘The crux of the points deduction is the fact the first CVA has given nothing to creditors.

‘There have been two administrations in a short space of time and one of them has seen creditors receive absolutely nothing and they wish to act upon that.

‘As regards the secured debt conditions, it means Portpin are not allowed to roll over their £18.6m into the new company.

‘Instead they will receive the market value of the ground which they have a charge over. I would estimate that is worth £3m to £5m.

‘It remains to be seen whether the situation will put off Portpin.

‘It might also bring somebody else out of the woodwork, we will have to wait and see.

‘I am refusing to feel downhearted, however. We have just got to keep going and try to get this club a buyer to come out of administration.’

The Trust had previously lobbied the Football League to put in place effective financial conditions to protect the sustainability of the club should Portpin take over.

Judging by the implementation of yesterday’s sanctions, it appears Football League chiefs took that into consideration.

And the Trust, who are to meet today to discuss their next move forward, are adamant they still want to buy the club.

Spokesman Scott McLachlan said: ‘This does not impact on the Trust bid, which has always aimed to run the club on turnover for the coming seasons and start to address the considerable problems the club faces.

‘At some point the debts have to be paid for Pompey to survive and the Trust bid aims to do that.

‘The bid will continue and we hope to succeed and work alongside the Football League in turning Pompey around.’