Birch gives warning over future as Pompey Supporters’ Trust makes cash plea

FANS BUYOUT Supporters are being asked to join the trust's share scheme.  Picture: Steve Reid (121411-1)
FANS BUYOUT Supporters are being asked to join the trust's share scheme. Picture: Steve Reid (121411-1)
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

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THE Pompey Supporters’ Trust has called on bigger backers to come forward to help its takeover bid as the deadline looms to save the club.

With almost £1m raised in its community share scheme, the trust’s pledges are below the £5m to £10m pricetag quoted by administrator Trevor Birch to take over at Fratton Park.

Now the trust is asking for businesses and wealthy individuals to step up and put in pledges of between £5,000 and £10,000 to back its bid.

The trust says it is the only interested party currently putting together a takeover of the now-relegated club.

The only other viable option to save Pompey is if former owner Balram Chainrai takes over again to protect his investment.

It comes as Mr Birch revealed talks with two other interested parties are not at an advanced stage and that his efforts to save Pompey are entering a ‘crucial’ period.

Supporters’ trust spokesman Scott Mclachlan said the group is seeking more big investors to come forward.

He said: ‘We think we are looking to attract between 20 to 25 people to eventually put in £5,000 to £10,000.

‘We have had expressions of interest from local businesses and individuals who have put in five figure sums – there’s a few of those. Enough to put a considerable few hundred thousand pounds into the pot.

‘We still need as many fans as possible to pledge.

‘The more fans, the larger stake they will have to represent the club.

‘We are encouraging businesses to step forward and they have done.’

He added the trust will not reveal how many people have pledged to the share scheme so far for fear of giving other parties an advantage in the bidding process.

Mr Birch stressed the importance of having a new owner in place by June 2 – the date of the Football League’s annual meeting.

This is when the administrator has to decide if the club is in a viable position to apply for league membership for next season.

Mr Birch, who has previously revealed the club will run out of cash by the end of May, said: ‘This is a very crucial period.

‘There’s no more money coming into the club other than Football League money now.

‘There are two interested parties – there’s no change there – and we are still just talking to them.

‘Balram Chainrai may take over but he doesn’t want it unless there’s a viable business going forward.

‘He’s worried about the running costs like all of them are.’