Catlin: Pompey business as usual despite takeover bid

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey last played Blackburn Rovers in April 2010, when both sides were in the Premier League. Picture: Steve Reid

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Mark Catlin has declared it remains business as usual during the takeover backdrop.

Pompey Supporters’ Trust shareholders are in the process of voting on whether to approve Michael Eisner’s £5.67m bid.

It is business as usual, completely. So nothing is on hold and players can be offered contracts – and they have been

Mark Catlin

In the meantime, there are player contracts to resolve and recruitment to pursue.

There has been little time for Paul Cook and his chief executive to bask in the glow of claiming the League Two title and the subsequent Southsea Common parade.

Michael Doyle yesterday opted to sign for Coventry, despite Cook intimating he wanted to keep him at Fratton Park.

Fellow free agent Enda Stevens is also set to quit, with Sheffield United currently the likely destination.

Catlin, though, has moved to reassure supporters the ongoing takeover issue is not affecting the club’s planning for next season.

And, crucially, he is adamant contracts can be signed and players are able to be recruited in the meantime.

He said: ‘It is important we carry on the day-to-day running of the club.

‘Everything we have carried out at the moment – in regards of contracts, discussions and planning for next season – has got to be done assuming we are staying with the model of fan ownership.

‘Nothing has been initiated with an eye on the Michael Eisner investment potentially coming in because we cannot assume that will happen. We have to work on what we’ve got.

‘It is business as usual, completely. So nothing is on hold and players can be offered contracts – and they have been.

‘We are carrying on with the current model using the current budgets approved by the board.

‘If the vote is a yes and then tidied up with the legalities, then obviously we are in a different world. At the moment, though, we remain as we are.

‘I don’t think you can put any timeframe on when any potential takeover may go through. It is important everything is done properly and you don’t keep to timetables.

‘Obviously we are talking hypothetically here but it is going to be very tight to get it done before the start of the transfer window (July 1).’

For Catlin, the priority is to retain those players his manager is eager to grant fresh deals.

And all must be carried out utilising a £3m playing budget which is below the League One average of £3.3m.

Catlin added: ‘Our priority is to sign up current players as quickly as we can.

‘In the meantime, Paul is working with his recruitment team in trying to bring others in.

‘Our playing budget is a slightly below-average League One budget compared to this year. You have the likes of Sheffield United and Bolton now promoted but there are Wigan, Rotherham and Blackburn coming down.

‘It is all relative, budgets tend to keep going up year-on-year over a period of time and it becomes more difficult.

‘The challenge for Paul is to try to recruit well and selectively with quality to improve us and see how far we can go in the forthcoming season.’

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