Fears for Pompey fans’ bid as council draws up loan demands

CLOCK IS TICKING The future of football at Fratton Park hangs in the balance as Friday's deadline looms  for the club to escape liquidation
CLOCK IS TICKING The future of football at Fratton Park hangs in the balance as Friday's deadline looms for the club to escape liquidation
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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FEARS have been raised over the fans’ bid for Pompey after a list of demands was drawn up over its request for council backing.

Pompey Supporters’ Trust has asked for a £1.4m loan from Portsmouth City Council as part of its proposals to take over the club.

Last week it said its business plan was based on having £3m of pledges.

But council leader Gerald Vernon Jackson sent a letter to trust representatives this week outlining conditions to be met before the authority considers the loan request.

The conditions are:

· A written agreement by the Premier League, Pompey and the trust that the loan will be paid from parachute payments in August 2013.

· The trust’s business plan is approved by the Football League.

· All players must have agreed terms within the finance available in the trust’s business plan.

· The trust has received £3m on deposit from supporters pledges, associate directors and high net work individuals – plus £500,000 additional contingency.

· Trust directors should take a personal charge upon their assets to a council loan to guarantee repayment, or an investor guarantee to the value of the loan.

Councillors are due to meet tomorrow to discuss the loan.

The News understands the Liberal Democrat group is split over whether to agree to the loan. It met trust representatives last night to reach an agreement over the course of action they will take.

The trust and Portpin are the only two takeover bids on the table – but both rely on the remaining high earners taking a substantial pay compromise or leaving the club before Friday’s liquidation deadline imposed by administrator Trevor Birch.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson says he is worried the trust is not able to come up with enough money, and fears the club will be liquidated.

He said: ‘I have to try and find a way of protecting the public’s money. If the Premier League would give us a guarantee that would make life easier.’

But he added that without the agreement of the players to leave Portsmouth FC there would be no bid anyway.

‘That’s the bit that I think will kill the club. The more I see I don’t think the players will do a deal,’ he added.

‘There are people in the council who are really worried about putting public money into the football club as they see the huge financial mess the club has been for some time.

‘I think liquidation is the most likely outcome and that is enormously depressing.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘Provided you can address all the risk issues the council should consider that and there is no reason whatsoever to try and stop the meeting from taking place because the only outcome will be that their bid fails and potentially we have no bid to offer on Friday.’

Trust chairman Ashley Brown said the letter was ‘extremely disappointing’.

He said: ‘We are very encouraged by the support we have received from some political parties and councillors.

‘The letter from the leader is extremely disappointing as we feel that the council should offer the football club at least much support as it has offered the Pyramids.

‘It’s very sad they do not feel passionate about saving the football club and bringing it back into the community to which they are custodians.’