How the Pompey Supporters Trust’s buyout will work

Kal Naismith was gaffer for a day Phil Whyte's man of the match against Cambridge United. Photo by Joe Pepler

Pompey 2 Cambridge United 1: Gaffer for a day

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HERE we answer the questions you’ll be asking.

WHAT IS THE SHARE SCHEME?

The share scheme is an initiative launched by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust in an attempt to find out if fans can mount a takeover bid.

Supporters are asked to make a pledge by acquiring a share for £1,000 – with a minimum deposit of £100.

HOW MUCH NEEDS TO BE RAISED?

The trust says it does not have a figure of how much it intends to raise, but spokesman Scott Mclachlan said the group hopes thousands will sign up to the scheme.

For example, if 5,000 fans acquire a share for £1,000, it will raise £5m.

Once enough fans have made a pledge, share documents will be issued and the trust will be in a position to make an offer.

WILL MY MONEY BE SAFE?

The money will be stored in an escrow account held by Portsmouth law firm Verisona.

The funds will sit there until they are used for a share offer or returned at your request.

People can opt out of the share offer at any time.

Ian Peach, partner at Verisona, said fans will not lose their cash if the scheme fails.

He said: ‘It will cost the time and efforts of those involved to date.’

WHY IS THERE A 2.5 PER CENT HANDLING FEE IF I OPT OUT?

Mr Peach says the administration fee is intended to cover administration costs incurred by the firm should funds have to be returned to individual supporters.

HOW WILL THE CLUB BE RUN DURING PRE-SEASON?

Without regular gate receipts, Pompey’s income is dramatically reduced during pre-season, with players and staff wages to be paid.

Mr Mclachlan said a season ticket offer will help unlock cash over the summer months.

He said: ‘It will be up to the new board and management team to rapidly reduce the player wage bill.’

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO A NEW COMPANY VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT (CVA)?

A Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) is usually drawn up to bring a company out of administration.

When Pompey went into administration in 2010, a CVA was agreed whereby unsecured creditors would receive £16.5m of what was owed.

That CVA will now form part of a new CVA for this administration.

Mr Mclachlan said: ‘Trevor Birch will decide who he sells the club to, how much for, and how that money is divided up.

‘We have one aim – to make an offer that we think is fair and equitable based on the due diligence results.

WHAT IS THE TRUST’S VISION FOR THE FUTURE?

The trust admits it will take a lot of hard work and care for the ‘great potential of Pompey’ to be realised.

Mr Mclachlan said: ‘It is to be hoped that a community buy-out would completely change the ethos of how Pompey is run.

‘It would be inclusive and always have the city and community at its heart.’

WHAT IS VERISONA’S ROLE?

Verisona has been working on the provision and administration of the escrow account.

Mr Peach said: ‘We will no doubt be further involved if matters proceed to the point of a formal community share offering.’

WILL YOUR MONEY BE RETURNED IF A TAKEOVER BID DOESN’T MATERIALISE?

All money is secure in the escrow account and will be returned if the fans do not take over the club.

IS THE TRUST LOOKING TO BID WITH OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES?

No – the trust says this is purely a scheme to establish if a community buy-out is viable.

WHAT IS PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL’S ROLE?

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson says the scheme is ‘excellent’ and has been pushing for the trust to launch the scheme.

He said the authority has asked for a breakdown of Fratton Park’s running costs during operational and non-operational periods.

WHAT HAPPENS TO FRATTON PARK?

Mr Mclachlan says whoever owns Pompey owns Fratton Park.

HOW WAS THE PROPOSAL PASSED?

Members of the trust voted in favour of the proposal at its board meeting on Monday.

CAN A FAN-RUN CLUB MAKE A PROFIT?

Although it envisages the club making a heavy loss in the 2012-13 season, the trust can see a turnaround the following year.

Mr Mclachlan said: ‘The club can start to be turned around. Whether we are in League One or the Championship, the club will have to be run as prudently as possible. Persuading fans to come back and buy reasonably priced season tickets will be the first challenge.’

WHO IS SUPPORTING THE SCHEME?

It has been backed by Trevor Birch, manager Michael Appleton, MP Penny Mordaunt and council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

HAS IT WORKED WITH OTHER CLUBS?

This model worked with Wrexham last season. The Wrexham Supporters’ Trust launched a similar scheme and achieved £500,000 of fans’ pledges.

The club is now wholly run by fans.

WHO IS IN CHARGE OF BUYING AND SELLING PLAYERS?

The duty of buying and selling players will lie with the new board, player management and whoever owns Pompey.

WHAT’S HAPPENED TO PLAN B?

The trust says its efforts are now focused on making the share scheme a success.

Plans were being worked on behind the scenes to establish a Plan B – a new club if Pompey were liquidated – but its members always stressed it was a ‘worst case scenario’.

Mr Mclachlan said: ‘We have made enquiries about putting a parallel Plan B together but at the moment every single board member will be working on this.

‘This has been the culmination of months and months of work.

· There are more details on the Pompey Supporters’ Trust website

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