Portsmouth City Council to consider loan to help fans save Pompey

MEETING From left, Ashley Brown, trust advisor Antony Fanshawe and Iain McInnes, and Mick Williams. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (122568-6)

MEETING From left, Ashley Brown, trust advisor Antony Fanshawe and Iain McInnes, and Mick Williams. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122568-6)

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson says he will consider loaning taxpayers’ cash to help fans take over Pompey.

It comes as the Pompey Supporters’ Trust revealed details of its takeover proposals at a press conference yesterday.

Part of it includes seeking a £1.45m short-term loan from the council to secure Fratton Park.

Former owner Balram Chainrai has £17.5m secured on the ground – but the trust is looking to offer him £2.75m to wipe that out.

But the proposals still rely on the club’s remaining high earners leaving or reaching a compromise ahead of the August 10 liquidation deadline set by administrator Trevor Birch.

Now Cllr Vernon-Jackson confirmed the loan request will be considered after previously saying the council would not help the trust’s bid financially.

He added a letter has been sent to the Premier League to request repayments to the council are guaranteed on future parachute payments.

He said: ‘The trust is asking for £1.45m – we will have to consider that and we will have to hold an emergency meeting to discuss it.

‘There are different decisions that the council could come to. There could be the view that the club’s finances have been so badly run in the past that putting any money near it is too great a risk – or we say yes with conditions.

‘I have repeatedly asked the trust that the way to make this easier for the council to think about is if the Premier League is prepared to guarantee the repayments will be through parachute payments, because there is significantly less risk.’

The trust revealed yesterday the club’s new chairman under supporters’ ownership would be businessman and life-long Pompey fan Ian McInnes, who is prepared to invest a six figure sum into the club.

The share scheme, launched earlier this year, has raised £3m in fans pledges with £1m in the bank already.

Three other fans have pledged six figure sums along with Mr McInness.

Trust chairman Ashley Brown said he is looking to hold discussions with Portpin and the players before next week’s deadline.

He said: ‘We have to have dialogue with players. We know they signed contracts in good faith and expected to get paid, but we find ourselves in the position where there’s not the money to be paid.

‘We will need the administrator’s help to facilitate those discussions.’

MP hopeful of council approving trust loan

PORTSMOUTH North MP Penny Mordaunt has urged constituents to contact their local councillors and express their views on Pompey’s future.

It comes as the Pompey Supporters’ Trust revealed part of its proposals to take over the club includes a loan request to Portsmouth City Council of £1.45m.

Ms Mordaunt, who was at the trust’s press conference yesterday, believes the loan would pose ‘zero risk’ to the authority.

She said: ‘Most people might find it weird that a local authority might do what a bank might commonly do, but local authorities loan money to organisations and other local authorities all the time.

‘I think this is a really good investment and would yield more for our city than other things the council has done in the past. We’ve got a few days, so all councillors across our city, who will be alive to that fact that this is such an important issue to the people they represent, need to concentrate on this proposal.

‘I would tell people to contact their councillor and have strong views on way or another on the issue.

‘Although there’s a short space of time left, the council can hold a meeting to approve the loan if that’s what they think is the right thing to do.

‘I sincerely hope they do that.’

Pompey administrator Trevor Birch said he welcomes the trust’s announcement and will ‘carefully study’ the details of the proposal.

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