Potential new Pompey owner says he is only in it for the money

TYCOON Vladimir Antonov says he is treating Pompey purely as a business venture
TYCOON Vladimir Antonov says he is treating Pompey purely as a business venture
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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RUSSIAN banker Vladimir Antonov has revealed that his plan to take over Pompey is purely a business venture which he hopes to profit from.

The 36-year-old tycoon, who heads Snoras Bank in Lithuania, is thought to be close to clinching the deal to take over the club alongside colleagues Roman Dubov and Chris Akers.

The three, who run Convers Sports Initiatives together, have reportedly passed the Football League’s fit and proper person test, but this has not yet been confirmed by the Football League.

As Pompey fans are kept in the dark about the possible takeover, Antonov reportedly told a Russian sports website: ‘We’ve been conducting negotiations for a long time.

‘We already have the approval of the British Football League, but the commercial issues are still to be settled.

‘The current owners have acquired the club after the restructuring had been performed, so if we buy it today we buy it without any debt whatsoever.’

He added: ‘For me it’s just business. If I wanted some entertainment, I would buy a season ticket, not the whole football club.’

Balram Chainrai is believed to have been offered £17m from the firm, but the club is still refusing to comment on the takeover, as previously reported in The News.

Despite numerous groups having registered an interest in taking over the club, this is the first time since Pompey went into administration that anyone has gone this far.

Fan Barry Dewing, member of the Pompey Independent Supporters Association, said: ‘The club definitely needs ambition, infrastructure and someone that can give the manager backing.

‘I would welcome that, and I think most fans would too, but we are not holding our breath until we see a business plan put into action.’

Mr Hall said the fans would be informed as soon as any sort of agreement has been confirmed.