Property developer set to give boost to fans’ takeover bid

Fans fly the Pompey 'Til I Die flag
Fans fly the Pompey 'Til I Die flag
Milan Lalkovic celebrates his goal at Newport. Picture: Neil Marshall

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FANS who want to buy Pompey have been given a boost by a businessman who could secure the future of Fratton Park.

The News understands property developer Stuart Robinson has offered to buy the stadium and lease it back to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

This would mean the fans’ group would not need the £1.4m bridging loan pledged by Portsmouth City Council.

It could also free up extra cash and make their bid more attractive to administrator Trevor Birch – who is preparing to decide between their bid and that of former owner Balram Chainrai.

Mr Birch is expected to make a decision either today or on Monday – and is believed to be currently favouring the trust.

So in an attempt to bolster their offer, trust chairman Ashley Brown and Mr Robinson met Portsmouth City Council leaders yesterday.

The meeting included Lib Dem council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, council chief executive David Williams and Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.

In it they suggested Mr Robinson could help buy the stadium from administrator Trevor Birch – and some of the surrounding land from former owner Sacha Gaydamak.

He could then lease the building back to the supporters, with the possibility of selling it back to them in the future.

The land around Fratton Park could then be developed, possibly by building a new supermarket, but with some of the profits going back into improving Pompey’s stadium.

This is a planning condition which the council has enforced in relation to all recent owners of the land.

But full details, such as the role of secured creditor Mr Chainrai, are still being worked out.

Trust spokesman Colin Farmery confirmed the meeting had taken place but said the issues discussed were not new.

He said: ‘We had a routine meeting with the city council where we were giving them an update on the current situation.

‘And at the moment there is nothing concrete to report.’