Rival Pompey bid only speculation, says fans’ trust

Keith Harris
Keith Harris
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

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FANS behind an attempt to take over Fratton Park have dismissed news of a rival bid as speculation.

It comes after financier Keith Harris was last night said to be lining up a bid for Portsmouth Football Club.

He is said to have been in contact with Pompey’s administrators, PKF, and is working with former Swansea chairman Steve Hamer and John Redgate, Portsmouth’s former finance director.

It is believed any takeover could involve leasing Fratton Park from Portpin.

But the Pompey Supporters’ Trust (PST) says its bid is still the best on the table.

Colin Farmery, the trust’s spokesman, said: ‘The key thing people need to understand is the trust’s bid is ready to go.

‘It’s financed and this bid can go tomorrow.

‘News of any other bid is just speculation but the bottom line is the trust’s bid is ready to go.

‘We have always said a community-based bid is right for the club.’

Mr Harris, who has been described as the most influential man in British football, has been a deal-maker behind some of the biggest Premier League takeovers.

He is also a former chairman of the Football League.

Mr Harris has been involved with Pompey previously.

His firm, Seymour Pierce, was brought in by Andrew Andronikou after he was appointed joint-administrator of former owners Convers Sports Initiatives to help sell Pompey.

Penny Mordaunt, the MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘The PST bid has not only been the only bid for some time but is also the best bid.

‘I don’t know who this gentleman is and I have no reason to doubt his motive, but we have had enough of knights on white horses and it’s always ended unhappily.

‘So I would ask the administrator to take a more long-term view and consider what is the best bid for the club and to see creditors are going to be dealt with fairly.

‘With the PST, we know they will be [fair] because this is run by the fans and has the club’s best interests at heart.’

A source close to Portpin told The News the firm noted the approach from Keith Harris, and said: ‘As a creditor, we remain agnostic about the source of the solution and welcome any development which may lead to the club finally coming out of administration.’

Meanwhile, supporters are gearing up for a court case on February 14 to decide the valuation of Fratton Park.

The case has been adjourned three times.

Nobody from Pompey’s administrator firm PKF immediately returned requests for comment.

One familiar face rumoured to be working with Keith Harris is Pompey’s former finance director John Redgate.

Mr Redgate left the club in February last year alongside former chief executive David Lampitt. Another name involved in the Keith Harris bid is Steve Hamer, the former chairman of Swansea City.

He was an advocate of fan representation at Swansea when he was involved there.