‘The game’s not over – it’s only just beginning’

19/5/2012 (JN)''Portsmouth Supporters Trust invited fans to attend an open meeting at Fratton Park on Saturday evening to discuss how a community club will work.''Pictured is: Ashley Brown, chairman of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust speaking during the meeting.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121753-4785)

19/5/2012 (JN)''Portsmouth Supporters Trust invited fans to attend an open meeting at Fratton Park on Saturday evening to discuss how a community club will work.''Pictured is: Ashley Brown, chairman of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust speaking during the meeting.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121753-4785)

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FANS have vowed to take on Pompey’s former owner Balram Chainrai in a fight for the future of the club.

Representatives of Pompey Supporters’ Trust told more than 100 fans at a meeting on Saturday that its plans to buy out the club were a ‘credible’ alternative to Mr Chainrai’s.

As reported in The News on Saturday, Chainrai’s company Portpin has formally entered a bid to administrator Trevor Birch to buy the club in a move which could see it come out of administration by the end of May.

But the trust said on Saturday that the Hong Kong businessman’s move didn’t mark the end of their takeover bid – but the beginning.

It claimed it had secured pledges of up to £500,000 from mystery wealthy backers and was in talks with Portsmouth City Council about it potentially making an investment in the scheme.

Trust chairman Ashley Brown, bid team members Mark Trapani and Mick Williams and accountant Paul Taylor told the meeting, at the Victory Lounge at Fratton Park, that they had set a target of the end of May to make an offer.

‘The game isn’t over,’ said Mr Trapani.

‘It started when Portpin put in a bid.

‘Trevor Birch was quite amazed that within two weeks we have actually had a further 600 people come forward to pledge. There are times when Trevor thinks we are just a bunch of fans, but we are becoming a more and more credible alternative to Portpin.’

Mr Brown also said he believes the city council could back the trust financially.

He said: ‘Have the council written a cheque? No. Might they? They might do but they won’t go public.

‘Don’t write them off. If we needed the council to help us push this over the line I am confident that they would do that.’

Around 600 pledges have been made since the trust called for 1,000 two weeks ago.

It said that a number of ‘high net worth’ individuals had offered six-figure sums to help secure the club’s future – with one even pledging £500,000.

Accountant Paul Taylor said it would be a ‘long, long tough road’ to restore the club, but that the trust had a three to four year business plan which would see it pay off Pompey’s debts.

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