Trust ready for action as Chainrai withdraws offer

(l-r) Ashley Brown, Mark Trapani and Mick Williams from the Pompey Supporters' Trust outside The Guildhall after Portsmouth City Council agreed to loan �1.4m to the Trust

(l-r) Ashley Brown, Mark Trapani and Mick Williams from the Pompey Supporters' Trust outside The Guildhall after Portsmouth City Council agreed to loan �1.4m to the Trust

Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler

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ELATED members of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust say their time has come after Balram Chainrai withdrew his takeover bid.

Mr Chainrai’s firm Portpin was the front-runner to reclaim control at Fratton Park and was in discussions with Pompey administrator Trevor Birch.

But Mr Chainrai confirmed yesterday he would be stepping away from the negotiation table – opening the door for Mr Birch to listen to the supporters’ bid.

Mr Chainrai’s reasons for walking away include ‘negative criticism and lack of support’ from fans, administrators’ ‘unrealistic’ fees, the deduction of 10 points from the Football League, and manager Michael Appleton stating he was ‘sure of another relegation’.

And he claims former players Richard Hughes, Michael Brown and Nwankwo Kanu, as well as former chief executive David Lampitt, have come forward with additional claims.

Trust chairman Ashley Brown said Mr Chainrai’s decision gives the fans the opportunity to complete the deal.

He said: ‘We are happy that Portpin are willing to work with us to make this happen and we wait for those talks with interest.

‘I hope Trevor Birch will move us up to preferred bidder status.

‘We are ready to go and finalise this deal as quickly as possible.

‘We also said that Portpin’s numbers were not viable.

‘We believe ours are and there are further discussions that need to take place to get things finalised.

‘We were always aware of the claims and we have spoken to numerous parties already.

‘The figures were factored into our plan and there are some further negotiations that need to take place.

‘But we are confident that people will see sense and achieve bringing the club back into the community.’

The trust has raised £3m in supporters’ pledges already and is urging more fans to dig deep and back the bid.

There will be a window between September and December for the trust to collect pledges in full.

The trust says its bid has already taken into account a drop-off of fans who have pledged £100 but are unable to produce the £1,000 required for a full share.

But the trust must overcome hurdles before a deal can be completed.

A deal would have to be tied up within four months – any longer and Pompey would go over the 12 month limit of being in administration.

In addition, Mr Chainrai could reject its offer of £2.75m for Fratton Park, meaning the administrators could attempt to force the sale through the courts.

Trust spokesman Colin Farmery added: ‘We are keeping fans on high alert to start coming in with pledges and look forward to the challenge in building Portsmouth Football Club into the biggest community club in the country.’

Mr Birch said he was ‘urgently seeking’ a meeting between Portpin and the trust to resolve the situation.

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