Trust unlikely to put in Pompey bid by Monday

DISCUSSION Administrators Bryan Jackson and Trevor Birch speak at a meeting of Pompey Supporters Trust members at Fratton Park in February.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (120615-493)
DISCUSSION Administrators Bryan Jackson and Trevor Birch speak at a meeting of Pompey Supporters Trust members at Fratton Park in February. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120615-493)
Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

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THE Pompey Supporters’ Trust looks unlikely to put forward its takeover proposals ahead of Monday’s crucial creditors’ meeting.

Creditors owed cash by the club are due to vote on Balram Chainrai’s Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposals to bring the club out of administration.

Pompey administrator Trevor Birch said the trust would still have 28 days to submit its bid – even in the event that Mr Chainrai’s proposal of offering creditors 2p in the pound is accepted.

But the former owner, who through his firm Portpin is owed around £18m as a secured creditor by Pompey, may prove to be a stumbling block to any trust bid.

If creditors vote in favour of Mr Chainrai’s proposals, Mr Birch said Portpin would have to be happy with any follow-up bid from the trust for it to be a success.

He said: ‘If the CVA is accepted by creditors, it doesn’t stop the trust from making an offer afterwards.

‘Portpin have to be happy with the offer as they are creditors and control the stadium as well – they have a charge over it.

‘The simple fact is that it won’t be too late after the creditors’ meeting for the trust to come back with an improved offer that everyone is happy with.’

Mr Birch added another creditors’ meeting would only be called if the trust’s bid was ‘fundamentally different’ to Portpin’s proposals.

He added: ‘I’m not sure if the trust will put a bid in before Monday. They are still working on things – let’s see what happens.

‘I’m just waiting to hear from them.’

The administrator said he did not foresee creditors voting against Mr Chainrai’s proposals, and did not fear an objection from HMRC.

He said: ‘I would have thought the CVA would go through given the alternative.’

Trust chairman Ashley Brown said the group was still working towards a finalised bid. He said: ‘Our advisors state the same as Trevor, Monday is not an absolute deadline for the trust.

‘We continue to hold talks with a number of parties who can help us guide Pompey back into safer waters, and will make our intentions clearer as soon as it is possible for us to do so.’

But one expert in football finance said it would be difficult for the trust to go up against Portpin as a secured creditor.

He told The News: ‘It’s difficult to see how they can pay off wages, let alone Balram Chainrai.’

And Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said he and the leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, had met regularly with Mr Birch to discuss the future of Pompey and the two bids.

He said: ‘It is in the long- term interests of Portsmouth to make sure that the trust’s bid is being taken seriously by the administrator.

‘And the city council and I have done everything we can within the law to make that happen.’