DCSIMG

Portpin told: ‘Leave with your heads held high’

FORMER OWNER Balram Chainrai. 

Picture: Allan Hutchings (103686-2)

FORMER OWNER Balram Chainrai. Picture: Allan Hutchings (103686-2)

 

POMPEY fans have urged Portpin to walk away from the club and give up their fight with them.

It comes after another day in court where Mr Justice Sales agreed to adjourn a case between Pompey administrators PKF and Portpin over the valuation of Fratton Park.

The hearing has been put off until January 15, unless an agreement is met between the two parties.

Colin Farmery, spokesman for the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, which is bidding to take over the club, says Portpin has the chance to ‘walk away with their heads held high’ if they can strike a deal over the next few weeks.

He said: ‘We have always been open to having an amicable resolution.

‘We’ve always felt it’s in no-one’s interests to be dragging this through the courts when we ought to be trying to find some sort of settlement so the football club can move forward and Portpin can walk away from this situation with their heads held high.

‘My message to Portpin is I think they are aware of the strength of feelings of fans down here on this particular issue and would welcome them to settle this amicably.’

The valuation of Fratton Park is the last remaining hurdle for the trust to overcome in its bid to take over Pompey.

They are offering £2.75m for it but Portpin, which is the firm of former Pompey owner Balram Chainrai, values it at around £11m.

PKF looked to have the issue resolved at the Royal Courts of Justice’s Rolls Building, in London, over a two-day hearing starting Thursday – but last-minute issues over an important part of the trust’s bid emerged.

They announced on Thursday that a ‘change in terms’ emerged over a transaction involving a firm called REL – a company linked to property developer Stuart Robinson.

The firm looked to adjourn the hearing for 28 days to ‘take stock’ of the situation but Mr Justice Sales agreed to a day’s postponement following negotiations with Portpin representatives.

They returned to court 17 yesterday following lengthy discussions.

Fans, some wearing Pompey shirts, packed into the room to oversee proceedings.

Portpin’s Levi Kushnir and Deepak Chainrai, the brother of Balram Chainrai, were present.

Katherine Holland QC, representing PKF, said discussions had not reached a sufficient conclusion and asked to further adjourn the hearing until January 15.

She said if the situation could be resolved before then, it could come back to court earlier.

Richard Sheldon, representing Portpin, said Portpin were ‘anxious’ about the future of the club.

He said Portpin offered to put forward Brendan Guilfoyle as administrator and fund the club.

Mr Justice Sales said: ‘You’re not asking me to make a ruling on this, are you?’

Mr Sheldon replied: ‘It’s because they have lost confidence in these administrators, not least in the way this application has been presented in court.’

But Mr Justice Sales said he was not opposed to the order made by PKF and said it was ‘sensible that the matter is kept within court since it appears to be a fluid situation.’

He agreed to adjourn the case into the applications list at the request of PKF, which means the case could come back to the court room at any time over the next 28 days if discussions between the two parties can come to a conclusion.

Ashley Brown, chairman of the supporters’ trust, said he was ‘very pleased’.

He said: ‘It might sound boring but we’re pleased – it was exactly what we wanted.

‘We got here with some problems on Wednesday night, which were unforeseen.

‘It was very frustrating. They weren’t resolved in 24 hours, which is why we had to come here and ask for an adjournment. We’ve already started to put in place resolutions and we are confident we will resolve it.

‘As soon as we’re ready we can come back if needs be.’

Fan Carl Paddon, of SOS Pompey, was in court.

He said: ‘It was short and sweet. The judge was pretty clear that he doesn’t take any time wasting and that has gone on, a bit of time wasting between both parties. We want the trust to take it on. I’d rather the club start again rather than Portpin getting their man in.

‘I will do whatever I can to be here, it’s as simple as that. I will come back every day if necessary if I can get the time off.’

PORTPIN STATEMENT IN FULL

‘There was a fundamental flaw at the heart of the administrators’ case, even before the issue regarding the valuation of Fratton Park came up in court.

‘The proposed purchaser of the stadium was simply not in a position to fund the purchase even at the minimum price PST offered.

‘This has been a huge waste of time and money.

‘Legal costs of around £400,000 have been awarded to us against the administrators, money that we are going to pursue administrators personally through the courts, to do all we can to ensure that the club does not have to pay.

‘Portpin has offered to replace the administrator and to fund the administration until a fully-funded buyer can be found, but to date the administrators have not taken us up on this offer.

‘PKF has admitted in their application that they will run out of funds by the December 21.

‘In what has already been the most expensive and longest running administration in the history of English football, there can be no further delays if this club is to survive.’

 

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