Pompey owners vow they are ‘in it for long-term’

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POMPEY’S new owners yesterday vowed to stay for the long haul as they publicly thanked loyal fans for their support.

Vladimir Antonov, Roman Dubov and Chris Akers revealed they have a five-year plan to restore the club to its former glory.

A joint statement reads: ‘We are currently working with our senior management team on developing our five-year plan for the club.

‘We are here for the long-term and it is vital that we put the building blocks in place for a period of growth and success right across the club.

‘The staff and management have our full backing and commitment in this challenge.’

It comes three months after millionaire Russian businessman Antonov, Hungarian-born businessman Dubov and ex-Leeds United chief executive Chris Akers took over the club as Convers Sports Initiatives.

The trio also thanked Pompey’s dedicated Blue Army, who have stood by the club through turbulent times. The statement adds: ‘We want to say thank you to you, the supporters of the club.

‘You have made us feel very welcome in these first three months and we have enjoyed every minute of our experience so far, even in some of the more difficult moments!

‘We need your support at every game, for every kick of the ball and for every difficult management decision – you are the club and we want to take the club forward for you and the whole city of Portsmouth.

‘We don’t want to make any rash promises at this stage, but we do want to assure you that we are as determined as you are to put the pride back into this great club. Play Up Pompey!’

It is believed Convers paid Balram Chainrai, his brother Deepak and Levi Kushnir about £15m for the club.

When the take-over happened in June there were eight players under contract and the trio say their priority was to rebuild the squad with footballers owned by the club.

Plans are in place to further strengthen the squad when the emergency loan window opens next week and a commercial director will soon be appointed to develop the Pompey brand and attract people back to the club. Improvement works are ongoing at Fratton Park.

More investment is to be made into the club’s academy to develop the ‘lifeblood of the club’s future’ and rebuild the club from the ground upwards.

The statement adds: ‘Producing good young footballers who can progress through the club and into the first team is a vital part of regenerating the club from the bottom upwards.’