Doubts justified as Portpin pull out with fans reunited

Balram Chainrai
Balram Chainrai

COMMENT: Attraction will capitalise on the riches in our midst

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Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir have long been figures who have divided Pompey fans.

Yet their standing in the eyes of the majority of the Fratton faithful plummeted during an eventful past week.

Such has been the extent of the fans’ backlash, during the first game of the season at Plymouth supporters chanted songs against both Chainrai and his company Portpin for the first-time ever during a match.

Barely 12 hours later, Portpin released a statement announcing it would be pulling out of taking Pompey out of administration.

Personally, I have never had the privilege of meeting either Chainrai or Kushnir.

Therefore, like the Pompey fans, I can only judge them by their actions in dealing with the football club and their words issued through other media outlets.

My misgivings about Portpin have been voiced enough over the past three years via The News, Express FM, Twitter, talkSPORT and 5Live.

Of course, Portpin have not left the building, they still require negotiating with to release their charge on Fratton Park.

Still, let me take you on a trip down memory lane, accompanied with hindsight, to give you the opportunity to dissect Portpin and their tenure at Portsmouth Football Club, using their own words...

‘Portpin Ltd regrets to announce that it is withdrawing its bid for Portsmouth Football Club.

‘Unfortunately, our efforts to save the club once more from extinction have hit a wall of rejection and lacking co-operation from the administrator and other interested parties.

‘We are not the ones who have caused the club to collapse and we are not the ones to choose PKF as administrators.’

‘All of these facts have left us in a position that we no longer want to fight this battle we have zero support to save the club therefore we formally withdraw our bid and our honest attempt at saving the club.

‘We will sleep well knowing we did our utmost to save the club.’

Portpin, August 15, 2012, Press release

‘We are waiting for them (the administrators) to confirm this discount, so we can use all proceeds from the parachute payment to rebuild the club.

‘Monies will be used to rebuild this club from the bottom and, with the help of the manager and employees, I hope we get support from fans after saving this club, once again, from its grave.’

Balram Chainrai, August 12, 2012, Sky Sports

‘I am supportive of the Trust taking over the club if they can provide the necessary requirements of the administrator.

‘I would prefer the Trust to take over. If the players leave, take over the CVA from me.’

Balram Chainrai, August 2, 2012, The News

‘I always said I would not let the club be liquidated. I’m a businessman but I realise that the club will only have value if it is successful.

‘I now want to turn things around at Portsmouth Football Club and see the club regain its rightful position.

‘The success of this goal can only be achieved if all parties with a vested interest in the club’s business work together.’

Balram Chainrai, May 18, 2012, The Guardian

‘This is a free country. They (the fans) are allowed to feel and they are allowed to express. I respect them for that.

‘But I am not there to destroy anything or hurt anybody.’

‘I stepped in and lent money to the football club when no bank would lend them £1. So why am I the victim here? Why am I the culprit? Why am I being blamed? What have I done wrong?

‘I am an accidental owner. I am a businessman with emotions, that’s the problem.’

Balram Chainrai, March 4, 2012, Sky Sports

‘I am not the villain of the piece here. I am certainly not the one holding Portsmouth to ransom, anything but.

‘Yes, I took security on my loan. But I’m a businessman and, taking into account the money involved, it stood to reason why I would do that.

‘But I have not been obstructive and I have been prepared to wait for money, defer it and even discount it if the right buyer could be found.’

Balram Chainrai, March 3, 2012, The Sun

‘I still have a debenture over the club as security on the club’s full assets, so one way or another I’m going to get my money back.

‘But I don’t want to see the club liquidated. Anything I can do to help Portsmouth I will.’

Balram Chainrai, February 10, 2012, South China Morning Post

‘My intentions are to find a new buyer to stabilise it and inject new funds into it and take it back to its glory days.

‘We would not sell the club just to anybody.

‘I can understand the nervousness of the fans. I feel for them.

‘They haven’t been very happy with me so we would make sure any new owners are fit and proper.

‘I think supporters will be happy with a new group because they would come in with money to invest in the club.

‘Maybe I am slowly, slowly falling in love with the club. Who knows? I might be in love already. I’m not going to let just anybody buy the club.

‘I would like to be remembered as someone who put Portsmouth on the right path.’

Balram Chainrai (speaking months before selling to CSI), February 21, 2011, Sky Sports

‘There is a small group of fans – approximately a dozen – who are on their own planet and not the fans of the city of Portsmouth.

‘We were invited two weeks ago to a black-tie dinner at the halls of the Lady Mayor of Portsmouth in our honour, attended by the dignitaries and VIPs of Portsmouth.

‘We have all the people’s support in Portsmouth.’

Balram Chainrai, February 5, 2011, South China Morning Post

‘We have pulled the club from the intensive care unit. We have disconnected some of the tubes.

‘Now we are sharing the rehabilitation.’

‘We are creating an emotional attachment and I am excited by that.’

‘We could have walked away. We wanted out. We wanted our money back.

‘But we saw there was no other way but to step in and save the club.

‘To get out we had to get in, clean it up and build a new team.’

Levi Kushnir, August 16, 2010, The News

‘I feel sorry for Mr (Steve) Cotterill.

‘We should thank him. If I was him I would have run away.

‘I have pain when I see his face.’

Balram Chainrai, August 16, 2010, The News

‘I don’t want to sever my ties. Portsmouth has grown on me as well as the people of Portsmouth.

‘I definitely want to get back to the Premier League – and if I go in it will be with money to invest in the club.

‘I am not going to stay in the Championship.

‘The club can move forward – it could be with me for the future or it could just be the short-term.

‘The administrator has said that I’m the best person for the job.’

Balram Chainrai, August 6, 2010, Daily Mirror