Twelve months ago I had one of the most difficult and hectic weeks of my life. On Tuesday, October 19, 2010 we had the announcement of the Defence Review, which sought to close the £38bn hole in the defence budget. The next day was the Comprehensive Spending Review, which revealed the true size of the national debt Labour had racked up. And on the Thursday we were faced with the closure of Portsmouth FC.
One year on, there remain serious challenges for our economy and the achievement of a larger defence budget in the years ahead, but there is no doubt about Portsmouth FC’s future.
Through the dedication and tenacity of the club’s staff and its irrepressible fans (and, I must not forget, a very sensible judge who understood the social value of a football club and quite rightly told HMRC to be more reasonable), the club is on a sure footing and able to plan, develop and grow.
To ensure we never again come close to the closure of our club, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust has been set up. Run ‘by the fans, for the fans’, the trust acts as a watchdog on the club’s activities and will provide a powerful voice to help shape its future.
As well enabling the fans to have more of a say on ticket prices, access to games, stadium development and all other matters important to them, the trust will work to improve the relationship between the club and the supporters.
It will also aim to enhance Pompey’s place in the local community by engaging in projects that will help bring supporters and club closer together.
The trust can hold shares or make investments on the fans’ behalf in Portsmouth FC. It can fundraise and even run saving schemes that will build up a fund to enable fans to take a stake in the club.
The ultimate aim is to one day earn fan representation on the board at PFC.
I say roll on that day.