The first-year figures for Pompey are good news

Chery's 'one vice' is a sweet-smelling Christmas tree       Picture: Shutterstock

CHERYL GIBBS: Don’t call me a hypocrite over my Christmas tree

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With Pompey not exactly setting the season alight on the pitch, it’s good to be able to bring positive news about what has been happening off the pitch at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth Football Club has announced an operating profit of more than £100,000 in its first full year since emerging from administration.

The loans have been paid off and the club is debt-free.

Even the club’s staunchest supporter would have hardly dared to be so optimistic back in the dark days of recent years that saw the club slip not only from the top flight into the lower leagues, but almost out of existence altogether.

It is no exaggeration for chief executive Mark Catlin to say that the club is in a ‘remarkable position’ financially.

With the fans clearly remaining firmly behind the club – the average gate of 15,000 remains far above that of the rest of League Two – there is no reason why the club cannot now start to build from here.

And there is no reason to suspect that the club’s financial affairs will not remain on a tight leash – it has taken a steely will and plenty of economic prudence to get this far.

This figure may represent small change to clubs in the Premiership – but it is significant to Pompey’s future.

It has demonstrated that a community-owned club can turn things around.

It is also to their credit that none of the club’s seven directors have taken payment for their work. And while the shareholders will not have received a dividend this year either, we suspect that there will be few among them who complain about that in exchange for the club’s ongoing survival. Now they just need to sort out the state of the pitch and get back to those winning ways of yore.

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