Any football fan will tell you that nothing is settled on the pitch until the final whistle goes or the season ends – or a saying to that effect.
And any Pompey fan will tell you that the same could be said about football finances, ownership, and the web of international finance. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
So while we are delighted to hear that the bid by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust has seen another boost – in that contracts have been exchanged with the administrators PKF to buy the club – we will save more hearty cheers for when the deal is done.
It is no slight on the trust that we refrain from premature congratulations, and indeed it is a compliment that its bid, even among some of the big boys of money-mad English football, more than holds its own.
In the last few months we have seen millionaires such as Balram Chainrai and Keith Harris try to derail the trust’s community-backed campaign. It seems – although we repeat that nothing is finished until a favourable court verdict has come through on the value of Fratton Park – that they have been seen off.
It may well be that the trust, keen as it will be to live within its means, will find it hard to make the club competitive. But in the last five years at Pompey we have seen what happens when the bubble bursts and when a club spends much more than it has coming into the coffers. Most fans will not want to go back to the al-Fahim or al-Faraj days, when it seemed Pompey was being passed around as an IOU note.
So let us hope the trust bid prevails and a sensible, club-orientated rather than money-orientated era can begin.
Elsewhere in the city community-backed schemes are springing up – to run Wymering Manor, for example, and to take over South Parade Pier. It is not parochialism or arrogance that leads us to want success for these projects, but a desire for city institutions to be run for the good of the city. We have faith the trust will prove to be worthy custodians of the club, and hope to hear further good news in just over a month.
Play Up Pompey!