A FOOTBALL club that was more than £200,000 in debt is one repayment away from getting out of the red.
Following a Freedom of Information Act request, The News learned that Gosport Borough Football Club, which has changed hands a number of times in the past few years, had racked up a considerable debt, including £6,952.50 to the council for rent arrears on its stadium, Privett Park.
Now, chairman Iain McInnes, who was Pompey’s chairman during four years of fan ownership, says all the debts bar one have been cleared – and the cash to clear the arrears at Privett Park has come out of his own pocket.
As of October 2017, the club was 11 months behind in paying its rent, owing £7,451. From then until July 1, 2019, just £500 was put towards the arrears.
Mr McInnes says his good relationship with Gosport and Portsmouth councils, which are affiliated, meant he could focus on the club's debts elsewhere first.
‘I promised the council I would pay it and I stood by my word,’ he said.
‘This money was never owed by me but fell into my lap when I took over the club. Fortunately Gosport Borough Council has been very supportive, not withstanding my relationship with Portsmouth.’
On July 29, Mr McInnes paid the outstanding debt on Privett Park in one lump sum.
But he says this money was a 'drop in the ocean’ compared to the rest of the £200,000-plus debt.
He said: ‘Some of that debt was negotiated down with the creditors, but it was still a sizeable amount.
‘To pay that off and keep the club afloat at the same time was tough.
‘At the end of the day they were owed that money and had to be repaid.'
The final debt payment is to a former club director, and will reportedly be made next month.
Mr McInnes said: ‘This club is a totem pole in the community and I really want to see it grow.
‘It's not a dead duck by any means and I fully intend to finish what I have started here.'