Fans get ready for the next fight

Portsmouth players at a training session ahead of their Npower Championship away game to Blackpool at the weekend
Portsmouth players at a training session ahead of their Npower Championship away game to Blackpool at the weekend
Lassina Diabate made his Pompey debut at Rotherham

Quiz: Pompey’s last trip to Rotherham

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FANS are preparing themselves for a new fight to save Pompey.

They have rallied to the club’s cause as Pompey manager Michael Appleton said he was ‘braced for administration’.

Now Bob Beech, of campaign group SOS Pompey, is calling on fans to ‘stand up and be counted’ at Tuesday’s home match with Ipswich Town.

He said: ‘It’s time to show that Pompey fans are going to fight back.

‘Fans need to follow their heart. On Tuesday night, I would like them not to sit down but to safely stand up, stomp their feet, clap their hands and shout themselves hoarse to show the players that we are with them.

‘The players and Michael Appleton don’t deserve this, and the fans don’t either. Let’s show them we are united.’

SOS Pompey has launched a Love Pompey initiative, calling on fans to show their love for the club by attending the Ipswich clash, which falls on Valentine’s Day.

Mr Beech added: ‘We are all in this together. Owners come and go as we have seen over the last few years, but Pompey fans must remember that no matter what we have got each other.’

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust last night said everything must be done ‘to keep this great club alive’.

Spokesman Scott Mclachlan said: ‘Administration is a very worrying move but conversely it does give an opportunity for potential private buyers or a community buy-out to perhaps negotiate with the administrators with far more realistic figures than was previously the case.

‘The trust’s thoughts are with the staff at the club who are always amazing and with everyone connected with it.’

Fans have already discussed the prospect of holding a peaceful protest in the stands following Tuesday’s game, it emerged last night.

Bill Gillon, owner of fans’ site Pompey Online, said he is still hopeful a solution can be found for Pompey’s plight.

He said: ‘This will go on and on until Balram Chainrai is out and the club is actually sold with a change of ownership.

‘I may be naively optimistic but I think we will go through a bit of pain first.

‘A lot of people are suffering, not just the fans, but the people working at Fratton Park, relying on the club to pay mortgages.’

Colin Farmery, editor of fans’ site True Blue Army, told The News last night that he believed supporters are prepared for administration.

He said: ‘Any fan with an ounce of sense has to realise administration is a possibility but it’s a complex, dramatic and live situation that changes from hour to hour.

‘I think all fans are braced for administration because the closer we get to February 20, the louder the clock ticks.’

Pompey are due to appear at the High Court for a winding-up hearing over unpaid tax to HMRC on February 20.

But insolvency experts Andrew Watling and Julie Palmer, from Begbies Traynor in Portsmouth, said last night going into administration would remove the threat of the winding-up petition.

The club would be able to continue to trade provided the administrator has available funding to pay its costs, but can be liquidated if it cannot afford to trade, or a sale is unlikely to cover running costs, the experts said.

Andrew Andronikou, joint-administrator of the club’s parent company Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), said last night said the club will not be liquidated.

When asked if the club will find a new owner or go into administration ahead of the winding-up hearing, Mr Andronikou said: ‘One of the two. Something positive has to happen.

‘We are not going to allow it to go to the wire.

‘We are trying to avoid the insolvency process unless the club is at risk.

‘It could be days, weeks, minutes.

‘It’s not going into liquidation and the club will come out the other end.

‘We are burning the midnight candle every day working for the club’s interests.

‘These are desperate times and it’s imperative we find a buyer.

‘I suspect that a number of these interested parties are waiting for the club to go into administration.

‘It is in complete conflict of what we are trying to achieve.

‘We cannot force the purchasers to buy the club as it is.’