Catlin: Pompey rise from lepers to one of best-run clubs

THEY were once football's toxic brand.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 8:30 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:37 pm
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Now Mark Catlin is convinced Pompey are regarded as one of the best-run clubs in the Football League.

Sunday marks three years since Pompey fans seized control of their club in the High Court.

Mr Justice Peter Smith rubberstamped community ownership to prevent the Blues being liquidated during the battle with Portpin.

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Since that crucial judgement in the Rolls Building on April 10, 2013, Pompey have gone on to register operating profits in successive full years.

In addition, the club is debt free and continuing to flourish off the pitch.

Chief executive Catlin was present at that ruling three years ago – and is proud how the club keeps progressing.

He said: ‘The trouble we had in the first few months to even open a bank account was incredible.

‘As Iain McInnes said at the time, we had become a toxic brand.

‘People have short memories. Three years ago we were the lepers of football, nobody wanted to touch us either in football or business.

‘It is testament to everyone associated with the club that three years on we are now seen as one of the best-run clubs in the Football League.

‘Back then there was a lot of unfair criticism going on outside of Portsmouth aimed at the club and supporter-run clubs in general.

‘But we have shown three years on the model can work as long as you are rigid and stick to the financial controls as you would in any other business.’

Following that victory, Catlin was installed as chief executive, with Iain McInnes taking on the mantle of chairman.

Promotion, though, has not been forthcoming with Pompey enduring a third season in League Two.

Yet Paul Cook’s side lie sixth in the table and Catlin continues to be optimistic for the future.

He added: ‘My initial thoughts as we exited the High Court having won the case was the enormous amount of work in front of us.

‘There were still dangerous times ahead over the upcoming months with the club still in a very, very poor position, millions of pounds in debt and suffering huge financial losses.

‘In the early days I referred to the club being on a life-support machine for the first year at least.

‘Now when I look back on those days at all the work put in by everyone it is testament to the staff, the directors and the fans.

‘Everyone who got involved rolled their sleeves up because we still had a mammoth task in saving the club even though we had won the High Court battle.

‘Everyone pulled together and showed – as I have come to learn – true Pompey spirit.

‘Thankfully three years on we are off the life-support machine and have laid great foundations to move forward, with the fruits of that now being seen on the pitch.’