Pompey favourite insists fans have to remain on board

JAMIE ASHDOWN has welcomed the prospect of major investment into Pompey.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 5:59 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:48 am
Pompey fans celebrate the recent win at Colchester Picture: Joe Pepler

But the ex-player who helped fight to save the Blues underlined the importance of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust (PST) maintaining a share of their club.

Fans are today digesting the news American billionaire Michael Eisner has launched a bid to buy Pompey.

Eisner has watched Paul Cook’s side on a number of occasions this season and negotiations to take over are continuing.

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Former Pompey goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown

Shareholders will have to approve any deal, however, meaning the Trust will have a big say in the way forward.

The PST currently have a 48.48-per-cent stake in the Blues, with the remaining 51.52 shared among 16 presidents.

Ashdown is himself a PST shareholder and coralled his then Pompey team-mates into giving money when the Trust share scheme was launched in 2012.

The former Fratton Park keeper cautiously welcomed news of Eisner’s interest in investing in the club he served for eight years.

Former Pompey goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown

Ashdown said: ‘It sounds like there’s stuff going on behind the scenes.

‘It sounds good, but we know what it’s like with these owners so it will be a case of treading carefully.

‘I just really hope it all works out for the club. That would be amazing.

‘Of course it’s a dream to have people come in with real backing.

‘I just think it would be good to continue the stability we have. That’s the main thing.

‘An injection of money is good news for any club and would be amazing – but there has to be a long-term plan. That will always be a concern at Pompey given the past.

‘Short-term success, as we know, doesn’t mean it pays off in the long term. So hopefully there’s a long-term view being taken.

‘I’m sure people will do their homework on him, though, and that won’t stop for a while.’

It remains to be seen how Eisner would approach the matter of working with the PST.

But it’s clear the Trust will have a major impact on the direction their club are headed.

One option would be to employ a similar approach to Premier League Swansea.

Swansea City Supporters Society Ltd have a 21.1-per-cent shareholding in their club, with Americans Steve Kaplin and Jason Levien acquiring a 68-per-cent controlling stake last July.

Ashdown welcomed the idea of a similar set-up at Pompey, as well as talk Eisner would be keen to invest in the club’s Academy.

He added: ‘That’s something for everyone to really look into. Something like Swansea have would be great at Pompey.

‘I can’t see someone putting a lot of money in and letting the fans have a big stake.

‘He’s going to want the majority of the shares, but a similar set-up to Swansea would be ideal.

‘If we can do it long term that’d be great.

‘It will take a lot of pressure off if that money is used well.

‘If money is put in on the youth side that will be a big help and something for the young players to look forward to.

‘You need to have the work and support put in on that side of things these days.’