Battle for the future of Pompey ‘likely to go down to the wire’

UNCERTAIN FUTURE Fans at a presentation of Pompey Supporters Trust's plans on Saturday.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121753-4748)
UNCERTAIN FUTURE Fans at a presentation of Pompey Supporters Trust's plans on Saturday. Picture: Sarah Standing (121753-4748)
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THE battle for Pompey’s future is likely to go right down to the wire.

That’s the view of sports expert Dr John Beech, who says Pompey’s creditors will have a tricky task when making up their minds about who should be tasked with taking the club out of administration.

EXPERT Dr John Beech.  ''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (100547-3)

EXPERT Dr John Beech. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (100547-3)

Creditors will have the say on whether to back former Pompey owner Balram Chainrai’s firm Portpin, which put a bid in to the administrators on Friday, or Pompey Supporters Trust, which plans to put in its own bid for a fans-led takeover by the end of the month.

Head of sport and tourism applied research at Coventry University, Dr Beech, said: ‘It’s a choice between Balram Chainrai, who wants to take money out of the club, and the trust, who don’t.

‘Whether the trust can raise enough money to lodge a competitive bid, time will tell. From what I can make out it’s going to be down to the wire.’

Pompey’s administrator Trevor Birch, of PKF, said on Friday that Portpin’s bid ‘is likely to give the best possible deal to creditors’.

But Dr Beech said the trust’s figures don’t necessarily have to stack up to Portpin’s.

He added: ‘It’s up to the creditors to decide which bid will give them the best return for their money. Chainrai still owes money to the small creditors from the last time Pompey was in administration, which won’t give him any brownie points with Trevor Birch. But until we can see the precise details of both bids it is hard to say what will happen.’

Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has confirmed that the authority will not be able to inject cash into the trust’s bid.

But he said the council could have Fratton Park independently valued, for example, and offer to buy that instead.

‘We would only buy it short term, to allow the supporters’ trust to buy it back from us,’ he said.

‘So we have got to make sure the supporters’ trust’s business plan works and pays enough money to buy Fratton Park back.

‘The council is not going to get into the business of writing cheques.

‘Mr Chainrai was always going to be the most obvious option.

‘I would prefer it to be a community-owned club, it is a really good model, but you have got to have the money to do that. And if they have got the money then we will wish them well.’

In a statement, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust said: ‘The Trust continue to ask fans to back their pre-share scheme and help them to put together a bid that will safeguard Portsmouth Football Club and give PKF and the Creditors Committee an alternative option.’