Brown: Pompey Trust remain proud - and relevant

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THE Fratton faithful can still possess a crucial voice in their club, despite relinquishing ownership.

That is the verdict of Ashley Brown, who is convinced the Pompey Supporters’ Trust will remain a relevant force.

Trust chairman Ashley Brown. Picture: Joe Pepler

Trust chairman Ashley Brown. Picture: Joe Pepler

As the club’s largest single shareholder with 48.48 per cent, the Trust approved Michael Eisner’s £5.67m bid.

A staggering turnout of 93.6 per cent of stakeholders registered their vote, with 80.32 per cent (1,825) favouring the Tornante investment group.

In addition, 12 of the 16 club presidents (75 per cent) backed the takeover.

Such support ensured 81.4 per cent of the club’s equity holding agreed to the sale – eclipsing the required figure of 75 per cent.

Brown tonight heads a Trust meeting focused on the group moving forward.

And the Trust chairman and club board member is upbeat over what the future holds.

He said: ‘It’s a new dawn for Portsmouth Football Club. We are all Pompey fans so, of course, we want the very best for the club – and I’m sure Michael is going to deliver that for us.

‘But the Trust would like to think it can remain a key influence in the direction of the club.

‘Michael has always said he wants to embrace the knowledge that’s out there among the fanbase and the Trust is the obvious base to come from that. After all, we are a democratic organisation with a large membership.

‘The Trust needs to remain relevant – and will remain relevant – in the future.

‘Mark Trapani, John Kimbell and myself will stay directors of the football club until such time as the sale happen and will be there to help with anything we can during the transition.

‘We have three places on the heritage board, there is a big administration task to refund shareholders’ money and we have also have Trust elections.

‘Trusts at the vast majority of clubs in the Football League and also below into non-league dream of being in the situation we have in the last few years where we owned a large stake in our club.

‘The voice of the fans must remain to challenge the leadership of the club and make sure it is being run in the best way it can and in a sustainable manner.’

On an emotional day at the High Court in April 2013, fan ownership saved Pompey from liquidation.

And Brown believes those who stood side-by-side in those tough times can be proud of their achievements.

He added: ‘It has been an incredible experience for all of us involved.

‘There are clearly certain things we could have done better, we are not going to kid ourselves that everything was perfect, we learnt a lot early on.

‘But we should be proud of what we’ve done. We’ve created a stable club, invested in the ground, invested in the training facilities, invested in the team, had incredible support through the turnstiles and became League Two champions.

‘There are still people out there who say fans can’t run football clubs.

‘There is a message there that says we absolutely can – and we got the club in such a good state that we are attracting people like of Michael Eisner.’