IT’S been a long long road – but Pompey fans can finally say they own the club after supporters signed a takeover deal last night.
Solicitors for Pompey Supporters Trust put pen to paper to seal the historic document at 8pm – making a dream come true for fans after a long battle to save the club from extinction.
And the news came as the trust’s solicitors, Verisona, said there had been a surge in Pompey fans applying to buy shares since a deal signed off at the High Court on April 10 paved the way for the supporters to take over.
More than 100 cheques and online donations have arrived between then and now at Verisona’s offices at 1,000 Lakeside, North Harbour, where last night’s signing took place.
Trust members immediately tweeted a picture, on today’s front page, of them raising a glass in celebration.
Now the trust has issued a rallying call to fans and schools, offices, shops and businesses to buy a share and play their part in Pompey’s future.
Verisona solicitor Ian Peach, who has been in the team giving the PST legal help and support, said: ‘Almost instantaneously after Wednesday in the High Court, the number of pledges went stratospheric. We’ve been overwhelmed. It’s not just people converting their pledge into a share, or buying a £1,000 share outright, there have been contributions anywhere between £10,000 and £50,000 made.
‘It’s clear a lot of supporters out there were waiting to see the outcome of the case, and as soon as it looked like it was going to be resolved those who were sitting back undecided are now joining in.’
The football club is now run by Portsmouth Community Football Club Ltd, and now that the paperwork between the new buyers and administrators BDO has been completed, it can start trading.
The business itself was bought for around £450,000, but £3m was handed over in order to get the keys to Fratton Park, £7m needs to go to football creditors such as players, and a sum will begin paying off the other, non-footballing creditors. Pompey is owned in the majority by the trust shareholders, and in the minority by wealthy fans who have invested significant amounts from their own pockets.
The more shares the trust has from fans, the more say it will have in the way the club is run, and the more secure is its future. Trust member Tom Dearie, who has been processing cheques at Verisona’s offices since November, said: ‘The money for the football club has been set aside so it will go directly into making things better.
‘It’s an investment of the heart, not the head.
‘I think every business in Pompey should have a share certificate on the wall, as well as every school, Scout group etc.’
Ian added: ‘We can then take things to the next level and help mould the future of the football club.’
Trust spokesman Colin Farmery said the organisation was ‘delighted’ with the response so far.
He said: ‘We were always confident that once the deal was secured fans would begin converting their pledges or buying new shares, and we’re sure that in the coming weeks the momentum will grow. We want to make sure every person in Portsmouth, every Pompey fan, can feel part of it.’