Former Watford owner interested in Pompey deal

IN THE FRAME? Laurence Bassini, pictured, has been in talks with Pompey's administrator
IN THE FRAME? Laurence Bassini, pictured, has been in talks with Pompey's administrator
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A BUSINESSMAN with football links has been in talks with Pompey’s administrator about the possibility of taking over at the club.

Stanmore-based businessman Laurence Bassini, who most recently owned Watford FC, is understood to have been in talks with Trevor Birch.

The News has learned he began discussions with Mr Birch at the end of last week and was in the stands for the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.

Mr Bassini took control of Championship side Watford in 2011 after fronting a £440,000 takeover by FC Limited.

In 2011, he was quoted in a newspaper in Watford as admitting that he changed his surname from Bazini after being declared bankrupt five years ago. He eventually sold Watford in June this year to the Pozzo family, which owns Italian side Udinese.

The sale was advised by former Pompey administrator Andrew Andronikou, of accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young. Mr Andronikou was also appointed administrator of Pompey’s former parent company – Convers Sports Initiatives – in November 2011. Pompey’s ownership situation is unresolved as Balram Chainrai’s Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, which wants to take over with a fans-backed community bid, seek a resolution over the valuation of Fratton Park.

When asked about Mr Bassini, Mr Birch confirmed early discussions with a third party had been held.

He said: ‘We have recently received interest from another party and we are at an initial stage of talking to them to see if this could form the basis of a bid.

‘However, it’s much too early to speculate on the likelihood of this leading to some sort of offer.’

He confirmed further discussions with Portpin and the trust had taken place over the last few days.

Colin Farmery, spokesman for the trust, said: ‘Mr Bassini has contacted us and they were cordial talks.

‘In view of the timescale we have suggested to Mr Bassini that he pursues his bid in his own right and if he is successful in the bid then we would be more than happy to talk to him. However the trust is looking to take control of the club in its own right and that’s our key focus.’