CONCERNS have been raised over the transparency of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust following the departure of a board member.
Mick Williams announced he was stepping down from the trust board and therefore as a director of Pompey because of a ‘matter of principle’ over a recent decision made by it.
The News understands Mr Williams was unhappy after the club’s former engagement officer Micah Hall was given a £2,990 loan by the trust, which owns 47 per cent of Pompey and is separate from the football club.
It’s understood it is one of the reasons behind his resignation on Saturday, as well as having a disagreement with fellow board member and trust treasurer Steve Tovey.
The trust said it is not its place to say why Mr Williams has stood down.
The cash was raised two years ago through donations via Pompey’s 12th Man scheme as Mr Hall was fighting a legal battle over a blog.
We have felt that it’s important, after what’s happened in the past, that we have a transparent club.Barry Dewing, Pompey Independent Supporters’ Association
The trust, which was looking after the money, gave it to Mr Hall, who has now started paying it back.
There’s no indication of any wrongdoing but Mr Williams is thought to have objected to the fact that not every trust board member was initially informed of Mr Hall being loaned fans’ money – and therefore stood down on Saturday.
Supporters have questioned why the fan-owned trust is not giving the reasons behind Mr Williams’ exit.
Fan Barry Dewing said after issues under previous Pompey regimes, it’s important people know what is happening with money raised.
Mr Dewing, a spokesman for Pompey Independent Supporters’ Association, said: ‘We have felt it’s important, after what’s happened in the past, that we have a transparent club. Mick has resigned because of principles so in the interest of transparency, people need to get the reasons.
‘For the credibility of the trust, there needs to be some sort of news on why Mick has gone. We can’t just leave it up in the air.’
Fellow supporter Bill Gillon, who runs the website Pompey Online and has a share in the club, said: ‘The fact Mick has stepped down is wrong.
‘I think there are issues of transparency at the trust because they haven’t said why Mick left.
‘We need to have confidence in the organisation and people who are on the board.’
He added: ‘I don’t think the secrecy is doing the trust any good.’
Trust chairman Ken Malley said Pompey fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to the trust’s transparency. He said: ‘We are not in a position to comment on other people’s personal issues.
‘It wouldn’t be right for an employer to comment on why a member of staff has resigned, that is for Mick Williams to say.’
Mr Malley added: ‘What people are making out of this situation is more than what the trust is or what Mick is.
‘It’s all amicable between Mick and the trust. The fans have nothing to worry about.
‘Mick spoke to me on Saturday and said he is happy to offer his support to me and the trust.’
The News contacted Mr Williams but he did not wish to speak about his decision.
Mr Tovey was unavailable for comment.
Posts on blog led to legal costs and financial problems
A BLOG written by Micah Hall cost him his house after legal fees started piling up.
The former engagement officer at Pompey found himself in debt after he was taken to court by Pascal Najadi and his father Hussain.
The Malaysian bankers were mentioned in a blog written by Mr Hall and, when he refused to take it down, pursued legal action against him.
The blog, on fansnetwork.com, had posts about members of the Keith Harris consortium – which announced it wanted to take over the club.
After four months of the case being in court, it was thrown out of court and the Najadis were ordered to pay for Mr Hall’s legal fees.
But they refused to maintain contact, leaving Mr Hall with the debt.
He was given £3,000 by the Pompey Supporters Trust towards paying off the money.