Trust forges ahead with fans’ bid for Pompey

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THE Pompey Supporters’ Trust is working hard to seal the deal after being named as preferred bidder to take over at Fratton Park.

The dramatic news emerged on Thursday afternoon that administrators PKF were officially viewing them as the best option for Pompey.

Trust members described it as a ‘pivotal moment’ in the club’s history, but stressed the hard work starts immediately as they dot the Is and cross the Ts to finalise the bid.

Fans were today urged to pack Fratton Park for their clash with Shrewsbury Town to celebrate the landmark achievement.

But the trust will have to overcome potential challenges in order to claim the keys to the ground.

It emerged earlier this week that former the front runner, Balram’s Chainrai’s Portpin, looked unlikely to meet the criteria needed in the Football League’s owners and directors’ test.

The News understands the next step for the trust is passing the test and board members have already been put forward to the authority.

Then there is the issue of the land surrounding Fratton Park, which is owned by the administration-stricken Miland Developments 2004.

Glynn Middleton, of the firm’s administrators David Rubin and Partners, said a deal for the land has yet to be reached.

He said: ‘There has been nothing agreed as yet.

‘There’s a number of interested parties that we are talking to but we are not really at an advanced stage.

‘There has been no sale but hopefully that won’t wait too much longer’.

Terry Pritchard, of the Portco consortium interested in taking over the club, said they are waiting to see what happens with the trust’s negotiations.

He told The News: ‘My personal opinion is the trust has got to do a lot to make it work and I don’t think there’s enough cash in the whole deal to do that.

‘We will sit around the edge to see what happens.

‘We want to do what’s right with the club. We were a bit annoyed that we weren’t taken seriously as we could pay for the land around the ground.’

Another hurdle the trust may need to overcome is a potential legal challenge from Portpin over the valuation of Fratton Park.

The trust offered £2.75m for the ground in its business proposal while it is understood Portpin value it between £10-11m.

Trust spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘The key thing we are working towards is finalising our share prospectus.’