Two new bidders ‘interested’ in Pompey talks

ONLINE Q&A Trevor Birch takes part in The News web chat
ONLINE Q&A Trevor Birch takes part in The News web chat

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POMPEY administrator Trevor Birch is hopeful of securing the club’s future after revealing two new interested parties have come to the table.

In a web chat hosted by The News, Mr Birch confirmed he was approached in the ‘last two or three weeks’ and the new parties do not have history of owning football clubs either in the UK or abroad.

They are separate to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s bid, according to the administrator, who revealed the club will ‘probably’ be sold in the region of between £5-10m.

It comes as Mr Birch stressed the club is heading to a crucial date on June 2, where the Football League holds its annual meeting.

Officials will decide on league membership for next season but Mr Birch remains hopeful Pompey will resolve its position before that date.

He believes potential relegation to League One could bring other potential buyers out of the woodwork thinking ‘they can pick up a bargain.’

Mr Birch said the trust’s share scheme could work if enough fans back it and said a 50-50 buy out with the trust and another interested bidder would be a ‘feasible’ option.

He also expressed sympathy to creditors awaiting payment following the club’s administration.

Mr Birch said the club’s debt of £59m will be written off in a prospective Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) by ‘way of a dividend’.

But it drew a heated response from one web user, who said she is a creditor who has been ‘let down’ by the club.

During the chat, the administrator confirmed the club’s former owner Balram Chainrai is owed ‘around £17m’ by the club and has ‘a debenture and charge’ over it.

He also confirmed he would have to accept a bid from Mr Chainrai if he returned to Pompey, in the interests of the creditors.

More than 1,000 questions were asked by fans during the hour-long session and Mr Birch managed to answer 70.

The News’ deputy editor Mark Acheson said: ‘We had a phenomenal response with more than 1,000 questions asked by fans in just one hour.

‘Trevor Birch dealt with most of the main themes but understandably couldn’t answer all questions. He has agreed to look at them all in depth and we hope to publish more answers from him on concerns and issues raised by fans.’

Mr Birch told The News after the web chat: ‘I think people are very perceptive and understand what’s happening and it’s good to hear it straight from their mouths.

‘It’s good for me to connect and hearing what are the major issues for them. ‘I think any club has to involve the supporters, as for most people it is the most important thing in their lives and you have to respect that. I hope I dealt with all the hard questions. The anxiety is the main thing – wondering where the future is, and it’s completely understandable.’