Will battle lines be drawn over the sale of Fratton Park?

KEY Balram Chainrai could force a High Court showdown with the supporters' trust
KEY Balram Chainrai could force a High Court showdown with the supporters' trust
Pompey suffered defeat to Charlton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gaffer: So predictable Pompey would suffer defeat

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FRATTON Park has long been the chosen battleground for many a grudge match.

But now it could be the stage for the final fight in the tragicomedy that has been Pompey’s ownership sagsa over the past four years.

Because Portpin holds the key to Fortress Fratton –and is unlikely to give it up easily.

Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir’s investment firm has a legal charge over Fratton Park – a hangover from when Portpin lent £6m to the club and the stadium was used as security.

That legal charge survived Pompey’s previous administration, and should have been paid to Portpin by former Pompey owners Convers Sports Initiatives CSI).

But when CSI went into administration, they couldn’t pay so Portpin placed CSI, and therefore Pompey, into administration.

And it is because of that charge, and his other securities, that Chainrai is owed somewhere in the region of £17m – and has always been the frontrunner to take the club over once more before selling it.

Now, with the trust’s bid being the one picked by administrators PKF as the one most likely to secure Pompey’s future, Portpin and the trust face a High Court showdown.

A source close to the club said: ‘What’ll happen is two-fold. The first thing is an application to have Portpin’s charge removed from the ground, which would mean the administrators would be able to sell it to (property developer) Stuart Robinson, who’ll then lease it to the trust.

‘And then what will happen is the court will finally decide how much the stadium is actually worth, rather than just going by the Portpin figure.’

The trust has said in the past it values Fratton Park at around £2.75m, and will be hoping the High Court agreea with that figure.

Dr John Beech, lifelong Pompey fan and head of tourism and sports research at the University of Coventry said: ‘I would have thought the fact that the trust have independent valuations is going to carry weight in court.’