Pompey pride for Ashley Brown three years on

Left to right: Ashley Brown, chairman of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust, Mick Williams and Mark Trapani in 2013.  Picture: Sarah Standing (13980-3797)
Left to right: Ashley Brown, chairman of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust, Mick Williams and Mark Trapani in 2013. Picture: Sarah Standing (13980-3797)

THE intervention of supporters gave Pompey a future – and Ashley Brown is convinced times ahead continue to remain bright.

It was three years ago this Sunday when the club was spared liquidation in the setting of room 30 in the High Court’s Rolls Building.

We must also realise what we have paid off and settled in those years as well. That’s what makes it truly amazing

Ashley Brown

The clock showed 4.21pm on April 10, 2013, when Mr Justice Peter Smith signed off the landmark deal for community ownership.

More than 30 Blues fans gathered applauded at the favourable outcome which finally separated their club from the grasp of a procession of owners with dubious motives.

Since then, Pompey have established themselves as debt free and recorded operating profits in the past two years.

Doubters had given the new regime months before succumbing to more financial difficulty – how wrong they were.

Trust chairman and future club board member Ashley Brown was present on that crucial day and has great pleasure reflecting on subsequent progress.

He said: ‘There has been a huge amount happen in those three years, of course, both on and off the pitch.

‘But we are definitely seeing everything moving in the right direction with the club and I would hope most of the fans – if not all – recognise that.

‘Our recent accounts showed we made a profit of £2,118, not a huge profit but in football – certainly outside the Premier League – if you can balance your books each year or thereabouts it’s a good place to be.

‘We must also realise what we have paid off and settled in those years as well. That’s what makes it truly amazing.

‘We are so lucky at Pompey to have our gates, for a League Two club to have an average of 16,000 makes our job a little bit easier than some of our peers.

‘Having said that it still takes a huge amount of work from our day-to-day management to keep the club on track and make sure we are spending our money wisely.

‘The future is positive, we obviously hope to be promoted this year and become a League One club next season.

‘We continue to believe we can work our way back up to the Championship over the next few years, that remains our aim.

‘We know we have other significant strategic pieces of work to understand as far as the club’s long-term home is concerned, whether that is Fratton Park or elsewhere.

‘What we have promised to do is be fair, honest and realistic, talking about what is achievable.’

As Pompey’s model continues to prove people wrong, others are beginning to ask how they can follow.

Brown added: ‘People were sceptical of the supporter-ownership model.

‘Whether we could really make it work, whether it was going to disappear down another black hole in a fairly short space of time.

‘We have made it pretty clear the supporter model in Portsmouth is working and are beginning to have interest from clubs and supporter organisations, not just around the country but around the world to learn more of how we do things here.’