TODAY the people who intend to be Pompey’s new owners are calling for all fans to join them.
The ink was last night drying on agreements which will see the Pompey Supporters’ Trust become the new owners of Portsmouth Football Club.
And the trust, backed by The News, is calling on fans who have pledged to buy a full share to become part of Britain’s biggest community-owned club to step up.
The trust was today due to launch its share prospectus at Fratton Park – which details its plan to bring Pompey back to financial stability as well as how fans can help in that process.
Trust spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted at this news and it is a reward for the huge amount of work many people have put in to save Portsmouth Football Club over the past few months.
‘The challenge of creating Britain’s biggest community club is hugely exciting but there is still a lot to do.
‘The next stage will be for the fans to fulfil the pledges they have generously made and how they can go about doing this will be released today.’
Yesterday the trust entered into an exclusivity deal with PKF, and signed agreements that would see the football club sold to it as long as two conditions are fulfilled.
The first is that the Football League approves the trust’s business plan, which The News understands is likely to present no problem.
It is also hoped that condition will be done and dusted by the middle of December – when the Football League’s next monthly board meeting is due to take place.
But the second condition could prove more problematic for the trust.
That condition is that the High Court approves PKF’s plan to sell Fratton Park to the trust against the wishes of Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir’s Portpin, which has a legal say over how it is sold, and for how much.
The High Court also needs to value the stadium at a level the trust can afford, rather than the £11m value Portpin place on it.
Whilst the trust will buy the club, it is Pompey fan and property developer Stuart Robinson who will have to find the money to buy Fratton Park.
He will put up up the money to buy it, and then lease it back to the trust until the money can be raised to buy it from him outright.
The News understands an application for the court hearing will be lodged today, in the hope that it will happen before Christmas.
These developments now mean PKF and the trust are working exclusively together and Portpin’s hopes to buy the club back have died.
And now it is time for those fans who pledged to buy a share, and who paid the trust £100 as a promise, to find the other £900 that makes up each of the trust’s basic shares.
The trust is also urging those fans who were waiting to see whether the trust bid had legs to come forward and pledge to be part of Pompey’s new ownership structure.
James Mathie, from Supporters’ Direct, said fans becoming shareholders ‘first and foremost’ will be helping save the club.
He added: ‘By collectively owning Pompey we believe we have the potential to achieve more – building stronger partnerships with the local community, representing a new level of appeal to sponsors, increasing attendances and match day spend, making more of the goodwill from supporters with projects and volunteering opportunities.’
HOW TO GET YOUR SHARE
Want to know how to send the trust the remaining money to get a share?
It’s simple. Prospectuses are being sent to everyone who has sent in their £100 fee, and all you need to do is follow the instructions in there, or see communitypompey.co.uk.
If you want to become a new investor, there are a number of things you can do.
Simply see the four-page pullout from p38 in today’s News, which has an application form.
Is £1,000 is too much to spare?
The trust has teamed up with DotComUnity to launch a finance scheme, which can be found at dotcomunitycreditunion.org.uk/members-support/pompey-supporters-trust.
Alternatively you can always form a syndicate of, say, 10 people to spread the cost.
You can also invest more than £1,000, and to find out how, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.